Great CEOs can grow a healthy company and enjoy the support and admiration of their workforce. It is a complicated role within any company, and to be amongst the best, a CEO needs to display a diverse range of talents. Being in tune with clients’ needs and pleasing shareholders is essential, but for a business to prosper, its CEO should be popular with employees as well. So how can a CEO nurture a good relationship with their team, and what personal qualities could help them succeed?
Keep the lines of communication open
Almost all brilliant CEOs share the ability to communicate effectively. It’s a life skill and a professional requirement for people in charge of a business. Once a CEO has done the groundwork and made plans, they need to convey their proposals clearly for the best results. Although it is often assumed that good communication is all about talking, that’s not the case. There are four factors at play in most conversations: speaking, listening for the responses of others, noticing verbal cues, and picking up on nonverbal cues.
Adapt quickly to a changing market
In every sector of industry, change can happen fast. When it does, a CEO needs to consider what the company’s new priorities will be. The ability to reset or change direction is a powerful skill for every level of employee, one that is essential for future growth. A CEO should also demonstrate to staff that they are ready to modify their role or make sizable changes, should that be what the company needs. Investor Patrick James of Trico Group is a CEO who quickly responds to changes in the industry to keep his automotive parts company booming. In 2020, his First Brands Group acquired several smaller vehicle repair companies, an investment that ultimately strengthened the brand’s presence across the whole of North America.
Be a visible presence
A company’s reputation can benefit from a visible CEO and, as a result, it will attract the most skilled job seekers. The CEO’s status outside of the workplace can also create a sense of pride in employees and motivate them to stay loyal. Inside the workplace, it’s equally crucial for the CEO to be present. This could be done by walking around the workplace, chatting to staff, making themselves accessible, and getting to know people by name.
Why consistency is key
CEO behaviors that change radically when times are hard or when the CEO is stressed can throw employees. To foster trust, it’s essential to have a steady hand and be predictable in terms of action. That means CEOs setting goals and agreeing on what is to be done with the team. Next, they work together with employees on checking the outcomes of this action and strive to improve the results. This shows that a CEO knows what employees are doing and values their work, an important step in gaining their confidence. Aside from this overarching system, other, smaller factors make a difference.
Taking commitments seriously
Although daily promises and minor assurances may not seem important to a busy executive, they are likely to be far more significant for the team. Once a good CEO has committed to something, they see it through to prove their word is good. This helps to build a bond between individuals and executives, ensuring they feel comfortable confiding in the leadership team when required.
When a CEO notices a person’s work and shows appreciation for their efforts, it can motivate employees to do more. It also provides a sense of security and makes staff feel valued. Some CEOs keep a written record and contact people at the end of each month, while others might send out brief emails in recognition of a job well done.
Giving plenty of notice for meetings and reviews
CEOs need to meet with their team regularly to confirm that objectives are being met in all areas of the business. To be consistent, it’s important to schedule these meetings at least a month in advance and always turn up. When there is a problem with shareholders or an important customer calls, it may seem better to cancel the review, but this can set a precedent. Great CEOs always treat progress checks as crucially important, and this consistent approach inspires everyone else.
The highest-ranking employees in any company play a substantial role in keeping the working environment positive. Employees appreciate the job security that a good CEO provides through their decision-making and skilled management, but that’s only part of the story. A combination of softer skills and less visible actions allows a CEO to win and maintain the admiration of their workforce.