To achieve success, executives are advised to embrace five behaviors to overcome the temptation of being a CEO.
1. Focus on results, not personal status. Real managers consider it a personal failure if their organizations fail to achieve their goals. If their companies succeed, great managers are not concerned about getting the credit. Instead, their minds move ahead toward the next objective to be accomplished. They get more personal satisfaction from achieving results.
2. Work to earn the respects of subordinates, not their affection. It is human nature to be uncomfortable with unpopularity, but it is dangerous for CEOs to disregard the fact that their colleagues are key employees that must be held accountable for their behaviors and responsibilities. They must deliver on their commitments if the company is to produce positive results.
3. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Good executives would rather take the risk on a course of action, than wait until they are certain they are correct before making a decision. They are more afraid of paralyzing the organization with indecision than losing face. They can afford to make wrong decisions because mistakes can be corrected, but they cannot afford to sacrifice the welfare of the company at the expense of looking good.
4. Tolerate – even encourage – debates among the employees. All ideas must be presented and discussed. This clears the air and leads to the establishment of goals and guidelines. From this process, the CEO gets more ideas, and the courage to commit on a decision – one that is backed by the consent of his staff.
5. Being open and trustful is not a weakness; it is the key to earning the trust and respect of the subordinates. The root of the solution to the basic problems is vulnerability. Openness, not a show of strength, is the antidote to Temptation No. 5.
6. Instilling trust gives the executives the confidence to engage in a passionate interchange of ideas. Productive conflict, instead of passive harmony, clears the air and enables the CEO to stand on a decision. Clarity of goals and responsibilities give the executive confidence to hold people accountable. Accountability leads to expected results – the CEO’s ultimate measure of long-term success.