CEOs are the known figureheads of every company. Much like a President of any given country, CEOs lead their people into their envisioned dreams and goals in life. However, not every CEO direct their employees. Some lead them from the front lines. These are the kind of CEOs that are capable of accepting both victory and defeat alongside their employees. These are the kind of CEOs that leads the charge.
Not all leaders are capable of leading in the frontlines. It takes time and experience to be familiar with what happens in the front. It takes dedication to be the one in front of projects and developments. However, many traits can help CEOs lead from the front. Many of which can be achieved by understanding the complexities of running a company. Here are some ways that CEOs can lead from the front lines.
Not many leaders can take charge. Many of them act like they are in front of everything to get the media and the press’s attention. Many of these frontline CEOs only pretend to be the company’s face without doing any frontline tasks at all. They don’t take charge; they take only the credit.
Taking charge is not as simple as just being on the frontlines and giving orders. Taking charge means strategizing an efficient and effective approach to reach a shared goal or destination. Creating simple directives for everyone to understand, pioneering the latest strategy in the market, and empowering employees and their decisions are aspects of taking charge. These are the things Steve Jobs did when he was the CEO of Apple.
Steve Jobs worked in all aspects of the company. From management to research and development, Steve Jobs was there. He was taking charge in every way possible. When Apple released the iconic iPhone, Steve Jobs was one of the people who pioneered its design. He wasn’t merely sitting back and giving orders. He was in front of it all, making meaningful decisions alongside his employees and bringing in knowledge wherever he goes.
Crises are great moments of despair for any human being. However, these aren’t the case for determined CEOs. They make the best of the worst situations and take responsibility when things go wrong.
We are all aware of this particular trait. It’s been repeated in our minds so many times, echoing relentlessly as we search for it within ourselves. Taking responsibility is a big deal because there is so much shame when we admit our failures, our shortcomings. And yet, this is one of the most essential traits that CEOs use when they lead in the frontlines. It is their ability to take responsibility that makes them capable of bringing a company out of a crisis and into the light.
Crises are the best times for frontline CEOs to take responsibility because it is the time when everybody looks for them for answers. A charismatic leader can find it within themselves to see the faults and say, “I am going to fix it.” Much like SMRT Chairman Seah Moon Ming’s decision to quit his day job to tackle the SMRT Corporation‘s railway system’s problems. He saw a growing problem within the company, and the faults weren’t going to fix themselves. So he decided to take pure responsibility for all of it, sacrificing his day job as the CEO of Temasek Unit of Pavilion Energy and working entirely as the chairman of SMRT. This eventually placed the company back on track.
Learning from Mistakes
CEOs aren’t superhuman. They make mistakes. However, what distinguishes them from other employees in the organization is their capability to learn from their mistakes and create solutions. ;
Mistakes are unavoidable, especially when you’re running a multi-million company with more than a hundred employees. It becomes the norm. Making mistakes is the core identity of the CEO that leads in the frontline. These mistakes make them who they are. But what makes them different is how they handle their mistakes.
Take Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, for example. He admitted to a mistake that cost Berkshire Hathaway $9 billion today. He thought that investing in Dexter Shoe back in 1993 was a sound decision. Little did he know that it would be one of the worst decisions he would make in his career. Dexter Shoe was known for importing cheap shoes from low-wage countries, and it was clear that production was going to be a costly problem for his company. Eventually, the billion-dollar CEO learned from his mistakes and led Berkshire Hathaway to the multi-billion dollar company we know of today.
Leading from the frontlines is no easy task. This is why the CEOs featured on this list carried their best traits into battle. They knew it was going to be a grueling experience, but one that can give them a profound sense of being by knowing that they were the ones that led their companies to the top.