All leaders have different styles. CEOs are leaders, and it’s evident they too develop unique styles.
Steve Jobs might have been a celebrity CEO, with a finger in many operational buckets. I view Mark Zuckerberg as the public face; hence the addition of Sheryl Sandberg to focus on operations. Eric Schmidt is relatively quiet; the professional CEO brought in to focused on management. When he does say something publicly, there’s usually an echo.
Some CEOs serve as the chief sales person and swoop in to close big deals. Others are thought leaders, inspiring the world with their ideas. Still others are focus on metrics, and usually lean towards internal communication, in a quiet, reserved and unassuming fashion.
Right or wrong, I’ll leave it to the leadership experts to mull. There’s a credible argument to be made, if a CEO is too worried about the public face, they aren’t focused on the job. There’s a credible counter argument too.
One thing is clear to me is that those who choose to engage usually make a remarkable difference we can all see. They can influence minds and change views with a 30 minute phone call. They can make a new friend, with a little chat on Twitter. They can influence public policy — for better or worse — with a trip to congress.
We may be on the cusp of a trend. An IBM survey of CEOs found that while just a minority (16%) are engaged in social media today, that percentage will grow to more than half in the next five years. Two executives summed up the catalyst nicely in a guest post for the Harvard Business Review.
Corporate leaders — and especially large company CEOs — are finally realizing what their employees and customers already know: That using social technologies to engage with customers, suppliers, and even with their own employees enables their companies to be more adaptive and agile.
Photo credit: Flickr.
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