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Grit Leadership Skills of CEOs to Develop Toward a New Business Year in 2023

Grit Leadership Skills of CEOs to Develop Toward a New Business Year in 2023

Globally, CEOs and senior executives continually scramble for knowledge, skills and best practices that can enable them to lead their companies to stay afloat the waters. The CEO at the height of his duty is like the sailor steering his ship to beat the storm. The stories of great decline of businesses are no particularly exciting references though they offer a plethora of insights and curious patterns.

Often CEOs have excelled in a very different job and the skills that have made them successful are not necessarily the ones that will make them successful as a major company chief executive.

The forgoing words of Graham Wallace, former Cable Wireless Chief executive quoted in Steve Tappin and Andrew Cave’s The New Secretes of CEOs raise an air of curiosity.

I particularly found those words edgily insightful having had a firsthand experience of how brilliant men of impressive track records, highly celebrated and favored in the early part of their careers, soon had to struggle and be made to hit the bottom rock of their careers as chief executives or managing directors of their new ventures. Some have to toil their ways to recovery; for others, it is usually a fall into an endless abyss.

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Frankly, the CEO position extends beyond being a natural or charismatic leader. Invariably, CEOs are corporate leaders and managers. Corporate leadership implies a highly skilled and experienced profession rather than a thing of talent or natural gift. Natural abilities no doubt contribute significantly to the performance and success of the CEO but equally important or even more apposite to the CEO’s role are professional competencies including corporate coping skills.

While rising to leadership status is often preordained by natural abilities, the ability to endure and sustainably navigate the leadership challenges is largely predicated on values that are scarcely innate. Thus, in the words of Daniel Goleman, most leaders are hired for their IQ (natural abilities), they are fired for their lack of EQ (emotional intelligence) which is invariably learned and mastered through life experiences.

Steve Tappin and Andrew Cave analysed 200 global chief executives and came up with a proposition that the CEO ultimately have to learn to be tough, resilient and self-sufficient whether those set of habits come to them naturally with ease or they are cultivated through the pain of discipline.

Being tough, resilient and self-sufficient is the act of grit leadership. Toughness is the ability to face challenges head on without self-pity or caring much about what others think or feel; resilience is the ability to quickly recover from challenges and adapt to existing conditions; and self-sufficiency entails the ability to independently make tough problem-solving choices towards growth. All of these are emotional-adversity competencies needed to navigate the corporate resistance.

Furthermore, CEOs are expected to be properly skilled at directing the delivery of the corporate values. However, it has been observed that identifying the most important stakeholders per time or per offering of the business could be a major source of problem to most CEOs.

According to the study of CEOs by Steve Tapping and Andrew Cave, it was found that 38 percent of CEOs consider shareholders as the most important stakeholder; 24 percent claimed the customers are the most important to them; 13 percent would rather give precedence to their employees and the remaining 25 percent see all stakeholders as equally important to the survival of the business.

In any case, the CEO must be able to understand the centre of gravity and the centre of influence of the business and then design and execute the business model based on this awareness.

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