Too many C-Levels spend too much time with block-and-tackling tasks and not enough time with real strategic leadership efforts. The differences are huge. And frankly, we need more leaders not do-ers.
Senior-most leadership is not for the faint at heart, nor is it a logical progression, really, from any position. There’s little specific preparation for that CEO role, only the hope that we’ve picked up some of the specific needs by observation. So, why don’t more step up to that true-leadership challenge?
The answers may surprise you… for instance:
Leadership has risks. It’s one thing to be able to say, “I’ve done all I could.” It’s another thing altogether to say “We’ve done all we can,” and recognize you are taking someone else’s word for that fact. And now you’re responsible for its veracity. Lots of risk – risk that you no longer personally control.
Leadership is situational. Always. There’s no 12-page guide for leadership telling you the answer is on page 4, section 2, paragraph 4. Each and every situation is unique; each requires specific, yet individual thinking and subsequent decision-making. Frankly, it isn’t all that easy. If we are accustomed to – and like – specific, defined situations, CEO leadership is a significant departure.
It’s lonely at the top. It’s much more personable a couple of levels down… Your employees, however, need a leader; they don’t need a shoulder, a buddy, a simpatico, or a commiserator. If you want a friend, buy a dog. Regardless of camaraderie, the role of the CEO is lonely. You have no peer group within the organization.
All of this is not to say there are not rewards; CEOs enjoy the ability – and alas the responsibility – of setting the vision for the organization. Further, you now impact the success of many, versus just you or a few. Finally, the financial rewards are commensurate, but only if/when you really rise to the challenge at hand.
But that’s just me…