Humility: Key behavioural trait for CEOs

Humble, collaborative, reflective, self-aware and adaptable -some of the key behavioural traits used to describe a good CEO. Rahul Yadav appeared to display none of these. So when the board unanimously sacked Yadav for his behaviour “not befitting of a CEO“, it did not come as a surprise.The episode throws up interesting insights into how a CEO is required to behave in an organization, with partners or the public at large. HR experts said companies look for confidence with humility in a CEO candidate. Given that a CEO is the brand ambassador for the organization, hiring agencies said Ya dav’s outlandish behaviour made it difficult for them to attract candidates.

Regardless of how a CEO brings speed and growth to a business, he needs to possess certain key behavioural traits, and prime among them is humility . An executive from a leading hiring agency , who did not wish to be quoted, said a good CEO is one who has been hardened by real life challenges because humility is the resultant fruit of this hardening. Yadav, on the other hand, was considered to be arrogant and impulsive.

While a good CEO would take a long-term view even in short-term gains, sources said Yadav lived in the moment without looking at the holistic picture. “He was the kind who would get dazzled by a PowerPoint presentation by an advertising agency and hand out a huge cheque. He did not think through the RoIs (returns on investment), the cashflows and profitability. That’s not a trait displayed by a good CEO,“ said a source.

In addition, a stronger understanding of ethics would distinguish a good CEO from the bad. “Ethics are not just about doing the right thing but are underpinned by the ability to delay the gratification of temptation. Temptations are not just material, but many times they can be about satisfying the ego and can take the form of lashing out or being competitive, driven by a desire to bolster low self esteem,“ said Gurprriet Siingh, GM & head, YSC India, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in executive coaching, organization development and executive assessment.

Siingh said organizational practices like `360′ and per formance feedback regularly provide awareness of behaviour but miss out on what lies beneath.

“Leadership is a lonely pursuit and leaders are usually starved of insightful feedback. Creating mechanisms that enable leaders to receive counsel and feedback in a manner that is supportive is critical. This is a role that can be played by a board member or by an executive coach counsellor,“ said Siingh.

In startups, the CEO, entrepreneurs and private equities need to work in collaboration. For a startup CEO, balancing the input of external advisers with internal parties and developing synergies between the two -a core competence identified by YSC’s research -is critical.

 Source: Times of India


Neeraj; an entrepreneur & a visionary in the field of Railway, Defense & Automobiles, is a graduate in commerce and a Harvard Business School Alumni. He’s an expert in govt. liasoning & contracting and has an exceptional network & connections at both local as well as global level. He’s an expert in Market Strategy & Planning and has served number of overseas companies as an advisor/consultant. He takes a profound interest in upcoming startups & is very receptive towards ground-breaking ideas & innovations. He likes to brainstorm those ideas and if the values & philosophies matches; he is even ready to invest his resources, serve as a mentor or act as an incubator to futuristic businesses.

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