Whether a company has five or 2,000 employees, the leader must have a strong head on their shoulders to deal with daily challenges. From stiff competition to defective products, CEOs have an extremely stressful job keeping the employees, shareholders and customers happy with each quarterly return. To avoid the so-called toxic CEOs, businesses must find candidates with a mixture of risk-taking and conservative thinking.

Taking Calculated Risks

No business survives without some risk-taking in the marketplace. However, any risks should be backed with some research about their validity. For example, changing the traditional design of a popular cellular device could breathe new life into profits if consumer comments reflect a change is necessary. However, some products should never be altered to avoid alienating the core customers. A savvy CEO looks at all the benefits and drawbacks of a risk before jumping in with a new direction. Careers are made or destroyed by making risky decisions.

Listening to All Departments

A leader must listen to all their departments to understand issues and successes within the company. When leaders close themselves off to internal information and brainstorming, they could miss key problems requiring attention. For example, the design and manufacturing departments are reporting a defect in a product, but shipping and receiving haven’t seen items returned yet. This defect information gives the CEO a chance to prepare other departments for incoming product returns and how to expedite their repair before the wave appears. Department communication is also important for morale; a good CEO shows managers and employees that they are valued.

Hands-on Experience

Although many CEOs move between different industries, one of the best leaders is a person who has climbed the company’s ladder. They may have worked as a receptionist and finally moved into management, for example. These leaders have hands-on experience with nearly every job in the company. With this in mind, an experienced CEO understands when it’s necessary to change or remain constant with a product or production strategy. They may even walk along production floors to see how efficient the operations are. Experienced CEOs know when employees are truly working hard or just putting on a good show.

Checks and Balances

Even the most truthful and caring CEO needs a checks and balances process to their thinking. Before adding two new products to a busy production floor, for instance, the CEO must run this idea past the shareholders. If approved, it should still be discussed with production employees. Any concerns about implementation need to be addressed before starting the project. There could be a major obstacle the CEO wasn’t aware of, so employee feedback a key part of a company’s success.

Constantly Learning

You’ll notice a great leader takes time out to learn and read about their industry along with other related businesses. Successful CEOs aren’t just mired in their own thought processes, but actually look for innovative ways to boost profits, production value and employee morale simultaneously. They may even take business courses outside of work to enhance their knowledge. The business world is constantly changing, and a CEO who recognizes this fact will be effective with every step they take.

Humility Is Strength

Even the smartest person in the room isn’t always right. A successful leader concedes they are wrong when necessary. For example, if an alteration to a current product fails, the CEO needs to admit the failure while electing internal staff to rectify the issue. If a leader doesn’t have some humility, they may lead an entire company on a wild ride down to poor profits. An altered product remains on shelves at the insistence of the leader, and consumers are forced to look elsewhere for a better product.

Marriage and Stability

An unhappy leader is not an effective one. Historically, successful CEOs have had a relatively stable home life. Marriage and children often make the CEO more cautious with their decisions to keep the business thriving along with their home life. Although a CEO cannot be hired based on family ties, a look around at current leaders shows personal stability is important to work decisions. Having a strong family life also gives the CEO a way to socialize with other employees. Talking about family and bringing them into conversation makes everyone human and approachable, regardless of their corporate position.

Effective CEOs don’t just rely on their previous degree and education to run a company successfully. They constantly evaluate, alter and learn about their industry to stay ahead of competitors. With the right person at the company’s helm, a product or service can go very far for many decades of steady consumer use.

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