Characteristics of effective CEO‘s

What do Chief Executives do?

The following checklist is based on ten points suggested by Richard Lynch:

  1. Recognise people‘s efforts.
    Effective leaders praise the work of their
    managers, the staff, the board and local branches. As monetary rewards are
    less significant in the third sector, personal recognition is all the more
    critical. Recognition is best when it is:

    • given frequently
    • varied
    • honest
    • about the person not just the work
    • appropriate for the achievement
    • consistent
    • timely – given as soon after the event as possible
    • individualised to suit the recipient‘s needs.


  2. Develop a power base.
    The chief executive‘s power depends primarily on
    maintaining the confidence of the board, the staff, and in some cases the
    broader membership as well. That implies both serving them well and, more
    importantly, gaining and maintaining their confidence. This requires chief
    executives to demonstrate that they are in command of the organisation‘s
    affairs.

  3. Use authority effectively.
    Chief executives, and in particular those employed by caring organisations,
    find it difficult to combine caring values with the need to be tough and
    decisive when circumstances demand a decision that will not please colleagues.
    The temptation is to give relationships a higher priority when in practice the
    long-term interest of the organisation should be paramount. Authority used
    effectively increases people‘s respect for the leader.

  4. Use the power of the position.
    People in positions of power, particularly those recently appointed, often
    shun the trappings of power. This is an understandable reaction particularly
    in organisations with a history of equality and consensus decision making.
    It can nevertheless be short-sighted because, like it or not, the status
    attached to the post is one source of the chief executive’s influence.
    Effective chief executives have an office that is appropriate for the job.
    They ensure they have appropriate administrative support. They sit at the
    head of the table at meetings.

  5. Build a reputation.

    Managers respect chief executives who have a
    reputation in their field of endeavour.
    Chief executives who have the expertise to make press comments or give
    speeches strengthen their position within their organisations.
    They gain a reputation by networking with co-ordinating groups and by building
    a profile in their field through writing or hosting seminars.

  6. Develop skills and abilities.

    Leaders constantly strive to increase their expertise both as managers and as
    people who understand the detail of their field of endeavour.
    When managers know that they can extend their abilities by working with their
    leader, their respect for the leader grows.

  7. Clarify personal objectives.

    Leaders have a burning desire to achieve specific objectives. They are clear
    about what they want the organisation to accomplish and how they are going to
    help the organisation to realise it. When this is coupled with a passionate
    belief in what the organisation can do, it rubs off on everyone else.

  8. Communicate with stakeholders.
    Leaders listen to others and the language
    they use. They put great emphasis on communicating a vision of the future in
    language that people can understand. They take every opportunity to
    communicate in person and in writing with as many constituencies as possible.

  9. Develop a positive self-image.
    Effective leaders are confident of their
    abilities. They strive to increase confidence in themselves and in others.
    They are optimistic. They get into a virtuous circle in which their success
    feeds their self image, which in turn leads to further success.

  10. Combine vision with attention to detail.

    Leaders judge when to focus on the big picture and when detail has to be given
    attention. Focusing exclusively on either is a recipe for problems.