There are only a few types of personalities that can make the CEO and all their types are good for an organization under certain conditions. But what makes a great CEO? It is alwasy a team questions.
- The Limelight – John Legere
Think about T-Mobile CEO John Legere. This guy is a stage beast. He is brutal, narcistic, flamboyant. And likely all his energy is focused on using his brand to be a cultural galleonshead for the organization. He is the epitome of a sales guy that now works as a visionary in sales mode. Behind him there is typically one guy that is the actual CEO. The loyal underling that manages the rest of the business. Maybe from the side line, maybe just in an advisory or friendship role and one of many people that report to him. But there is one guy calling the shots. And typically there is an army of hardcore politicians under the shiny start CEO that the this hidden champion is manouvering and outsmarting in networking, while driving and giving direction for the company that is sold top down from the limelight CEO. The CEO next to him has the mastermind characteristic.
What classifies this CEO is that he doesn’t come with a genius behind him.
2. The visionary – Steve Jobs
This guy isn’t a sales guy. He is an actual visionary. A pure product guy. Someone than has a mission for the earth with his products and that is obsessed with every single element in his organization doing what it is supposed to do to make the thing work. This type of CEO surrounds himself with AAA players. Those will be very loyal and powerful in what they are doing, being powerful CEOs of their functional or divisional control. They are not as political as the guys under the limelight CEO. But it is a fierce fight that the visionary fights and he is the most lonely CEO there is. The only key stakeholder that he must have in the inner circle is the financial guy. That is the only resource he can use to see the entire organization as it evolves and being meticulous about numbers is the only way to see through the otherwise completely discoupled universe of units under him that all are run by other CEOs. But again, this guy is a lone wolf. He has not compagnion and loyal backup. Everyone is a threat. And the only thing that keeps the organization together is the massive ego and political power that the visionary has.
And of course, there is a Woz.
There are also other examples that are not as unique as Steve and Woz. Google is a good example: Also has a Woz, doesn’t have a Steve, but a split of Steven into an Eric and a Visionary.
3. The Mastermind – Jeff Bezos
The mastermind has the feature that he is always the smartest guy in the room, he doesn’t like being in the limelight and talking much. His few words carry heavy weight. And this guy wins every political battle by finesse, political smartness and charme, while also enjoying fights naturally, but being able to contain them. This guy will have an internal champion that is the limelight next and under him. Or maybe he as a few. They are likely true loyal veterans and advisors and they champion the group and their CEO for being strategically superior. They fully trust him on getting superior performance.
Probably also how Linus Torvald operates.
4. The Networker –
This guy is a nice guy that taps into the whole poltiical network of the organization to undue what should never have been done. To reduce conflicts, inefficiencies, egos. He will have a bulldog under him. A guy that fights the fights for him and eradicates competition. Everybody knows about this relationship and sometimes this nice networker becomes a bulldog, too. Or his bulldog is killing for him.