20 Entrepreneurs Explain The Essential Skills One Needs To Be a CEO

There are skills one has to adapt to be an effective and efficient CEO and anyone can be a CEO. “It’s within everyone’s grasp to be a CEO” Martha Stewart. The most common skills are decision making being the leader of the team and communication. Some CEOs are born with skills while others have to acquire them through consistent practice. As a CEO, you have to remind yourself its not always about you and practice servant-leadership in most cases. We asked entrepreneurs what critical skills one must have to be a CEO and here are the awesome responses.

#1- Discipline

Photo Credit: Glen Levine

I’ve been able to improve my discipline through my marathon and triathlon training. I’ve learned to use my mindset for my business as well. Getting to the next mile marker is exciting, but getting there too fast can lead to problems later along in the race. Whether it’s running a marathon or running a business, focusing on the end goal is the most important thing.

Thanks to Glen Levine, The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine!

#2- Passion

Photo Credit: Pamela Zapata

When you’re tired and have been working 80+ hours a week, being passionate about your work and the effect it has on people will keep you going.Relationships. Make sure to foster great relationships in your industry and never burn bridges – You never know what side of the deal you’ll be on and who you might need one day. Be a good person and do good work. These are words I live by and have been the reason why I’ve been successful throughout my entire career. Surround yourself with people you truly trust. There will be days when a vacation is needed, so knowing you have a team you can rely on to steer the ship while you take a moment to yourself will help. Make sure to also take a step back whenever you feel yourself feeling overwhelmed. Regroup, reset and relax.

Thanks to Pamela Zapata, Society 18!

#3- Foresight

Photo Credit: Yurii Brown

The most important skill a CEO must possess is foresight. One cannot recognize business opportunities if the CEO will wait for crises to shake things up. Significantly, this top leadership skill enables a CEO to adopt strategies that make the company foolproof for any kind of disruption. The pandemic is a testament on how most businesses quickly transformed digitally in a short span of time including mine.

Thanks to Yurii Brown, Coffee Geek Lab!

#4-Ability to work in a team

Photo Credit: Shad Elia

Doing things autonomously is a practice often associated with people of power, those looking down on everybody else from a watchtower and making choices on their own. But, in real life, this is rarely the case for a smart CEO. There’s a great number of people whose input you want in order to make proper strategic and people decisions. Most CEOs know how crucial it is to consult with your C-suite team and even your lower-level employees. This is one of the qualities of a CEO that includes active listening, posing the right questions and valuing feedback, and often also assigning work to your colleagues. In our company, we all interact with others in our business and we trust them to a certain degree and that delivers for us.

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Thanks to Shad Elia,!

#5- Creativity

Photo Credit: Tanner Arnold

Creativity is one essential skill I think every CEO should have and it comes from within, and one can only be happy if they have a good power of visualization. A CEO should be good enough to imagine out of the box instead of tackling problems with similar answers. One should try to make some changes to accomplish their goal because it is not just about accomplishing it, but also about learning from it. Not only that but also a CEO must promote their employees to be creative. Encouraging them to think creatively will make them come up with new concepts and ideas. This will help them in getting more creative and becoming a great communicator by every passing day.

Thanks to Tanner Arnold,!

#6- Clear and honest dialogue

Photo Credit: Arash Fayz

One of the most important skills every CEO needs to have is clear and honest dialogue with team members on a regular basis. A successful CEO is open to ideas and strategies suggested by trusted staff members and needs to communicate information that is timely, relevant, and tailored to each audience. From setting expectations and goals to motivating team members to complete projects in a timely manner, a CEO should be able to communicate what his/her staff need, when they need it by and how tasks should be done.

Thanks to Jenny Winstead, LA Tutors 123!

#7- Metacognition

Photo Credit: Natalie Maximets

Blindspots in a business are difficult to identify and they usually destroy the business little by little. That's why the most important skill that a CEO must possess is metacognition. The ability to process how your business works before you implement it and identify its weaknesses in multiple scenarios saves a lot of time, effort, and resources. This skill must be combined with good communication and coordination skills. Execution is very important and if your vision as a CEO was misinterpreted, you will not achieve the results you want.

Thanks to Natalie Maximets, Online Divorce!

#8- Honesty

Photo Credit: Sandra Henderson

Being a CEO requires the ability to balance everything and abandon ineffective traditions. Honesty is a huge component to make these two abilities work perfectly. A good CEO must recognize and admit the gaps or loopholes in decisions to move forward with better strategies and actions. For example, when you streamline operations for productivity and reasonable spending, your plan of action must not work against your employees and your company as a whole. In brief, a good CEO strives to achieve a win-win solution for key players in his business.

Thanks to Sandra Henderson, LifeHacks!

#9- Ability to develop good habits

Photo Credit: Vincent Bradley

Being able to develop good habits is essential to success in life and business. When CEOs develop good habits, it helps reduce the chaos—and chaos is the killer of startups, relationships, and everything else worth pursuing! If you want to succeed in creating a new habit, you have to commit to the process: repetition, repetition, repetition. Using good project management software and staying organized helps CEOs commit to their habit streak by reducing their ability to give in to laziness, maximizing their productivity and their ability to grow.

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Thanks to Vincent Bradley, Proper Wild!

#10- The ability to perform self-care

Photo Credit: Ashwinn Krishnaswamy

As the co-founder of Oklahoma Smokes, I’ve found that separating myself from work for a day, an afternoon, or even just a lunch allows me to recharge, making it easier to run a successful business. Entrepreneurs sometimes get lost in working non-stop, but taking time off is an important part of staying productive in the long-run. I’ve also found that daily meditation helps me keep my eye on the prize and lead from a place of grounded, calm authority.

Thanks to Ashwinn Krishnaswamy, Oklahoma Smokes!

#11- Loyalty

Photo Credit: Elias Janetis

As my Chief Strategy Officer Tyler Boyd likes to say, loyalty and integrity in business go hand-in-hand. Who are you loyal to? What does that mean to you? These two questions will guide CEOs through their entrepreneurship journey more than any technical skills, and you’ll only succeed if you’re able to follow the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Thanks to Elias Janetis, Squeeze!

#12- Ability to reach rational and judicious decisions

Photo Credit: Mark Valderrama

Decisions have to be made every day in a business. CEOs often face the pressure of making urgent yet smart decisions, and it's important that one decides based on the best interests of everyone. It is also important that CEOs decide with transparency and collaboration with the rest of the team to facilitate support and cooperation from the team. CEOs must show the bigger picture and the smart reasoning behind their decisions.

Thanks to Mark Valderrama, Aquarium Store Depot!

#13- Delegating

Photo Credit: Martynas Kavaliauskas

Unless you are a one-man team, the ability to delegate is an essential skill for every CEO. When a CEO delegates, he is giving the impression that he trusts his/her team and in turn, the people will be loyal and more motivated to succeed. And of course, when this happens, the company will be successful as well.

Thanks to Martynas Kavaliauskas, TrackingFox!

#14- Communication

A solid set of communication skills can make a significant difference in the quality of leadership that a CEO brings to the table. Communicating with the technical team, with the sales team, with the investors, with the board. All of these require a different set of skills, and all can benefit from the time and energy invested in honing these skills.

Thanks to Asmat Khan,!

#15- Risktaking

Photo Credit: Lauren Eckhardt

You have to be willing to take risks. That’s where the growth comes from. Take one risk at a time and measure the success or failure of it. I encourage the rest of my team to take risks too, and I truly believe it’s part of why we’ve grown so quickly. Without measured risks, we can’t see the full vision of what may exist or test how far our reach can actually extend. Even if logic is saying it’s not the time for “xyz,” if it feels like it’s time, we do it. If we fail, we bounce back and do it better next time and grow from the lesson learned. If we succeed, we grow in business. Risks allow you to grow regardless if you fail or succeed, and that is what I value above all else.

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Thanks to Lauren Eckhardt, Burning Soul Press!

#16- Resilience

Photo Credit: Kim Chan

It is important to commit to a vision, work hard towards it and not to give up. The vision that I have committed DocPro to: providing accessible legal solutions for everyone. I would think about how many people would benefit if I succeed and how my employees would be affected if I quit now. Thinking about how people benefit more from me being resilient and hold on instead of quitting makes me want to make more sacrifice to overcome the current issue. Always think about how your positive impact on people would far outweigh what you would get from quitting.

Thanks to Kim Chan, DocPro!

#17- Decisiveness

Decisiveness is the most important skill for a CEO. In most cases, the CEO is the final word on Go/NO-Go decisions within the company. As such, they have to be both innovative, and willing to take risks while making their decisions. Given that a CEO is also the top head, incisive and decisive decision-making will also inspire confidence in the employees below them. After all, who wants a CEO who second-guesses their decisions?

Thanks to Alina Clark, CocoDoc!

#18- Three skills

Photo Credit: Jessica Williams

In order to be a CEO you need to be slightly crazy, in a proactive way of course. Emotional intelligence is a keen skill to have in order to respond to crisis, immediate changes, and unexpected information. Contribute a hint of charisma to the mix because you need to communicate with various professionals and that opens the dialogue more. Lastly, you MUST HAVE CONFIDENCE as a CEO because decisions need to be made without hesitation or fear and others will look up to you for those.

Thanks to Jessica Williams, JMW Career Consulting!

#19- Intelligence, Strategy, and Communication

Photo Credit: Richard Waters

As a business leader, I need to have the knowledge about the industry I am in and be open to learning more and improving myself. I also need to have emotional intelligence – to be aware of myself and to manage my emotions. This also enables me to communicate effectively with others. That is to share with people business directions and goals, and motivate them to navigate towards the company’s success with me. A CEO should also be a good strategist to compete in the market and be able to make data-driven decisions for the company.”

Thanks to Richard Waters, ROW!

#20- Ability to inspire and motivate employees

Photo Credit: Sam Shepler

I believe that the ability to inspire and motivate employees is the most crucial skill that any aspiring CEO should possess. Being able to influence people on that level isn't something you can learn to do. Natural leaders and great CEOs possess the intangible ability to inspire others effortlessly, without a “how-to” guide. A great CEO has employees who look up to them based on the sheer strength of their personality and hard-work on a daily basis, which helps bring out their best work.

Thanks to Sam Shepler, Testimonial Hero!

 What essential skills do you need to be a CEO? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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