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The New CEO: What Got You Here Won't Get You Where You Need to Go

Hard work, perseverance, and expertise can help you earn your place at the top of your company but once you get there, it takes a lot more than prowess and determination to succeed. On top of that, the role of the CEO has changed in recent years. While the CEOs of yesterday were often seen as a figurehead, today’s CEOs are doing more work to help their companies succeed than ever before.

The qualities that made a CEO great in the past, and even those that got them to where they are today, aren’t always going to help them succeed as the role of CEO evolves for businesses across the globe. The pandemic sure is having a significant impact on the role, as well.

Today’s CEOs Need To Be Bigger Risk Takers

Risk-taking isn’t necessarily smart in business, especially for those in entry to mid-level positions. However, as you climb the corporate ladder, the need for educated risk-taking grows and for those who reach C-level positions, being capable of taking educated risks is crucial, as is learning from and admitting when mistakes are made.

Leading With Humility is Vital

While CEOs of the past were often seen as hard and tough, today’s consumers and workers are drawn to companies with leaders who show humility, kindness, and inclusivity. Leaders that can clearly communicate their company’s meaningful purpose beyond just profitability and maximizing shareholder value. 

Leadership in today’s world depends on a person’s ability to speak out against injustices and to take actionable steps to correct the wrongs of past leaders. Today’s CEOs need to be willing to speak on difficult topics with an objective and fair viewpoint. Nothing’s off the table, including issues involving race, gender, sexual orientation, and social justice.

Inspiring Leaders Make Successful Leaders

A well-liked CEO is generally a successful CEO but one who can inspire success in their employees and fellow directors are the ones that are most likely to enjoy a long, prosperous career in leadership.

According to a study published by The Leadership Quarterly, CEOs with charisma and the ability to effectively communicate in a variety of ways have a direct correlation to their company’s success. Companies with charismatic CEOs have been proven to build more engaged teams that work better together to drive success for the companies they represent, and in today’s world, where kindness has become an important leadership quality, this is becoming truer than ever.

Relatability is Key

With easy auto-investment apps and online stock guides, stock purchasing is more accessible than ever and that means that CEOs have a wider range of stakeholders and shareholders to impress. By remaining relatable to people from all walks of life, CEOs can build a higher level of trust in themselves and the businesses they lead. Today, an effective CEO must understand when to lead with strength and power, and when to take a step back and be a humble leader who’s able to relate to the general public.  

The role of CEO has become more complicated in recent years and it takes a strong, adaptable leader to sit at the helm of a large company. With a well-practiced leadership style that includes humility, charisma and relatability, modern CEOs can lead their company to success.

By Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano

By Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano

President & CEO of Barbachano International (BIP)

Barbachano International is the premier executive search and leadership advisory firm in the Americas with a focus on diversity and multicultural target markets.  Outplacement and Executive Coaching services are provided by our sister allied company Challenger Gray & Christmas. BIP has been recognized by Forbes as Americas’ Best Executive Search Firms and currently ranks #27 and #3 on the West Coast.  


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