The Reluctant Boss
As someone with aspirations for the corner office (hi!), I’m immensely interested in the day-to-day life of CEOs. I’m passionate about working on the business, which I’ve come to appreciate is a rare skill. Yet, the more I learn, the more I worry that I don’t have everything required to be the very public face of a company. According to the WSJ, I might not be alone in my hesitation:
I posit that a reluctant boss is likely in the role for all the right reasons. They’ve been encouraged (pushed) to take the job based on their performance, rather than their personal relationships or personality. Charisma only gets a CEO so far, as he or she needs to be focused on the business, rather than in external facing roles.
I’ve worked very closed with CEOs since the beginning of my career and one consistent trait is that they do their best work when they get to focus on what they enjoy. Not earth-shattering, but important to keep in mind when considering a high performing individual from a discrete functional area for the top job. It’s important to look under the hood to see what made that marketing exec so successful: did she get the best out of her team? Or was she driving the day-to-day operations with gusto? Did she drive collaboration or steam-roll her way to implementing her great ideas?
The job of CEO is extraordinarily difficult. The WSJ goes on:
I might add: let’s also shine a spotlight on the non-charismatic leaders among us, the quiet heroes who shun all capes. The just might coax a few more wallflowers into the too-empty pipeline.