I had the honour of interviewing seven outstanding CEOs and senior executives this week. What an amazing group of people! Collectively, they have amassed hundreds of years’ worth of experience in corporate business. Their skillsets and knowledge are impressive.
Even though they all work in different sectors and industries, several themes quickly became apparent:
They really like people. As one CEO said to me, when I asked him if he liked people, “I LOVE people!” These individuals deeply care about people; it’s what energizes them. They know that the decisions they make affect their employees (and the communities in which they operate) and they feel the weight of those implications on their shoulders.
They never stop learning. The CEOs and senior executives with whom I spoke are humble enough to realize that the learning never stops. They actively seek out feedback, welcome best advice from their direct reports, enter into spirited dialogue with their peers, and read avidly. They know that their managerial path is a long one, and don’t delude themselves into believing that they have reached the end of it.
They make fun an essential part of their life. There was a lot of humour, a lot of laughter during the interviews. These people like to have fun! And they know that their employees relish a great working environment, where their talents are valued and nourished, where their roles are clear and their authorities to do their work well established. But above all this, employees appreciate laughter. Successful CEOs and senior executives know and encourage this.
They understand the difference between leadership and management. One CEO said, “Leadership is like a Mars bar. It picks you up and you feel great. But then at 3 o’clock, the sugar rush is over.” Management, on the other hand, makes things happen. And without great managers, there are no followers for leaders.
We will be releasing portions of these interviews in the upcoming months. Stay tuned by checking out www.howdareyoumanage.com for more information.