What is the most common route to becoming one of Britain’s top bosses? And does age or gender boost your chances? These were the questions Robert Half asked during its annual “FTSE 100 CEO Tracker”.What it found – in comparison to The Guardian suggesting those named John or David were likely to make it to the top – was that having a financial background counted for something if you wanted to be part of the C-suite. Most bosses also chose to work in an industry they previously worked in. This, according to Alan Potts, CEO of CoachDirectors, highlighted that those in the FTSE 100 had been appointed due to their knowledge and experience – something first-time CEOs should do well to note. As such, preparation is key. He said: “Almost every CEO I’ve known who has reported back on that first experience has said there was nothing in their previous career that had prepared them.The complexity and the number of things they have to juggle or balance can be a shock.” On the contrary, Karen Firestone, CEO of Areus Asset Management, claimed bosses should never believe they know everything they’re getting into. “At the beginning I expected certain things to be tough, and they have been,” she said. “But there have been numerous surprises along the way. Personally, I was surprised by how much selling I would have to do as CEO. I was also startled to learn how much my attitude still sets a tone around the office.” That being said, here are a few tips to get the ball rolling. Acquaint yourself with more than one leadership style When you’re dealing with ongoing challenges and changes, sticking to purely one leadership style may land you in hot water. And according to psychologist Daniel Goleman, there are six different types: visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pace-setting and commanding. While it pays to find out which one comes most natural to you, it should also be said that leadership can and should be situational, depending on the needs of the team. Sometimes the team needs a visionary, a new style of coaching or even a swift kick to the proverbial shins if they don’t deliver. For that reason, great leaders choose their leadership style like a golfer chooses his or her club. And learning each style, said Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder of the Blackstone Group, means taking a different route in your journey. During a speech at the London School of Economics, he explained: “No one is born a CEO; if you go to one of those great genome centres, not one of those traits has ‘CEO’ on a gene. It’s learned behaviour – for everybody. They come aggressive, they come quiet, short and tall, they come assertive and collaborative. What’s important is for a founder to recognise what they’re good at and what the firm needs.” Read more leadership-related articles:
- A look at the optimum tenure length for a company’s chief
- I’ve got no strings on me: Is being a psychopath good for business?
- The principles that differentiate great leaders
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