July 19, 2024

What Makes a Great CEO?

If you happen to be navigating the rough waters of the business world, you will likely need to consistently revisit your skillset and take a progressive approach to improve your performance over time.

While personal progression and a commitment to learning are essential elements of what it means to run a business, a great CEO possesses a wide range of skills and traits, and they are not always immediately obvious.

If you hope to improve your own performance and lead your business to success, it is well worth thinking about which traits you will need to showcase and work on in today’s climate.

Here are some top traits and skills that set great CEOs apart from the rest – it is worth taking a look at if you wish to future-proof your role in an ever-changing working environment.


Indecision is one of the great enemies of success, particularly for CEOs. Learning how to make decisions with conviction is an important part of what it means to run a company with authority. It represents great skill and perseverance, and it requires a huge amount of self-belief to pull off.

If you believe in your skillset, you should believe in your decisions. Standing by your decisions (and making these decisions quickly) can set you apart as a CEO that doesn’t fall into the trap of understeering the company.

There is often a great deal riding on the decisions of the CEO – many people will be affected, and there is little room for wasting time in an environment that typically needs to move quickly to retain its competitive edge.

Even if you decide to delegate a large portion of your decision-making to your trusted team members, committing to the decisions made for the company is a must.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Just because you make decisions with great conviction does not mean that you should avoid being flexible and adaptable in your outlook.

These traits are extremely valuable and they can enable you to improve your decision-making in the face of ever-changing landscapes. While standing by your decisions is crucial, so too is the reasoning behind making that decision in the first place.

Arriving at that decision with an open mind and an ability to adapt to the needs of the workplace and the current business climate can ensure that it is the right decision to make at the right time.

Once the decision is made, it is vital that you have the flexibility required to proactively make changes without losing sight of your ultimate goal.

Since CEOs are often at the forefront of business innovation and reinvention, there is little time to consult a rulebook. In fact, a rulebook does not truly exist for a great CEO – they make their own paths, and this often means exploring totally new opportunities, ones that have not yet had rules written for them.

In this sense, recognizing the pitfalls and adopting a wider outlook is critical in avoiding failure and averting potential disasters.


In many instances, passion powers the means for success. CEOs are expected to be passionate about their company and the impact that it has on the world; otherwise, they may struggle to inspire their employees or convince investors to sign up.

It is often this passion for the business that makes great CEOs relatable, inspirational, and ultimately, successful, just check out Michael Savage of New Canaan for a perfect example of a CEO with passion and relatability.

Passionate CEOs might be far more willing than others to actively engage with the company, which is beneficial to the employees (the heart and soul of the operation) and to the mission as a whole.

Passionate leaders want people to succeed, and when employees are empowered to chase success, the business flourishes.


If you cannot trust your CEO, why should you be working for the company in the first place? Trustworthiness is a simple concept, but a fairly difficult one to showcase – it is a matter of standing by your employees, sticking to your word, and practicing moral decency, all of which take time to represent.

Thankfully, if you are a trustworthy person, you have little to worry about in this regard, as it will show in your work and your decision-making.

Mutual trust is important to success in the workplace, and it is a concept that starts at the very top of the hierarchy, with the CEO.

A great CEO will know that trust inspires effective communication, one of the pillars of good business. If you feel as though you could be doing a bit more to foster an environment of trust, you may want to consider these three tips:

  • Honor all of Your Commitments – If you can stick to your word and show that you can through your actions, your employees will probably have an easier time trusting you in the future.
  • Listen to Your Employees Taking on feedback and acting on it is a huge part of what it takes to develop a healthy working environment. Everyone has a voice, and every voice needs to be heard.
  • Be Transparent at all Times – Your employees need to know that you are not keeping important information from them. Decisions for the company affect the employees, so you need to upfront about why you made them and what the potential impact could be for everyone involved.


The world is beautiful because of its diversity, and the modern workplace should reflect the many different backgrounds, beliefs, and identities that make up the society you live in.

Aditya Shahi

Aditya Shahi is a BSc Agriculture student and an avid blogger, passionate about sharing his knowledge and experiences with his readers.