CEOs earn their positions for a reason: They have the right mix of leadership, drive, personality, discipline, and skill. You know, The Right Stuff. If you're looking to climb the ranks and become a business leader of any kind, you'll want to adopt some key CEO habits. Below are some tips for becoming one of those rockstar employees who have CEO written all over them. The tried and true tricks of the trade.
1. Always Set a Deadline
There's no doubt that it's imperative to meet deadlines in order to succeed. But sometimes projects aren't given hard and fast deadlines, which can make things tricky. While deadlines can be more about communication than urgency, it's still a good idea to set even a rough due date. Setting and adhering to deadlines can help build trust and accountability among your team.
2. Adhere to the 5-second (Email) Rule
While responding to an email right away can be important, it's not necessary to send a rushed response just for the sake of it. Instead, if your response requires some thought, let the person know you're looking into it by saying something like, "Thanks for your email. I will look into it and follow up with more information." This way, they feel like a top priority. In addition, you won't feel rushed to say yes to everything right away.
3. Turn Emails into To-do Items
Many of us are guilty of a cluttered inbox with a thousand unread emails – making it easy to miss or forget about a critical message. To avoid this, make emails useful again by turning your emails into to-do items. If you're following the 5-second rule from above, make sure you do actually get around to formulate a detailed reply.
No matter how long your to-do list is, ask yourself, "If there was only one thing I could work on today, what would it be?" It's the same mindset as eating your vegetables first. You'll feel much better after getting your big to-do out of the way.
5. Think Strategically and Have Vision
It can be hard to get your head out of the day-to-day grind to look at the big picture. But it's critical to know why you're doing something and how it will impact things in the future. Taking the time to step back and think about overarching goals will help you and your team set meaningful goals and succeed in the long run. Not only that but having a concrete vision for the future of your team and/or company is something critically important for business leaders.
6. Strive to Improve Your Leadership Skills
Naturally, CEOs have to be extraordinary leaders. So no matter what position you're in now, there's always a way to sharpen your leadership skills to prepare for when you're at the top. Remember that leadership isn't about barking orders down from on high – it's about motivating a team to work together and deliver the best possible outcome. This usually means checking your ego at the door. You have to not only possess the right skills to do your job but also the emotional intelligence to effectively lead and manage others.
7. Be Curious
The best leaders are always hungry to know more. They're constant learners who are committed to self-improvement at every step of the way. This means not only sharpening your own skills but also consistently looking for new and better ways to do things. In addition, strive to learn about more than just your role – the more you know about different disciplines, the better prepared you will be to tackle larger, company-wide initiatives.
If you've got the desire and drive to rise to a leadership position, all you have to do is add in some focus and discipline to get you there. Carefully observe leaders who inspire you – taking their advice to heart and mirroring their actions. The more you work and act like a CEO now, the better your chances of becoming one yourself someday.