Expert Take: How to be an Effective CEO

By Ashok Sudarshan, CEO – Complexcare Solutions.

For any professional, becoming the CEO of a company, large or small, is an incredible privilege and an opportunity for a tremendous amount of learning. But it can also be a stressful experience knowing the pivotal role that you play in determining the company’s future and steering it to success.

Here is some advice for budding CEOs based on my own experience.

Be Yourself

One of the best pieces of advice that I got early in my career was to be unique and not emulate anyone else blindly. Leadership is an individualized trait and your teams will recognize sincerity. Use what you have seen that works (and does not work) to build your own style. People react best to you being genuine. They do not expect perfection, but they do expect honesty.

Maintain Your Distance

Always be conscious that your team members are not your peers. The role of a CEO is significantly different from any other role in a company. While it may seem strange not to speak openly with your team, there are simply too many topics that are inappropriate for your reports to learn about and discuss. Even though you run the risk of seeming aloof, keep those discussions separate with your Board, a mentor, or other CEOs you know. I have gotten remarkable and helpful counsel from other CEOs who also need someone to talk to.

Of course, this means that it is a lonely job, but it opens a different group of peers and concepts. Embrace that change instead of being frustrated.

Do Not Micromanage

Once you have assigned responsibilities to your team, try to refrain from micromanagement. Remind your direct reports that while you trust them, they will be measured on execution, rather than just intent. But give them the freedom to figure out how to do their job.

Savour the Opportunity

Instead of crumbling under the burden of responsibilities, remember to enjoy the position and appreciate the role. No matter what, you have worked hard for the role, been blessed to have the faith of the Board to take over. You have an opportunity to demonstrate your leadership.

Life is short, so remember to focus on the upside!