The Skills Needed to Become a CEO

Who wouldn’t want to be a CEO? Unfortunately, not everybody can do it. Most who do become CEO go through a lot of growing and different jobs before they get to that point. Take Charles Phillips Infor CEO who had affairs with Oracle, Morgan Stanley, Wall Street, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Air Force before getting to that position.

There is no exact list of skills you have to have to become a CEO, or experiences you have to go through, or either path you have to walk. That said, if you truly want to reach that position, there are a few things you have to do or be.


  1. Be Innovative

You cannot be a CEO if you’re not ready to change things around. Businesses that want to remain competitive must also be innovative at all time. Innovation means change, and change is scary, but you have to transcend that.

  1. Dare to Take Risks

Following quite clearly from the above is the need to be able to take risks. Calculated risks, yes, but risks nevertheless. Risk management is a soft skill that you must train if you are to become a CEO at some point in the future.

  1. Be an Optimist

Being an optimist follows from point 2. You cannot take risks if you think negatively and believe it won’t work anyway. You always have to be optimistic about every decision you make, consciously believing that it will work out for the best.

  1. Be Able to Take Action

CEOs are doers. They delegate a lot of what they do, but that is doing something in its own right. While you have to be able to take action, you shouldn’t be impulsive. Acting on impulse is not a calculated risk. It is about finding that balance between the two.

  1. Be Able to Coordinate and Communicate

Communication is a key soft skill for all CEOs, but they must also coordinate their team. How you communicate depends from one CEO to the other, but it must always be effective. Communication also means listening. Work on your vocabulary if you want to become a better communicator.

  1. Be Able to Control Your Emotions

A CEO is not emotionless. However, they should not have outbursts of extreme emotions. And, when faced with difficult situations, you have to be able to react in a non-emotive way. As a CEO, you will often have to resolve conflict, for instance, which means you really can’t be guided by your emotions.

  1. Be Inclusive

A CEO runs the risk of ending up in an ivory tower, where they become this feared figure who can randomly make decisions that changes everything for everybody. A good CEO, however, is inclusive. They enable everyone to take part in the decision making process.

  1. Be Trusting

A CEO must be trustworthy, but they must also be trusting. When they delegate, they must trust that their staff will do things right. When they include people in the decision making process, they must trust that those opinions are valid.