Photo: Robert Holmgren
Today’s advice comes from Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks: “I would say the following [to someone about to become CEO]: Very few people, whether you’ve been in that job before or not, get into the seat and believe today that they are now qualified to be the CEO. They’re not going to tell you that, but it’s true. So everyone you meet has a level of insecurity.
“The level of insecurity that you have is a strength, not a weakness. The question is, how are you going to use it?
“For whatever reason, people believe that when they get to that spot, they have to know everything. They’ve got to be in total control, and you can never show weakness. I would say one of the underlying strengths of a great leader and a great C.E.O. — not all the time but when appropriate — is to demonstrate vulnerability, because that will bring people closer to you and show people the human side of you.
“Now, in order to demonstrate vulnerability, you have to make sure you have people around you who will never use that against you, because you trust them and they trust you. So the ability, behind closed doors, to have open and honest conversations with your team about the concerns you have, the fears you have, and the opportunities, is the balance that someone needs to succeed.”
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