I Wonder If I Have Hit My Personal Limit as a CEO and Leader
CEOs are under constant pressure to have all the answers, fix what is wrong, and produce financial results in a highly competitive and quickly changing market environment. Furthermore, CEOs are expected to be role models for their organizations. These are very intense expectations. It’s no surprise that many CEOs wonder, "Am I cut out to do this job?" or, "Should I be in this role?" You have likely asked yourself these questions.

I Often Feel I Am Swimming in Water That Is Far Over My Head
Overwhelmed CEOs may wonder if they can do the job, but in many cases, they just need to better understand what their role should be. The natural tendency is to keep doing whatever made them successful in previous assignments, but the role of CEO is different from other roles.

I Might Not Have the Right Style or Personality to Be CEO
The media usually portrays CEOs to be highly driven, aggressive, bold, outspoken, and charismatic individuals. "If what those people say and do is required to be successful," you might say to yourself, "then I’m in big trouble." While style and personality contribute to success, there is no single "right" style, and personality is not the most important ingredient of success.

The Owner and/or Founder Should Be CEO, Right?
Not necessarily. The characteristics of effective leadership are not required to start or own a business. Very few entrepreneurs make it from start-up to Fortune 500 CEO.

Sound familiar? Read more in "Four Frustrations of a CEO."

How To Help These Issues Get Better
1. Develop the Habit of Continuous Learning
In the article “Why Entrepreneurs Don’t Scale,” John Hamm notes four reasons why entrepreneurs struggle to lead their organizations as they grow in size and complexity:

  • Excessive loyalty to comrades
  • Task orientation
  • Single-mindedness
  • Working in isolation

Hamm says those who scale successfully take deliberate steps to confront their own shortcomings. In other words, they learn.

2. Learn the Right Disciplines
Begin with the works of Jim Collins, Patrick Lencioni, and Verne Harnish. Teach the disciplines you learn to your executive team and continuously operate by them. Peter Drucker is also a wonderful source of business and leadership wisdom. For starters, read (and re-read often) his article, “What Makes an Effective Executive.”

3. Make Building a Strong Executive Team Your First Habit
This is the first discipline in Patrick Lencioni’s The Four Obsessions of An Extraordinary Executive, and our experience confirms its importance. The first step is finding the right people; the second step is helping them work together. Nothing has such a profound influence on the organization’s long-term performance.

4. Establish the CEO Role to Fit Your Style
Peter Drucker suggests asking two simple questions:

  1. What needs to be done?
  2. Knowing my strengths, what should my contribution be?

The answers will help you shape the CEO role to fit your style. If you’re troubled by famous "rock star" CEOs, remember the Level 5 Leader in Jim Collins’s Good to Great – one who blends personal humility with a strong passion for the organization’s success.

You may ultimately conclude that someone else is better suited for the CEO role. Acting on this brutal fact will ultimately benefit you and the organization. But give yourself some time to grow as a CEO before determining whether you fit.

Study these solutions in greater detail by reading "Four Frustrations of a CEO."

We Help CEOs With This Challenge by linking an experienced business advisor with a proven process, The CEO Advantage. One former entrepreneur/CEO commented that he would not have sold his business had he found The CEO Advantage earlier. He had felt he did not have the leadership capabilities and organizational structure to carry the business any further. This is an excellent example of how the right assistance at a critical time may help you reengage and rediscover the excitement of being a CEO. We will help you build a stronger executive team and implement disciplines that get results, and nothing does more for a CEO’s confidence than results!

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