So what does a CEO do?

Two questions I’ve been repeatedly asked by friends and family, since I was appointed a Chief Executive, have really surprised me. 

The first has been “Do you get a company car?” The answer is “No” and, actually, “Why should I?” I’ve never understood the reality that, to some, the car you drive really is a statement of social standing. 

The second question is: “So what does a Chief Executive do?” I thought the answer to this was just as easy as the first. “Sort of be in charge,” I would mumble, as though it was obvious. I might follow up with: “Make important decisions,” or “be the boss.”

The problem is that when I reflected on these answers, they sum up everything I don’t want to be as a Chief Executive.

My philosophy – perhaps the naïve one of someone entering his first role – is that I should be empowering others to make decisions. Setting the strategy, leading the culture, and putting the resources in place so everyone else can give of their best. 

Far from being fixated on my own quest to perform at 100%, I want to be a leader who prioritises enabling everyone else to be 5-10% more effective.

I admit that my CEO vision isn’t easy to fit into a job description, or a conversation for that matter. And I’m equally sure that it’s easier said than done. 

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A New Challenge

New job, new blog. To be honest, I wasn’t very good at keeping my old blog updatescooter_1729710cd. But when I was lucky enough to secure my first leadership role, at Age UK Sheffield, one of my first decisions was to commit to publishing a weekly blog.

Why? Well, I think it’s vital for any leader to keep colleagues up to date with the issues they are working on or thinking about, especially when teams are based in different locations and you might not see them to talk to regularly. I also think it’s important for colleagues to have a space in which they can share their views on how to make the organisation as successful as possible.

In a couple of weeks I will finish my current role at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue after over eight happy years there. Hopefully my new role will be just as kind to me – I’m sure it will be equally challenging.

One thing is for sure. Every day I will learn something new, or how to do something better. Hopefully I’ll learn enough to be a good leader. I’ll be thankful to anyone who follows me on this exciting new journey through my blog.