How to Overcome the Challenges Every New CEO Faces
Stepping into that CEO position is both an honor - and a challenge. As an executive-level leader, you'll face numerous challenges, especially when you're first getting settled. Some you may have anticipated, while others might be less expected. Being able to anticipate the challenges you'll face and having the tools to face them will help set you and your company up for success. Here are the most common challenges a new CEO faces and how to overcome them.
Challenge 1: Staying too Zoomed In
As a CEO, your value is in bigger-picture thinking and your organization's long-term vision. It's easy for new CEOs to focus on hands-on tactical efforts, meaning you're spending your time stuck in the weeds instead of ensuring your company is on track. Your job isn't to solve every problem - just the big ones. Instead of rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck into short-term tasks or lower-value projects, delegate wisely and keep channels of communication open.
Challenge 2: Giving too Much of Yourself
The demands on a CEO's time can be endless. Lengthy email chains, long reports and presentations, and trivial decisions being sent your way can eat up every spare minute of your day (and evening.) Setting expectations around the kind of communications you need to receive, having set meeting times, creating strong leadership teams with decision-making ability, and bringing in new hires can help reduce the strain on your workload.
Challenge 3: Not Understanding the Big Picture
Doing your homework matters, especially as a CEO. A critical part of your role is understanding how your company works, what your org chart looks like, and how everything and everyone is working to meet your organization's short- and long-term goals. CEOs who step in without a deep understanding of the organization, its history, and its context will struggle to find their feet. Manage the flow of information, surround yourself with good people, and make it a point to deeply understand your company - without falling prey to "being too zoomed in."
Challenge 4: Getting Staff Buy-in
Your people are your biggest strength, but gaining trust among existing team members can be challenging, especially in the early days. This is particularly true for interim CEOs and CEOs who have stepped up after some leadership turmoil. Work to connect with your employees, building trust through transparency, openness, and regular check-ins. Walk the four corners of the office, talking to team members and gauging their overall sentiment and what they need help with. Making yourself visible and present will help foster an environment of trust.
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