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What do CEOs really do (IMO)

We know that a CEO’s position includes being responsible for major corporate decisions, managing overall operations, and being the main point of communication amongst the board of directors and other company leads. However, despite having the highest-ranking executive position in the company, there’s so much more they do that goes unseen.

As a CEO, I have come to realize that there’s more to the job description that I had anticipated but I have become accustomed to the role. Based on my experience, I believe that there are four things people should know about CEOs.

We act as a filter

Part of the job includes meeting the needs of employees and customers but also keeping the investors happy. And, the CEO is the medium between the two. What I mean by us CEO’s acting as a filter is for the benefit of the employees. By stopping them from feeling the pressures from investors and only giving them the information that they need to know, helps keep them motivated and hardworking. Transparency is important but what they don’t need to know, won’t help them or me. It is important to be truthful, but not everything needs to be shared, and this is the thin line that CEOs have to thread.

We clear obstacles for the team

Just like any good leader, CEO’s have to know how to clear multiple paths for the rest of the team. Despite the ones not actually doing the load of the work, we try our best to ensure that the work can be done. These obstacles can include setting company values, creating a culture within the company, or approving financial expenditures. Whatever the obstacle may be, it’s on the CEO’s shoulder to figure out a way to make sure the company succeeds, even if it means that we have to delegate. Every good leader knows that you cannot fight all battles yourself; building a team that values what you do and how and trusts in the company and your methods, will be able to follow your vision and see it through.

We’re the parents

And the company is the kid. All parents know that balance is the key with your children. Being both aggressive and approachable is not a coin toss but an act - one that that has to be learned but is also built over time. But, this comes from establishing a good relationship and foundation. You want the love and trust but when it comes to work, you want the work done and done well. Punishments may only get you so far but understanding your employers will get you further. This comes with a whole lot of empathy, encouragement, and guidance. It’s come to my understanding that if I instill enough trust within them, they reciprocate the feelings and both of us benefit. But, I know that when it comes to obstacles, we see things as a “them vs. me” (employees vs. the CEO) problem. However, if you look at it as an “us vs. the problem,” you’ll find that this is effective into finding a solution. Think of it this way: blame and pointing fingers don’t work at home because then you’ll not progress towards a solution so there’s no point in bringing the same attitude to the office. Whatever you want to achieve is for the benefit of the company, your child. Use all the resources you have to foster the child.

We set strategy and direction

Most importantly, as a CEO, you are what makes the company successful. Though we do not burden ourselves with daily routine tasks and sometimes we look like we are not working at all, we are constantly thinking. We ask ourselves: Which markets will the company enter? Who is our competition? What are the company’s product lines? How can we differentiate ourselves from our competitors? Ultimately, these questions lead to decisions we make on behalf of the company, subsequently setting the strategy and direction of the company. These are the 10x thoughts where partnerships, budgets, and acquisitions begin to steer the company, allowing employees to follow pursuit.

Overall, being a CEO isn’t just about the salary and the title; it’s about doing right by the company. Sometimes you don’t know what that may be or how well you’re doing as a CEO but it’s as simple as asking for good feedback to find out if it’s working out.

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