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Kevin Modany Offers Leadership Tips for New & Seasoned CEOs

Kevin Modany of Bluerock Partners discusses ways in which seasoned and novice CEOs can become effective leaders.

A CEO’s well-developed leadership skills enable them to effectively manage their company’s operations. This high-level executive also ideally motivates employees to excel in their job performance. CEOs assume this challenging role with diverse backgrounds and varied leadership skills.

Executive consultant (and seasoned CEO) Kevin Modany previously assisted the BlueRock private equity firm in improving its portfolio companies’ operations. Today, he serves as the Managing Director of Bluerock Partners. Kevin Modany details five key leadership strategies for new CEOs. He also discusses three valuable tips that enable CEOs of all experience levels to help their respective companies thrive.

5 Leadership Guidelines for New CEOs

The phrase “new CEOs” applies to incoming company leaders with varied backgrounds. Many CEOs assume the position after working in a junior-level management role in the same organization. However, other CEOs step into the job with strong technical expertise but limited high-level managerial experience.

To provide a more even playing field, Kevin Modany offers five experience-based tips that should help new CEOs more easily adapt to their job demands. These guidelines apply to businesses in many industries.

Cultivate a Personal Passion

Some CEOs enjoy delving into multiple aspects of their company’s operation. They may walk the production line, participate in financial management discussions, and even visit field installations. Other CEOs prefer to delegate the details while remaining focused on big-picture visions and strategic planning.

When shaping a business’ operational structure, a CEO should determine which type of engagement they enjoy most. Based on that, they should hire team members who excel at (and prefer) the opposite type of involvement. To illustrate, a visionary CEO should hire senior executives who prefer getting into the “nuts and bolts” of the company’s operations.

Adopt a Distinctive Leadership Style

Every CEO has their own leadership style. Some company leaders adhere to a highly structured management style while others may be more informal and approachable. By defining a personal leadership style, a CEO can fine-tune this professional persona depending on the situation.

To begin, the CEO should perform a detailed self-assessment. Including their motivations, along with their strengths and weaknesses, is a logical starting point.

From this baseline, they may choose a top-down leadership style in which the CEO makes unilateral decisions with scant input from their team. Alternatively, the CEO may opt for a collaborative leadership style. Here, they welcome input from team members but ultimately make the final decision.

Maintain a Visible Presence

Historically, CEOs spent much of their time in the company’s executive offices. Rank-and-file employees rarely saw their leaders outside of official company events and community charitable initiatives.

Today, however, CEOs are increasingly visible, transparent, and accessible. This notable shift had begun before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, months of business lockdowns created the need to update remotely working (or idled) employees about company operations.

Emphasis on Honesty and Transparency

Not surprisingly, honesty and transparency build trust and confidence in the CEO and the company. Kevin Modany continues to emphasize these attributes in interactions with his colleagues and portfolio companies.

“If you ask me a question, I will give you an answer, and I don’t believe in anything other than being honest and forthright. Sometimes, it’s painful, but you’ve got to be truthful. That’s the way I am, and that’s the way I’ve always been,” declared Kevin Modany.

Encourage Initiative and Provide Guidance

Establishing company goals is the first step to achieving them. Not surprisingly, employees who help to formulate mutual goals typically take increased ownership of these objectives. Kevin Modany says a higher degree of commitment often produces optimal results.

To facilitate this goal achievement, the CEO should provide guidelines that help teams maintain their direction and focus. Concurrently, team members should feel that they have considerable freedom in pursuing their objectives. Micromanagement and over-regulation will serve to dampen enthusiasm and discourage goal achievement.

Celebrate Individual and Team Accomplishments

CEOs typically ask their executive team members to perform at a high level. This expectation may extend to other teams and potentially to all company employees. When team members meet (or exceed) established goals, and excel in their jobs, they deserve recognition. Ideally, this action helps to motivate them toward the next predetermined goal.

Kevin Modany notes that the CEO should take the lead in acknowledging team accomplishments. Concurrently, this corporate leader should recognize their team members’ individual achievements. The CEO should encourage other managers to take the same action.

3 Leadership Tips for CEOs of All Experience Levels

New and seasoned CEOs alike can benefit from three not-so-obvious leadership tips. Collectively, this advice can enhance CEOs’ skills and position them to excel in the boardroom and the industry.

Engage and Inspire Key Stakeholders

Bringing all key stakeholders to the table, and understanding their motivations and needs, sets the stage for value creation. Kevin Modany says CEOs who use this approach are almost twice as successful as leaders who take a top-down, authoritarian view of interactions with others.

While inclusive CEOs achieve better overall outcomes, they don’t worry about being well-liked by their colleagues. These effective leaders are also willing to discuss difficult and even contentious issues with their team. By engaging in conflict when it’s appropriate for accomplishing business goals, the CEO inspires confidence that they will be successful.

Equally importantly, inclusive CEOs encourage everyone to have a voice in every discussion. At the end of the day, however, the CEO evaluates the factors at play before making their own decision.

Maintain Clear, Effective Communication

Effective communication sets the stage for productive business collaborations. Kevin Modany emphasizes a no-nonsense communications approach. Besides minimizing the use of industry jargon, he encourages productive two-way exchanges that facilitate solutions to current and emerging problems.

Master the Art of Decision Making

High-achieving CEOs are known for their laser focus and swift decision-making abilities. Sometimes, they don’t have all the relevant details or they must delve into an unfamiliar subject. Despite these disadvantages, these forward-looking CEOs analyze the available data and decisively choose a course of action.

With that said, these CEOs may consider whether a lower-level manager is better positioned to make a specific decision. Alternatively, the CEO may evaluate the ramifications of waiting a week (or a month) to make a more-informed decision.

At the other end of the spectrum, some highly analytical CEOs ferret out all the facts and eventually make a well-considered decision. During their extended deliberations, however, they often frustrate their teams and grind company operations to a halt.

Leadership Training Evolution

Like other continuing professional education, leadership training can evolve with industry and technological advances. CEOs who stay current with career requirements are well positioned to lead their companies toward continued growth. They are also likely to inspire the next generation of leaders.