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The ideal leader: Qualities an Indian CEO must possess

N. Madhavan     December 21, 2013
What traits should a CEO possess to be succesful? Much depends on the environment in which his/her compny operates. Still, there are some qualities the CEO of every company in India had better possess if he hopes to go far.

Innovative Mindset
Emerging markets like India have become cradles of innovation. Such a mindset is key to enabling the company to go global

Inordinate delays on account of policy paralysis, policy flip flops and moving goal posts are common in India. A CEO needs considerable patience while dealing with government and quasi-governmental bodies

Global Outlook
A business model that can be replicated in other emerging markets offers great scope for Indian companies to expand overseas. But it calls for a CEO capable of grabbing the opportunity

Long-Term Vision
The CEO's vision charts the course the company will take. Having such a vision is critical for focusing the collective energy of the organisation. The challenge is also to balance the long-term vision with quality short-term performance

Know Thy Customer
Indian customers are particularly demanding (ask the global car makers). A CEO must understand his customers' needs. Only then can he produce the right products and more importantly, position/price them correctly

Communication Skills
A CEO does not have to be a great orator but being a good communicator is essential. How else can his/her values and vision for the company reach every employee and the stakeholders outside?

Shared Values
At a time when companies are increasingly seen as merely profi t seeking, a CEO needs to have the right values so as to put in place processes that enhance the company's competitiveness without hurting the society and environment it operates in

Networking Ability
A CEO must network constantly to promote his company and his personal brand. Networking also helps gain valuable inputs about his industry and market trends. No CEO can afford to be an introvert

Risk-Taking Ability
Opportunities come bundled with their share of risks. A CEO who does not have the stomach to take risks will miss out on opportunities. A well thought out strategy based on strong domain knowledge and use of the right people will help to minimise the risk

A CEO needs to be quick in decision making. He must latch on to new opportunities markets offer as well as give up those businesses/products which have outlived their usefulness. All the more when product lifecycles have shrunk dramatically

History shows that the most successful CEOs are those who are humble and have their feet on the ground. Humility is as important as domain and other kinds of expertise for a CEO to succeed

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