26 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- Soft skills

Photo Credit: Michelle Ebbin

As a CEO of a business, your role is to embody its purpose and realize it through your business practices, management, hiring and culture. To achieve this requires certain soft skills that are hard to teach and rare to find. You must have and always work on visualizing as a skill: how do you visualize your purpose as a profitable business? When we talk about leaders having a vision, we mean the ability to visualize the future and purpose of your business, and translate that into tangible, achievable goals and phases.

Thanks to Michelle Ebbin, Jettproof!

#2- Ambition and vision

Photo Credit: Stewart McGrenary

There is no alternative for a burning desire to accomplish something significant, significant, and transformative. The word ‘ambition' has a bad reputation. Ambition is a lovely thing when it is directed toward the appropriate vision and fueled by the correct drive. Ambition is contagious, magnetic, and instills confidence in others around you when you show that you understand where you should be going. Leaders seek to lead by example, convey their vision, and help their employees view themselves as part of a bright future. This attribute distinguishes exceptional organizations from those who will miss out on the huge opportunities that await in 2022.

Thanks to Stewart McGrenary, Freedom Mobiles!

#3- Awareness and emotional intelligence

Photo Credit: Brittney-Nichole Connor-Savarda

Without awareness and emotional intelligence, it's near impossible to be an effective leader and decision-maker. Awareness is the foundation of any skill, because it allows us to assess our level of knowledge, and identify our strengths and weaknesses. When we pair awareness with emotional intelligence, we're able to assess how our experiences and beliefs influence our decisions, how we interact with others, and how we're perceived by others (stakeholders, employees, etc.). When we develop our emotional intelligence, were better able to control our impulse to react, and refrain from making irrational or hasty decisions. Additionally, we're able to connect with others on a level that fosters empathy and sparks innovation.

Thanks to Brittney-Nichole Connor-Savarda, Catalyst 4 Change LLC!

#4- Ability to delegate tasks

Photo Credit: Amra Beganovich

In my personal experience, the ability to delegate tasks, take responsibility, be decisive and responsive to change are all characteristics of being a CEO. One of the most important qualities is the ability to delegate work so that other people can apply their skills and maximize their productivity. This might include mentoring high performers or assigning lower-level tasks where someone excels ahead of others. It also entails being decisive – recognizing what needs to be done ahead of time and acting on it before delays arise. CEOs also need an excellent understanding of their business partners, employees, shareholders and the external environment/negotiators
that play into its success or failure.

Thanks to Amra Beganovich, Amra & Elma’s!

#5- Ability to read people

Photo Credit: Phillip Lew

I believe one of the most essential skills one needs to possess in order to be a CEO is the ability to read people. As a CEO you need to know what the strengths of your people are, what they're passionate about, what roles within your organization they love doing, and what motivates them to perform at their best. This will allow you to fill key positions within your company with the right people and this will lead to a more efficient and effective team that ultimately results in a successful business.

Thanks to Phillip Lew, C9 Staff!

#6- An attitude toward cohesion

Photo Credit: David Aylor

Hierarchical business structures are outdated and rapidly becoming systems of the past as we lean into new hybrid work models and fewer middle management positions. A modern CEO needs to develop a positive attitude and aptitude to create a space where strategic decision-making includes every team member. By learning how to work with a team rather than direct a team and take the initiative of other employees, a CEO can build up success along with a more tightly-knit team.

Thanks to David Aylor, David Aylor Law Offices!

#7- Several skills

Photo Credit: Benjamin Stenson

Let me divide my thoughts into sections. First, they need to be knowledgeable about their organization's purpose, vision, and values. Second, they need to be able to manage employees effectively. Third, they need solid communication skills so that they can convey their vision and values and get people to adhere to them. Fourth, they need to be able to make rational business decisions. Finally, they need to be able to manage money in order to ensure that their company will succeed. If you are looking for a way to advance in your career, then you can do so by acquiring these essential skills.

Thanks to Benjamin Stenson, The Norsemen!

#8- Self-awareness

Photo Credit: Andre Kazimierski

Being a successful CEO requires self-awareness, and those who lack this skill are often the ones who lead their company’s down the wrong path or create a negative company culture. Self-awareness is key for any form of leader – it keeps them grounded and helps them realize their own strengths AND weaknesses. Every CEO will bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table, and those who understand what theirs are will be able to better harness them and lead accordingly. A CEO who is not self-aware may also place themselves above their employees instead of working for and with them, which will negatively impact the culture and environment of the

Thanks to Andre Kazimierski, Improovy!

#9- Borderline micromanagement

Photo Credit: Cameron Miller

I say “borderline” since it’s unhealthy for your team if you get your hands on everything. However, you need to at least have the urge to micromanage everything. This means you have to care about every single detail and how it affects the whole picture. In my experience, it’s far easier to control the urge to micromanage than to try to get more involved when that’s not naturally your style.

Thanks to Cameron Miller

#10- Adaptability

Photo Credit: Johannes Larsson

Adaptability is a non-negotiable skill that a high-performing CEO should possess. As a CEO, you need to solve complex organizational, management, and operational problems that arise in the organization. In this scenario, CEOs need to possess some level of adaptivity to respond to the situation appropriately. An unadaptable CEO doesn’t know how to respond to things they’re not familiar with, leading to poor decision-making and solutions. The lack of adaptability would result in poor handling of new problems. As a result, it can negatively impact the performance of the business.

Thanks to Johannes Larsson,!

#11- Being fearless, creative and innovative

Photo Credit: Joe Flanagan

Being at the helm of an organization, a CEOs decisions and style of leadership impact the company and the people working under them. Therefore, they need to have an approachable personality. Respect is better than fear. A leadership based on fear isn’t the best. But those who respect you will jump with you over a cliff. So to say! Being ethical is also vital. Being fearless, creative and innovative are skills that go hand-in-hand. As the leader of an organization, one might be called upon to make difficult decisions and second-guessing oneself is not an admirable quality. Innovation also calls one to be open-minded. In today’s world things are changing at an extremely fast pace, business disruptions are everyday occurrences, and as a CEO, accepting that times are changing is important. Poor decision-making due to lack of open-mindedness can also lead to alienation of your company due to lack of foresight which should be avoided. In all these necessary skills, what comes out as an umbrella skill is one of good leadership. At the end, a CEO needs to be able to be a leader not a boss, a team player not a one-man show.

Thanks to Joe Flanagan, VelvetJobs!

#12- Passion

Photo Credit: Annalyse Galán

You must have passion for your company and for the message you’re bringing to your customers. For example, Beauté Sauvage was created with a mission to produce sensual lingerie of unparalleled quality that celebrates the uniqueness of every woman. I believe that lingerie should give everyone a boost of confidence and accentuate their own natural beauty. That passion is what drives me to stand for my decisions and take risks when necessary.

Thanks to Annalyse Galán, Beauté Sauvage!

#13- Three skills

Photo Credit: Daniel Adam

There are three essential CEO skills that have served me well. The first is resilience. Things can and will go wrong. Resilience allows you to pick yourself up, learn from what happened and keep going – even when you just want to crawl under the duvet and live there for a bit! The second is patience. It takes time to build a business, let alone a successful one. Being prepared to be in it for the long haul is realistic and patience allows you to tackle each day as it comes. The third is flexibility. Although it's great to have a solid vision, it's equally important to accept that things won't always go to plan and to be willing to change your approach.

Thanks to Daniel Adam,!

#14- Grit

One thing the COVID Pandemic taught us is that times change and the unexpected is always around the corner. In my industry, real estate investing, this has meant that we need to change rapidly to keep up with emerging technologies. Sometimes rapid change can test the character of CEOs and company leadership. You’ve got to be strong, firm, courageous and unconquerable during these tough times. And more: you have to show your people that they too can beat the change, weather the storm, and come out stronger and better than before. You need true grit.

Thanks to Marina Vaamonde, PropertyCashin!

#15- Ability to inspire

Photo Credit: Andrew Priobrazhenskyi

A leader would have his own set of passion, vision, and ideals, but the ability to pass their passion on to their employees is a crucial one. The majority of CEOs are admirable bosses, but not all are good leaders. The ability to inspire your subordinates helps you in garnering a culture that works towards your goal and vision of the company, just as you would. The ability to inspire others comes from staying authentic, determined, and
resilient. CEOs should be able to lead by example of their own behavior and expect their employees to do the same. If a CEO has loyal subordinates that want to follow in his/her steps, the ideals and vision that he holds for his company will always subserve.

Thanks to Andrew Priobrazhenskyi, DiscountReactor!

#16- Knowledge of your processes

Photo Credit: Adam Hempenstall

You need to be aware of which tasks in your company you should do yourself, what you should delegate to your team and what you should outsource. Once you have this knowledge, you’ll be able to save significant time and money because you’ll always have the best person for the job handling a certain task, instead of wasting time assigning important tasks to people who are not capable of doing them.

Thanks to Adam Hempenstall, Better Proposals!

#17- Decisiveness

Photo Credit: Kurt Walker

Ask any CEO what their recipe for success is, and almost all of them will tell you it’s their ability to make critical decisions for their company and sticking with them. You cannot be a leader if you have trouble committing to difficult decisions. Great CEOs do not only plan the future direction of a company, they also make long-term decisions to ensure that the goals of the firm are met. And once they have made their choice, they stick with it and do everything they can to make it work. I firmly believe that it’s the skill of decisiveness that makes a CEO truly competent.

Thanks to Kurt Walker, Cream City Home Buyers!

#18- Foresight and financial skills

Photo Credit: Tyler Wall

It’s the ability to think critically about the future and prepare for possibilities. As a CEO, you’re dealing with a lot of things, and foresight helps you to steer the company in the right direction. Another important skill is financial knowledge. You don’t need to be a finance expert to be a CEO, but you need to have a sufficient understanding of how things work financially. It will help you in future planning and making adjustments in your business.

Thanks to Tyler Wall, SD Bullion!

#19- A proactive nature

Photo Credit: Harry Morton

There's more to being a CEO than simply having a vision or the next big idea. CEOs need to be quick on their feet and grab the opportunities that come their way. Only by being proactive can they effectively chart out a plan of action and execute it. Without concrete action, their ideas would never come to life.

Thanks to Harry Morton, Lower Street!

#20- High integrity

Photo Credit: Mike Grossman

To be a capable leader and build the right values into a company from the start, it's important to put your individual self-interests aside. A real leader is much more than their own desires and intentions – a leader is selfless and serves for the sole purpose of serving. You must expect nothing from the people that you help – that's the only way to operate successfully as a leader. Fundamentally, the ethos of a CEO goes beyond a list of hard and soft skills layered atop one another. When it really comes down to it, being a leader and CEO is about helping people when they need it. When you do, a lot of good things tend to follow.

Thanks to Mike Grossman, GoodHire!

#21- Growth-oriented

Photo Credit: Jose Mier

A mindset that is occupied with growth worries about and works towards the future. They not only establish goals for themselves but inject people with the same abilities around them. A growth-oriented CEO is likely to bring more growth opportunities for their employees and help them develop their own growth mindsets. A person obsessed with growth would always welcome challenges as an opportunity to learn and implement new ideas. Therefore, having a growth mindset is essential for anyone to be a CEO and be admired by those around you.

Thanks to Jose Mier, Heliotherapy Research Institute!

#22- Ability to build relationships

Photo Credit: Shaun Price

Some of the skills that you need to be a CEO are the ability to manage people well. This is not something to be taken lightly. A CEO needs to be able to inspire people to do their best and make them feel an important part of the workplace and not taken for granted. They also need to be good at driving results and building relationships. People who are good at building relationships are often the ones who have the most successful companies.

Thanks to Shaun Price, MitoQ!

#23- Networking

Photo Credit: Lindsay McCormick

When you're a CEO, networking is a must-have skill. Even if you already have an established company, you can never have too many contacts, and we all know that there's no such thing as an unimportant connection. You never know when you can create a mutual collaboration, even if it's months down the road. So, keep in communication, and wait for the right moment to build something great!

Thanks to Lindsay McCormick, Bite!

#24- Being organized and goal-oriented

Some of the essential skills you need to be a CEO include being organized and goal-oriented. You are most successful in business if you have targeted goals you plan to meet, and it also helps to set a deadline in order to
meet them. Being organized can also save you from stress and save you money in the long run in your business. If being organized is not your strength, don't hesitate to have someone in your office set up an organizing system for you.

Thanks to Adam Reed, Crown & Paw!

#25- Good command of communication

Photo Credit: Adam Garcia

The ability to communicate is a forgone conclusion for anyone in the C level. However, the CEO should essentially have unique communication skills. CEO needs to be able to tell clear language, concise, decisive, and flexible at the same time. This is crucial and affects mainly the work progress on a day-to-day level and over the long term. If a CEO doesn't have this essential knack, this results in catastrophic results inside the workplace.

Thanks to Adam Garcia, Stock Dork!

#26- Good negotiation skills

Photo Credit: Alejandro Uriarte

Well, I believe that In order to be a successful CEO, a person must have good negotiation skills. In business, you must always ensure that you and your company are getting the finest deal possible. This requires the ability to negotiate. This could include talking to external vendors, partners, business associates, or even members of your own team. Negotiation involves the ability to reach an agreement that benefits both parties. Negotiation training can be obtained from a professional training company, and any CEO can benefit from it.

Thanks to Alejandro Uriarte,1-800 Injured!

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

This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand 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 Blue 16 Media.

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