Are CEOs born or made?
According to entrepreneur-turned-top venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, the majority of the tricky skills needed for CEO, leaders gain through years of experience.
Comparing basic CEO capabilities, such as giving difficult feedback, to learning the unnatural motion of lifting your back foot first in boxing, he claims “it generally takes years for a founder to develop the CEO skill set.”
Shortly, Horowitz strongly believes CEOs are made, not born.
However, just because becoming an exceptional leader takes a whole lot of practice, it doesn’t mean everyone can t a urn into a CEO through hard work. While you welcome disappointment if you believe some people are simply naturals at the job, you welcome years of wasted effort if you don’t likewise recognize that specific fundamental mindsets are essential for getting started on this long path of learning.
What are they? Experts suggest you have to nail these basics before you can even start to consider yourself as potential CEO material.
1. You’re curious and a constant learner
The primary tip-off that a commitment to nonstop self-improvement is key to leadership success. The fact that nearly every business icon you can think of from Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to Oprah Winfrey sees him- or herself as a perpetual learner. But if you want more quantitative backing for this idea, it exists as well.
As indicated by The New York Times, research shows that you’re more likely to reach the top of an organization if you’ve had a variety of roles. From finance to marketing, instead of hunkered down and built expertise in just one division where you felt comfortable.
Evidence suggests that success in the business world isn’t just about brain power or climbing a linear path to the top. It is about gathering different skills and showing an ability to learn about fields outside one’s comfort zone.
2. You’re willing to feel like you’re the dumbest person in the room
Are CEOs smart?
Of course, running a company takes a certain level of intelligence. But for top leaders, the capacity to assemble and listen to exceptional brains is more important than personal mental horsepower.
Great leadership includes enough modesty to respect others’ gifts. And enough confidence to reveal your own limitations and accept their assistance as well.
Or as entrepreneur Kevin Johnson cleverly put it, you need to be OK with sometimes feeling like you’re the dumbest person in the room. “The average person is intimidated by smart people. If given a choice to spend a week quarantined with really smart individuals or individuals of average intelligence, the average individual would choose individuals of average intelligence,” he writes.
If you’re CEO material, in any case, you’ll put learning and results before ego. And also surround yourself with the super brilliant friends. It’s why Johnson is always looking to make a super smart friend. “They make me feel inadequate and sometimes just really stupid. But, I am OK with that, because I know that I learn so much from them,” he explains.
3. You can know a dream is crazy, but chase it anyway
How does Elon Musk, leader of some of the world’s most long-shot ventures, manage risk? He doesn’t ignore it. Actually, he recently told an interviewer that he’s totally scared by the huge immense dangers in pursuing borderline insane projects such as Mars colonization. “I feel fear quite strongly,” he reported.
But confronted with terrible chances, he doesn’t resort to irrational optimism. He recognizes the probability of failure and precisely assesses the long list of risks he’s facing. But, then he proceeds anyway. “When starting SpaceX, I thought the chances of accomplishment were under 10 percent. And I just accepted that actually probably I would just lose everything. But that maybe we would make some progress,” he continued.
This odd coupling of open-eyed risk assessment and an eagerness to set out in any case is a sign of incredible CEOs, according to Robert Scoble, who studies CEOs for Rackspace.
The perfect CEO, he wrote on Quora, is “assured of the achievability of long-term goals yet nervous about the attainability of near-term points of reference. This schizophrenic mindset ensures that an entrepreneur maintains up an enduring faith in the appearance of their vision while never underestimating the execution of their startup’s most fundamental tasks.”
4. You tend to get obsessed
Some call this quality passion. Others refer to it as focus. But whatever term you use, being a great CEO requires the capacity to latch onto intriguing inquiries or issues, shut out distractions, and work constantly until you have a solution.
As a young programmer, Bill Gates, was extremely popular for working at his keyboard until he fell asleep. When he woke, he just looked up, oriented himself for a few seconds, and began working away again. GoPro CEO Nick Woodman pursued his dream of a better surf video obsessively, through months of intense experimentation.
Maybe Dropbox founder Drew Houston described this quality best, using the metaphor of a tennis ball. “The tennis ball is about finding the thing you’re obsessed with,” he said. “The most successful people and successful entrepreneurs I know are all obsessed with solving a problem that really matters to them. I use the tennis ball for that idea because of my dog, who gets this crazy, obsessed look on his face when you throw the ball for him.”
Do you get an insane look in your eye when you spot a problem in need of solving?
5. You can tell a captivating story
You want to run a business, not write a hit TV show, so why is the ability to tell a great story so important to success as a CEO?
Because humans are renowned for their imperviousness to logic. If you want to change minds and convince people to follow you, you’re going to need to appeal to emotion. And nothing arouses our emotions as much as an awesome story.
“CEOs have to deal with conflicting interest groups,” said Scoble. “Customers often want something investors don’t. So a good CEO is really great at convincing other people to get on board, even at changing people’s opinions.”