“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” -Theodore Roosevelt
My CEO was a great chief executive officer, manager, and leader. I couldn’t ask for anyone better to lead a company or to report to. I started to think about the qualities that made him who he is–his leadership style. What is that “stuff” that made me stay with him for so long? I came up with three qualities: competence, trust, and loyalty.
Competence – My CEO was able to lead the organization successfully. Competence commands respect. While you can have the tile of CEO, can you lead as a CEO? Incompetent leaders have followers that do not respect them, which leads to a weak organization. Competence is developed over time and from different situations. It is a product of life and formed from the circumstances you encounter. My CEO led other financial firms prior to joining our company. He was also ex-military and a veteran. From those experiences he gained the competence to lead.
Trust – If competence is the foundation then trust is the house. Competence leads to trust. My CEO tried to form a relationship with his department heads. We were not just cogs in the machine, but to him we were vital to the operations of the business. There was mutual trust – he trusted us and we trusted him. He had high standards and communicated those standards to us and we knew why they were high.
Loyalty – How often can you say you are loyal to someone? There is your spouse, your parents, maybe even your best friend. But can you say the same for your boss? Loyalty is built over time and from events. I knew my CEO for over 11 years. We went through good times and bad. He took care of me until the very end. Even now that I am no longer with the firm I am still loyal to him.
Competence, trust, loyalty, are characteristics to being a good leader. My CEO gave me motivation, direction, and purpose. As I move into other positions my goal is to further develop and hone these characteristics myself to be a better manager, leader, and chief information officer.