The Four Primary Functions of CEO Leadership
By Rick Johnson
The majority of effective CEO/President leaders seem to be natural visionaries. Although, I admit, that there are successful leaders that can’t see past lunch. However, those leaders without the vision that are successful are successful because they have the unique ability to surround themselves with high quality people. Almost unanimously this type of leader has at least one member of his team or Board of Directors that fills that visionary void. Today’s individual leadership models, to be effective, must embrace an empowering framework not a commanding one. The most effective way to get employees to release discretionary energy, ideas and information is to mobilize their human energy through empowerment. That is the basis of the “Lead Wolf Model” of leadership.
1. The Visionary — This is the platform for the functions of leadership. A visionary leader defines the company’s destination. They craft the core values and define the culture of the organization. Clarification of goals and initiatives are a primary responsibility and the leader must distill a concept of success throughout the organization.
2. The Cheerleader — The cheerleader’s primary responsibility is to keep the team focused and motivated. They in essence are the primary team builder starting at the top with the executive team. But creating an effective executive team isn’t enough. The leader must instill the coaching and mentoring concept in the core belief system of his executive team to insure that these values are passed down throughout the organization.
3. The Role Model — Do as I do. That is exactly what employees will do. The leader is and must be highly visible to all employees. The leader has a responsibility to reinforce the success principles and core values of the organization. Day to day actions, managing by walking around, open communication, empowerment and generating employee feedback are key responsibilities of the leader as a role model.
4. The Last Chip —- The ultimate decision maker for the toughest decisions. This requires mental toughness, total honesty and integrity. These types of decisions are often forced by external forces, unpredictable circumstance or long term investment activity. The leadership function called the last chip is defined this way to reinforce the concept of empowerment. A leader’s primary responsibility is not to make day to day decisions but to empower his employees to make the majority of those decisions with only those critical, long term, high investment, futuristic decisions reserved for the leader.
All four of these functions are critical to the success of the leader and critical to the success of the organization. All four of these functions including the “Last Chip” apply to all other leaders in the organization to the degree that is relative to their functional responsibility. The definition of “Last Chip” is the only function that carries with it a level of variability. Keeping these four functions of leadership in the forefront when building your own personal leadership model will help you maintain a servant style embedded in your model which is the only way to maximize success in today’s environment with today’s workforce.
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