How can you help your new CEO succeed?

by | Jun 15, 2016 | Blog

So, you’ve got a new CEO. Whether it’s an internal appointment or someone who has joined from another organisation, this signals a period of change. Often, it also causes uncertainty. How can you and your fellow leaders ensure that the arrival of a new CEO is a positive experience? Cirrus director Nicky Little offers some top tips to ensure that the arrival of a new CEO is a win/win for everyone.

    Be open and honest. We constantly hear about how important it is for CEOs to be ‘transparent’. So set the scene by being candid with her or him.

    Plan for success. There really are few things more destructive in the workplace than setting someone up to fail. If your CEO is successful, the entire organisation will be successful too. Planning for failure is a flawed strategy.

    Be a sounding board. Time and time again, the role of the CEO is described as a lonely one. By becoming a trusted confidant, you can help alleviate the loneliness at the top and provide valuable support.

    Be challenging. Not everyone is comfortable about challenging a CEO. And let’s face it, not every CEO welcomes challenge. But by being brave and providing challenge, you will be encouraging your CEO to think more rigorously and to explain decisions and actions. Accountability is extremely important.

    Help your CEO be a role model. The CEO is the most powerful role model in the organisation. Every word and action is amplified. Is there is disconnect between what they say and what they actually do? If so, they will never fully gain the trust of others. If changes in behaviour are required, offer some positive suggestions.

    Keep the CEO grounded. It’s all too easy for a CEO to lose touch with the day-to-day workings of the company. Often the volume of external demands take a new CEO by surprise. Information from the ground floor often reaches the CEO’s desk in a sanitised form. Help out by feeding through valuable information on what’s actually happening back in the workplace.

    Help build relationships. If your CEO has joined from outside the business, help forge relationships between the new CEO and you and your fellow leaders. If your CEO is an internal appointment, existing relationships need to be reframed. Encourage open conversation about what you expect from each other.

    Help your CEO let go. The most effective CEOs are ‘connected’ leaders who devolve decision making responsibility and encourage collaboration. We all know that this doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Help your CEO let go by demonstrating how well you and your fellow leaders can work together to jointly achieve shared goals.

    Resist the urge to empire build. When a new CEO arrives, other leaders may be keen to stake their own place in the organisation. Be clear about your responsibilities and agree your remit. Try and resist any urge to seize more power just for the sake of it. Think logically about why you may want to take on additional responsibility. Play to your strengths and make a clear business case. This also applies if you feel control is being taken away from you.

    Be trustworthy. If you have an issue with your CEO, raise it directly with your CEO. If you only talk about your concerns with others, you’re undermining your CEO and often yourself, too. Not being direct can be very divisive.

    To discover more, or to share your own views, please email us or tweet @CirrusConnect.

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