CEO is written on a lit-up sign on a brick wall.

10 Characteristics of an Effective CEO

Do you run your own company or dream of opening a business someday? Whether you want to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or your employees include you, your spouse, and your adult children, being a CEO comes with a lot of responsibility.

Since a leader will always have room for improvement when it comes to managing a team, we've put together a list of some of the top qualities every CEO should possess.

How to be an effective CEO

Lead your people.

You might have other managers at your company, but it's important that the CEO leads their people. This comes in many different forms, but one example is giving your managers and employees some level of direction.

Stay focused on your business goals.

If you set personal and business goals, this will keep your ambition up and keep you motivated. What do you want to achieve in the next year? What's your five-year plan? Have you stepped back to celebrate your success so far? These are all things that can keep you focused and moving in a positive direction.

Communicate with your staff and clients.

Communication is key when you have your own company. This goes in both directions, though. Make sure you're communicating with your leadership team and employees, and also make sure they're communicating important information to you. You also want to stay in touch with your clients to ensure their happiness.

Make purposeful decisions.

Being a CEO might feel powerful, and it is. But when it comes to decision-making, be sure to stay focused, stick to a structured plan, and have an end goal in mind. Depending on your employees, it might also be a good idea to work with your team on major decisions.

Show respect for your employees.

Happy employees could bring you more business. If your employees don't enjoy what they do or don't feel like you respect them, business probably won't be as good as it could be. Listen to your employees' ideas, collaborate with them, and work together for a common goal.

Be an inspiration to your employees and community.

Along with respect, employees usually like to be inspired by the company's CEO. Whether you're making a difference in the community, you show that you love what you do, or you celebrate your accomplishments together, inspiring your employees will bring a more positive vibe to your company.

Think like a consumer and a leader.

As a CEO, you have to constantly think like a leader. But if you're going to sell a product, you also need to think like the customer who is going to buy your product. This is important for marketing the product, but you should also think like the customer from the start of your product's launch.

Be determined.

Now that you understand that goals, decision-making, and communication are important qualities of being a leader, it's important to also be decisive. Sure, some of your daily tasks might take more time than others. And some decisions need extra time. But decisiveness is still another strong quality in a CEO, because who else will make your decisions?

Always keep ethics in mind.

Ethics is legally and morally required for a positive and successful work environment. Get acquainted with today's business ethics by taking online ethics courses or by working with your human resources department.

Know when to ask for help.

You might have launched a company, maybe even on your own, but that doesn't mean you can necessarily do everything by yourself. It isn't weak for a CEO to ask for help. That's why it's key to hire experienced and effective employees so they can support you and your company, while also offering innovative ideas.


Colorado Christian University does not guarantee any job placement as a result of earning this or any other degrees offered by the university.

If you're serious about becoming an effective CEO, learn more about how our online MBA program can help equip you for success!

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