All leaders can use help and the best ones realize it. Helping your CEO and the other leaders in your organization is great practice to hone your own skills and style. I have worked with many types of CEO’s over the years of consulting and working with startups and this is a list I have compiled of the different types I have met and how I tried and would encourage you to work with them.
The Product Manager
This CEO owns the product down to the last detail. He or she is sure to know what font, technique or tool that could be used to make their ideal product. They are often able to create great products but have been known to forget about the day to day operations. The product isn’t likely to sell by chance. You can help this CEO by understanding and ensuring execution of the processes that it takes to move product out the door.
This CEO is always on the go. They have their hands on the pulse of the industry, peers and the latest trends. Unfortunately this CEO is often selling tomorrows product. The company then runs without solid goals or is still producing last weeks great idea. You can help this CEO by working ideas into substantiated and timed, deliverable product pipelines
Any day now the world will see the greatness in their product line. Once they manage to share the details that is. This CEO is so certain of success that they forgot to share that vision or execute on the plan scribbled down somewhere. This CEO can be helped by drawing out their vision and committing it to paper for the rest of the team to work from.
This CEO is often connected to the founder. He or she has been given the reigns of running the enterprise while the “first” CEO goes off on a new adventure. This CEO will need to learn many things very quickly. Their early days are full of confusion which can cause a sense of uncertainty in your staff. You can help this CEO by getting all the parts working well on a process, including them.
This CEO has learned to walk, talk and dance with the well connected. They aren't very worried about the business since they know all the right people and just needs to give them a call. Keep an eye on the next quarter results since that is what they will be watching. You can help here by communicating the ongoing activities and results. Knowing means they aren't surprised and will let the team focus on delivery.
With plans for tomorrow, a hand on today and a willingness to actually admit they don't know, this CEO is most likely to find good people and let them do their jobs. They are always willing to make a decision but would be just as happy if you proposed one first. This CEO can be helped by you creating strong relationships with the team and communicating together as a common voice.
Do you know of more types and how to help them? Let me know on twitter.