• Tony Richards

20 Characteristics of a CEO Worthy of Being Followed

I have consistently talked about and written about how difficult the top job in any organization can be. It takes a very special individual to handle the immense pressure the obligations of being the chief leader in charge.


While there are unique differences that exist in public companies versus private companies, there are many more things both types of companies have in common for the person who gets both credit and blame for the organization's results.


This is by no means a full comprehensive list, but here are 20 characteristics that came to mind while I was thinking about what causes other leaders to follow the top leader:


  1. Highly visible. They are seen on a regular basis.

  2. Readily accessible. They do not get accused of being “cut off" from the people in the organization.

  3. Passionate about developing and promoting people.

  4. Curious about people as people.

  5. They are excellent capital allocators. They treat the organization's money as their own and they know where capital should be applied to both maintain and grow the organization.

  6. Excited about the work everyone is doing.

  7. They possess a lot of great qualities, but honesty is first and foremost. They are always honest with all stakeholders about current situations and possible risks to the business.

  8. Offended by elaborate displays of pomp.

  9. They have developed a high amount of self-awareness and self-regulation. They possess emotions but emotions do not possess them.

  10. They are open to being coached and has a professional and capable coach to help them continue their growth trajectory and guard against blind spots

  11. Dedicated to turning praise toward others.

  12. Not impressed with personal perks.

  13. Ready to grab a shovel and dig with everyone else.

  14. Optimistic in the face of challenges.

  15. Humble. They balance a strong and properly balanced bias about themselves with a ton of humility.

  16. Eager to smile and laugh.

  17. Systematic about seeking feedback.They care deeply hope people, especially their direct team feels about and perceives them.

  18. Determined to make progress while enjoying the process. They love the work and the pain of growth needed to stay relevant and on top of their game.

  19. Committed to the best interest of the organization as a whole.

  20. Does their best to stay out of the victim paradigm. While there are things that happen that are out of their control, they waste no time coming up with a plan of action even when they are surprised.


What’s on your list of qualities that make a leader worthy of being followed?

What’s at the top of your list? Why?



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