Dimensions of A CEO’s Role and Influence

Laurie Riihimaki

There is a lot that goes into being the CEO of a company. And, the position can certainly seem extremely overwhelming at first. However, that’s probably just the title staring you down and highlighting your insecurities. The fact is, if you have risen to CEO status, then you have what it takes to succeed in the role. Even if you can’t see it, at first. 

To make things easier, let’s break down the role and influence of a CEO. You’ll discover what a CEO is, what they actually do, and how they handle the different aspects of their elite position. 

What Is A CEO?

The term CEO is thrown around all the time, but what does it actually mean? The title CEO is an acronym for the chief executive officer of a company. It is the title that everyone in the workplace wants to hold. And, that’s because it is the most powerful and the most influential. 

However, there is a downside to this dream-role. Because it is the most powerful title, it is also the most stressful. CEOs face high standards and fierce demands on an everyday basis. Being a CEO can be overwhelming, tiresome, and sometimes even lonely.

A Harvard Business Review study discovered that on average a CEO works 9.7 hours per weekday. But, that’s not all! 79% of the participants admitted to putting in overtime by working weekends for an average of 3.9 hours. And, vacations aren’t even work-free for many CEOs, as the study showed an average of 2.4 hours of work instead of extra hours sunning on the beach!

What Do CEOs Do?

 

Image Credit: Pixabay

The CEO’s job is to be in control of the company’s next move. And, we’re not talking about the small moves like whether or not to get a new coffee pot in the breakroom. We’re talking about the big moves like whether or not to sign a deal or the decision to collaborate with another company.

A CEO is also responsible for 45% of a company’s performance. This can be a good and a bad thing. If the company is rising higher and higher, the CEO will be patted on the back by its employees, investors, and directors. But, if the company is doing poorly, then the CEO will suffer the repercussions. 

The CEO’s role has six main elements in which they must fulfill:

  1. The Personal Day-To-Day 
  2. External Stakeholders
  3. Board Engagement
  4. Company Strategy
  5. Organizational Alignment
  6. Team’s Processes

How To Succeed As A CEO In Each Element

Each of the six aspects of a CEO’s job comes with mindsets and agendas attached. But, how does a CEO handle all of these different branches without going crazy? And even further, how does a CEO make it all work out in a successful way?

During the personal day-to-day routine, CEOs have the complicated job of managing their own time and energy. With so many i’s to dot and t’s to cross, how does a CEO decide what’s urgent and what’s not? It’s certainly difficult, but the most successful CEOs delegate portions of their time to all elements of their job, while also giving themselves little breathers in between in order to refresh, refocus, relax, and prepare for the next meeting. And in regards to their energy, CEOs give very little of it to critics and negativity. A good CEO knows that if their ego becomes bruised, so will their team’s. So, they keep their chins high and minds moving forward.

The CEO’s job with external stakeholders should focus on the question of ‘why?’ when it comes to the mission of the company. This ‘why’ should be composed of two things: the company’s goal of making money and how the company benefits society. The CEO must make time for these stakeholders, while simultaneously promoting their company’s two-part message, in order to propel the stakeholder’s action with the company. 

Board engagement is the practice of helping the directors help the business. The board should essentially work independently. But, that doesn’t mean that the CEO shouldn’t have any interaction with them. The CEO can improve the board’s advice and decisions by having a well-advertised future agenda, building relationships outside of the office with members of the board, and by being present and providing sound input. 

Regarding corporate strategy, the CEO must have a plan at all times. Business is uncertain, so being able to have flexible planning skills helps to keep a company hot and running. Not only does the CEO need a plan, but there must also be a clear vision of what success is to the company so that every team working under the chief executive is on the same page. The CEO must also stay active. This means they must always be making moves and taking risks to ensure growth, as well as stability.

Organizational alignment is a company is important to get just right. A successful CEO will focus on the stability of a company with an average strategy but put it in the hands of extraordinary individuals. By engaging in their employees and trusting teams to make problem-solving decisions on their own, the company will ultimately excel. 

The CEO must focus on team processes in order to ensure that everything is running smoothly. If one team in the company is underperforming, it could be lethal for the company as a whole. So, what does a good CEO do when this happens? Well, first, they must realize it! The CEO must be present to know what’s going on under them. Once they realize it, they need to solve the problem. This means the CEO must remind the team of their mission, make sure processes in the team are logical and consistent, and help to diminish organizational biases that may be present. 

How Do CEOs Handle Stakeholder Alignments?

A huge part of a CEO’s job is to handle the stakeholder alignment of the company. In order to ensure success, a CEO must know the stakeholders and what their needs and expectations are. Once the CEO identifies all the expectations, they should have a strategy in mind to fulfill them. 

Fulfilling expectations is a matter of feedback and accountability. Listening to stakeholder feedback in order to adjust is critical for any company. And the company, teams, and individuals working with stakeholders must be accountable for their processes in order for everything to align. 

If stakeholder expectations are not being fulfilled, the CEO must work to adapt their strategy and create a new plan-of-action. 

How Do CEOs Manage Time?

Image Credit: Pixabay

As previously mentioned, CEOs spend most of their time working. But, there are ways CEOs use to cut corners in order to save valuable time. One example of this is making meetings short and concise. And, these short and concise meetings should include only the people they need to include. It doesn’t make sense to call in the whole marketing team if only two people are working on the specific project that is being addressed. 

CEOs must also find time for the customers and clients they are working with. A CEO is like the cover of a magazine. They need to be seen. They are the face drawing in the clients. They must make sure to find time to make the client feel special and appreciated. To find more time with clients, the CEO must consider limiting time spent with investors. Although you want strong investors, you need loyal clients to keep your business afloat.

Alone time is essential for the successful CEO. They need time in their day to be able to reflect on the company’s progress, prepare for meetings, and switch gears depending on who they’re in communication with. 

But, alone time is not only for work. Another important part of a CEO’s schedule is personal time. CEOs work more than most, so quality ‘me-time’ is vital to avoiding that business burnout.

How Do CEOs Delegate Responsibilities?

CEOs already do way too much. So, it’s important for them to delegate responsibilities onto others to make the company run smoothly. That’s why the most successful CEOs utilize personal assistants and secretaries to help them keep their agendas straight and help with lengthy paperwork and emails. The CEO should focus on what only they can do. 

To delegate responsibilities, the CEO creates a strategy. It’s vital that each team and individual is working to the best of their ability and that the company is drawing from their personal strengths. The strategy should be all-encompassing within a company and set a motivational fire under each employee. 

How Does A CEO Influence Their Team? 

The influence of a CEO on their team is invaluable. If a CEO is doing well, then it is likely that their team is doing well. Likewise, if a CEO is doing poorly, they’re team will probably suffer. 

CEOs can be positive influences on their team by being present and positive. Successful CEOs are encouraging, hardworking, and believe in face-to-face interaction with everyone. CEOs are creative problem-solvers and organizers, but they foster teams that can essentially manage themselves. 

Most importantly, CEOs give their time to their team in order to make a positive impact. This is their most valuable resource. 

The Never-Ending Job Of A CEO

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The truth of the matter is that a CEO’s job is never done. The chief executive of a company is always working to improve processes, satisfy stakeholders, and keep the team’s morale intact, while still catching a few zzz’s every night. 

But, with proper time management skills, the right people, and appropriate delegation, a CEO’s job can be inspiring and influential to those around them, leaving the CEO feeling satisfied with their career. 

FAQ

  • What Is A CEO?

CEO stands for Chief Executive Officer. It is the most powerful and influential job in a company. 

  • What Does A CEO Do?

A CEO has many responsibilities including making big decisions in a company, working with stakeholders, engaging the board, delegating jobs, developing strategy, and improving team processes. 

  • How Do CEOs Handle Stakeholder Alignments?

A CEO successfully handles stakeholder alignments by identifying who they are, what their expectations are and if they are being met, and if they’re not, then adapting so they will be met. 

  • How Do CEOs Manage Time?

A smart CEO cuts corners when they can by shortening meetings and other time-wasters. CEOs take the time to face-to-face with everyone they work with, but they also leave some room for refocusing and relaxing in order to remain sharp and sane. 

  • How Do CEOs Delegate Responsibilities?

A CEO relies on their team to do the jobs that he or she does not have time for. They utilize their office assistants when needed. And, when it comes to teams they work of their employee’s strengths to make sure they’re engaged and being used to their best. 

  • How Does A CEO Influence Their Team?

A CEO influences their team by being present and having a positive attitude. If a CEO has good morale, so will their team. A CEO must present themselves as authoritative in order to be respected.  

 

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