5 common traits of the most inspiring CEOs

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Traits All Millionaires Have in Common

Don't be afraid to pat an employee on the shoulder and look him or her in the eye.

Not only does the outside world judge a company based on the performance of its CEO, so do the employees. If you're a CEO and you think your team needs a boost in morale, ask yourself, "Why would customers and employees rally behind me?"

We've all heard stories of or even worked for companies that had a stand-offish CEO, one that made employees feel "less than." Most people I know like to see a leader who is more visibly involved in various aspects of the business, whether its development, operations or marketing. That visible investment in the day-to-day working environment can be motivating and inspiring to the whole crew, especially if it doesn't involve too much micromanagement.

With this in mind, here are six ways that you can have a greater presence as a CEO.

1. Walk the walk and talk the talk.

One of the first places to increase your presence is by looking and acting like a leader. Mark Zuckerberg could get away with wearing a hoodie because the revolutionary nature of what he built inspired most team members, regardless of what he wore.

You should know that your appearance will create lasting impressions with your team, stakeholders, and customers, so make sure that your grooming and what you wear make a good impression.

Besides your appearance, CEOs can also increase their presence by how they stand or sit, using less qualifiers, having a firm handshake, and perfecting conversational skills. If you need more assistance, you can always contact a coach or join a workshop that can help you develop your executive presence.

2. Be active online.

CEOs should have a strong online presence. In fact, 76 percent of executives feel that CEOs should be using social media themselves. There are many reasons why:

  • It indicates that the company is innovative.
  • It gives the brand a face or personality to identify with.
  • It improves communication with employees and customers.
  • It strengthens relationships with the media.
  • It helps find and attract new customers.
  • It gives the company a competitive edge.

When increasing your online presence, make sure that you leverage the company's website, show off your company blog, and use a variety of social media channels. Consider allowing your employees to banter with you online. It will show your customers and employees that you are human, and that you are aware of them as people.

3. Be organized.

If you're not organized at a CEO, this will show in everything you do. This includes being on the same page with your team. Use employee communication tools like Slack and customer relationship management software to help your team stay on the same page, stay organized and keep customers up to date.

When everything in your business is organized you will find that issues don't arise nearly as fast and productivity will rise.

4. Get out of the office.

Don't barricade yourself inside your office. It's imperative that you actually spend time with your employees if you want to inspire and motivate them. Whether it's eating lunch with them, working side-by-side with them on a project, or having a weekly meeting, you must make an effort to spend time with each of your team members. Listen to your employees, laugh with them, "high five" successes, show your personality.

This next part is really hard for some. Touch is important, whether you merely shake hands or pat someone on the shoulder. Look your employees and customers in the eye.

How much time should you spend on this? It's suggested that you spend around six hours per week with each employee. While this amount may seem daunting and unattainable to you, as the CEO of your company, it is a goal worth thinking about. How can you pursue this? By thinking along these lines you will begin to reap the rewards of your efforts.

5. Improve your emotional intelligence.

Psychology Today defines Emotional Intelligence as "the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others." Emotional Intelligence usually contains three skills; emotional awareness, the ability to harness emotions, and the ability to manage emotions.

You can improve your "EI" by:

  • Reducing negative emotions.
  • Keeping your composure.
  • Being assertive when need you need to.
  • Staying proactive and not reactive.
  • Bouncing back from adversity.
  • Expressing intimate emotions.

6. Ask for feedback.

How do your employees view you? The only way to know is by asking for their feedback on your performance. You can accomplish this by issuing surveys, having a suggestion box, or even launching an anonymous online portal. You will probably get the most honest feedback from an anonymous avenue for this information.

Once you've gathered this data, you can use the feedback to make adjustments in your leadership. How your team feels about you, how they feel about the company in general, and how you respond to your team and their suggestions will show you the best way to increase your presence.

Most people, no matter who they are, are a little hesitant to hear what others really think about them. But, as a CEO, can you really afford not to know what your employees think about you and your company? It is a little demanding and even pompous to think that you can impose changes in a company and ask for the support of your team in those difficult changes without expecting an emotional reaction at times. If you as the CEO stand with your team - as one of them - your employees will stand by you as well, and respect and admire you all the more for it.

Related: Top movies to inspire the entrepreneur in you

Inspirational movies for entrepreneurs
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5 common traits of the most inspiring CEOs

The Social Network

Based on the true story of Facebook genius Mark Zuckerberg and his Harvard classmates and co-founders, this movie shows us how one idea can go from a thought in casual conversation to a world-dominating platform.

This film also brings to light the drama and behind-the-scenes tensions that arise when setting out to begin a new business or venture. We learn through Zuckerberg's faults in the movie that you must stay cognizant of your actions and the way that you treat people, or you may damage relationships with those closest to you. 

Photo credit: Facebook


If this picture queues the iconic theme song to start playing in your head, you're not alone. Rocky is the ultimate underdog story, one that can inspire even the most experienced of entrepreneurs.

When being called up to fight world champion Apollo Creed, Rocky sees an opportunity and does everything he can to make the most of it.

Through physical strength, Rocky exemplifies true mental strength that has us all rooting for him and the people, quite literally, in his corner. 

Photo credit: Facebook

Jerry Maguire

In a classic awakening of the conscience, sports agent Jerry McGuire decides to write a letter to his entire company about how the hunger for deals and a profit are making it easy for everyone to lose sight of who they are.

This gets McGuire fired, and he must start his own business. With only one star football player under his management, McGuire learns what it really means to love what you do while still being able to sustain an income and sense of morality. 

Photo credit: Facebook

Forrest Gump

This classic has so much to teach us about believing in ourselves, believing in others, and how there is literally no one who can tell you what you're capable of doing other than yourself. 

As someone who's mentally disadvantaged, Forrest lives a life that's anything but limited and does it all with a smile. His determination is admirable, and at the very least, this movie will remind you to never give up on the things you want the most. Mental fortitude is the most important thing.

Photo credit: Facebook

Legally Blonde

Elle Woods is the girl you can't help but root for, right from the opening scene at the start of this movie. After getting her heart broken by her long-term boyfriend (whom she thought would soon be her fiancé), she learns that he'll be attending Harvard Law school in the fall.

Determined to both get him back and prove to him she's more than just a dumb blonde, Elle works harder than she's ever worked before (with the help of everyone she knows and loves), gets accepted to Harvard and finds herself on the defendant side of a high profile court case that forever changes her life and career.

Elle teaches us how to pool our resources and connections to get to our goals. The film also reminds us about how important friends and family are to have as a support system when you're taking on an endeavor that most people expect you to fail at.

Plus, she shows us that the seemingly impossible can become possible if you're willing to smile through it (and maybe if you put on a little pink!)

Photo credit: Facebook

Charlotte's Web

A classic tale of friendship and trust, Charlotte's Web will always inevitably give you all the feels. It reminds us all that by being kind and by simply being someone's friend, you can make all the difference.

The people who find the most success and get to where they need to be are the people who care deeply for others and expect nothing in return.

The film, as does the novel, can make anyone see that the relationships we build along the way become the best investments that we make.

Photo credit: Facebook

The Intern 

This 2015 movie starring Robert DiNero and Anne Hathaway is feel-good film about a 70-year-old retiree named Ben Whittaker who, recently widowed, is looking to come out of retirement for something fun to do. When he sees a posting for am"senior internship", Ben believes he's the perfect fit.

Ben works under the owner of a fashion website (played by Hathaway) and the two form an incredible, honest bond. Their friendship shows that the most successful partnerships and ventures come from the most unexpected places. 

It's a nice reminder that hard work, positive mentality and kindness will always be in style, no matter how old or young you are. 

Photo credit: Facebook


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