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Successful leadership – capabilities, responsibilities and tasks

Successful leadership – capabilities, responsibilities and tasks

Rune Jensen, Senior Partner, EV Private Equity

Leadership is all about creating an environment which allows each member of an organisation to perform according to the overarching ambitions and plans. It is about quantitative and qualitative elements and it is about both the short and long term. A lot of it is about encouraging other people to perform, however the individual performance and behaviours of a leader strongly influence how the company, division or smaller team he/she leads performs.

As a CEO, strong analytical capabilities are needed, but this needs to be paired with strong people management skills in order to create outstanding performance. Leaders are role models and influence the organisation through how they behave. Their value set as exposed through  their attitudes, decisions, promotions, body language and verbal and written communication give strong signals  to the organisation.

Analytical skills are particularly important when looking at the main responsibilities of a CEO, but when looking at the daily tasks, people management skills are more important than intellectual capacity.

The main responsibilities and tasks of a CEO, in collaboration with the Board and Executive team, are to:

  • Define the overall positioning and role for the company – what does the company want to do, how does it want to be perceived and who does it want to target in which markets
  • Decide the main elements that define the company – ambition, vision, mission, value set, branding, messaging
  • Decide main goals for the short and long term – quantitative and qualitative
  • Ensure resources are available – both financial and human – and organize these in a manner that will enable the achievement of goals
  • Develop action plans, ensure implementation, monitor and adjust
  • Continuously improve and innovate

The daily tasks of a CEO and middle management will vary according to the size and type of company in question, but will normally comprise a lot of:

  • People management – motivate, communicate, inform, listen, create enthusiasm, give feedback, be available, solve conflicts, develop the competence of the employees
  • Efficiency and resource management – prioritize, delegate, organize, analyse, decide, implement, monitor, follow up, report
  • Bring business to the company – represent and sell externally and internally

What makes good leadership behaviours will vary according to national and company cultures and any leader will experience a number of scenarios and environments one must operate within. Discussing and defining value set and good/bad leadership behaviours as an Executive Team is vital. Creating trust within the team and getting commitment and accountability among its members versus agreed action plans, is a key success factor for company performance.