OCEANSIDE, November 19, 2014 / PRNewswire / The most important job facing a young person who wants to be a chief executive officer is the building of relationships and the process of building relationships within the organization’s culture.
“There are some very basic rules that a CEO must follow in order to fully understand the organization and although they are simple, failing to execute on any one of them will ultimately spell disaster,” says Ed Jenks, author of CEO Point Blank (Indie Books Intl, 2014).
Jenks is a 25-year C-Suite veteran who has worked in multiple industry sectors. He has worked as a turnaround CEO in the security, technology and medical device industries, in addition to serving as an executive coach to Fortune 500 executives.
“My target audience is the young up-and-comers who have a vision of sitting in the CEO chair one day,” says Jenks. “Those kids out there who think that they have what it takes to walk tall in the C-Suite environment not simply for the money, but because they think they have what it takes to be there.”
Jenks recommends five simple steps for CEOs to build relationships with their teams:
1. Contact: You have to get out and meet them individually and it has to be in their arena, not sitting across from you in your office which can be the most intimidating seat in the house. Walk into their workspace. Give them the opportunity to show you their space and their support staff. You make no progress sitting in your office all day waiting for them to come to you.
2. Commonality: This should be baked into the system, but the fact is you are first together to do great work and this should make finding things in common relatively easy. The trick here is that it’s up to you to relate to them, not the other way around. Finding something in common with others, even if it’s only work related, is paramount to successful relationships that are enduring.
3. Credibility: In training sessions with young executives, I always use the same lesson. I put my hands in front of my face and moving them from one side to the other, I advise that every time you see a person, they are judging you as credible or not credible according to their own sense of value. It’s a bit of a dumb lesson mostly because there have been those moments where I have not had any credibility whatsoever. That aside, you have to be able to do whatever it is you say you can do in order to have credible relationships. We do know however that one case of “not credible” for a CEO can spell disaster. Being credible over and over again is what supports enduring relationships.
4. Confidence: This is pretty simple. Kind of. If you are offered enough opportunities to be credible to your team, eventually they will begin to follow you even if they are scared, intimidated, or unsure. Initially they will follow you because you’re the boss and they have a greater fear of being fired than following you, but as the relationship grows in credibility they will follow you because they believe in you.
5. Trust: Remember in the previous point when I said they would follow you? When the relationship begins to be even more credible with time, you are not afraid to let them lead the way and they are not afraid to step out and become leaders themselves. That’s the ultimate success level for an executive team. As a CEO, you will be lucky to have that experience even one time in your career, but you should never stop looking for it.
“To these folks who want to be a CEO, I say, go for it,” adds Jenks. “No one is going to seek you out, you have to make it happen with a lot of confidence and as much experience as you can cram into your young life.”