What Kind of CEO are you?

“Susan” is a serial connector, a dynamic speaker and the CEO of a thriving company.  When she stepped into the wild world of executive leadership more than a decade ago, she was quickly swept up in the challenging process of building a successful company.  But in addition to answering to a board and investors and representing the face and voice of the organization, she underestimated one crucial element – that the biggest job was framing the company culture.

Then there’s Jeff, CEO of a rapidly growing company amid another horizontal merger.  Unemotional, pragmatic and numbers driven, this laser-focused executive may have trouble connecting with others and may not be inspirational.  To this leader, the terms corporate culture and employee engagement are just words.

We can give hundreds more examples of the type of CEOs we’ve met and worked with.  But we’re curious.  What kind of CEO are you?  You can take a quick quiz (we like this one).  Or just read on to see if any of these sound familiar.

The Benevolent Dictator

Perhaps at some point during your storied career as a CEO, you’ve taken on the role of dictator, especially when there’s a need to move quickly and decisively.  Unfortunately, every other person is just an employee, and can be blamed for inaction or appreciated for actions.

“Problem solving through collaboration is great, but there’s a difference between problem solving and decision making.”

“Building consensus is a waste of time because you invariably take your eye off the ball in the process.”

“We waste so much time, energy and money into analyzing stuff about which any reasonable person would say “Who cares?”

COO in CEOs clothing

You’ve met them.  These are the CEOs who seem more comfortable and are most successful at running the day to day company operations.  Whether that’s self-imposed (COO in CEOs clothing) or an organic and pragmatic shift in a company’s operation (more and more companies doing away with COO role) the result is the same…a CEO in an operations-management role.

This kind of CEO is focused on delivering results on a day-to-day, quarter-to-quarter basis. This leader is numbers driven and involved in all areas of the business – finance, operations, human resources, sales, etc.  With so much concern for operational efficiency, this CEO has little interest in any sort of employee engagement.  Social media and engagement are just words.

“It’s just not typical for my industry.”

“There really isn’t a demand for CEO socialability.”

“I just don’t have the time.”

Chief Engagement Officer

Business leaders have coined employee engagement as a move from the ‘command-control’ role to ‘authentic leadership.’ The “new” CEOs understand the value of gaining insight and motivating engagement at all levels from employees to partners to customers. These engaged CEOs focus on creating a business culture that’s expansive with a new set of principles including transparency, integrity and collaboration.  Perhaps the most importantly, these CEOs are embracing social media technology and internal digital engagement tools as a critical in developing that culture.

Even though there is not an astounding number of Fortune 500 and Inc. 500 CEOs on Twitter, the simple fact that these influential CEOs are making the effort to engage with current and potential customers, employees, investors and other key stakeholders in the space they prefer to be communicated with, sets them apart from their peers. These social CEOs are building trust, enhancing their company’s brand image and fostering relationships with their followers, creating brand ambassadors.

“I want to know what people are saying about our company. I want to know our customers’ and employees’ wants, needs, and aspirations.”

“I need to tap into my network’s combined expertise.”

“I need to be online, live, in the moment, and ready to respond and engage in real time.”