What is a CEO and what it's like to be One

The CEO or the chief executive officer of the company is the highest-ranking officer of the organization. He or she is the ultimate decision maker, the director, and the figurehead of the company. In smaller organizations, the CEO often fills the role of president, CFO, and even the chair of the board. The CEO is also often the founder or owner of the company.

The primary responsibilities of a CEO include planning, forecasting, leading, directing, and ensuring the efficient use of the company’s resources.

Given the heavy role and extensive responsibilities, the position requires wide-ranging experience in leadership, top management skills, and a strong decisive character.

With the daunting list of responsibilities and professional qualifications of a CEO, why does everybody strive to land the position? Is it the prestige? The accolades that come with the position? Is it the hefty paycheck?

Or is it the challenge that’s attracting people to take on the toughest job in the organization?

Being CEO is not a walk in the park. It means working long after work hours. It means keeping your cool when confronting the most frustrating situations. It means gritting your teeth while making decisions that could cost the livelihood of your employees and the life savings of your investors, never mind your own failure and ruin.

That corner office and being the company’s CEO comes with sacrifices too. The job can take you away from your family, your hobbies, and guiltless enjoyment of a lazy weekend. You might have to choose between missing your daughter’s ballet recital and a client meeting. Between disappointing your child and missing out key business opportunities.

Being on the top of the ladder is lonely. You can be friendly with your employees so that they are comfortable around you, but not too friendly as you still must maintain the integrity of your position. You can listen to recommendations and suggestions, but you alone make decisions. You are responsible for the livelihood of your employees, the safety of your investors’ money, and the growth of the company. You are responsible for your motivation and productivity. Your success is the success of everybody, your failure is yours alone.

Everybody wants to be the CEO. But, the coveted position is not for everyone. It is only for the brave, the tenacious, the visionary, and the determined. The position is only for people who are not afraid of hard work, of taking risks, of endless learning, and of making sacrifices. Someone who can inspire, lead, and be able to handle the pressure from all sides.

Do you still want to be the CEO?

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