5 internal people every CEO needs

by Ana Lopez

Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.

Every leader knows the phrase, “It’s lonely at the top.” It is true that leaders often experience loneliness. Often they are the only ones who know everything about every person and situation in the company.

If a leader has no one to share his personal problems or triumphs with, it can drain his energy and lead him to make bad decisions. They have no one to expand their thinking, to share their ideas with, or from whom to get insights and inspiration.

No leader should ever stand alone in their struggles and decisions. Leadership is about having a team of people to provide help and support during the tough times of the hour. Here are five internal people every CEO needs on their team:

1. An excellent executive assistant

An important person that a leader needs on his team is an effective executive assistant. Executive assistants assist executives by supporting the CEO with critical duties and responsibilities and by acting as an information extension for the organization’s leader. Trust and effective communication are essential characteristics of this person on the team.

Many business owners may be tempted to forego hiring an executive assistant because they prefer to put those resources into other areas of the business. However, when the leader produces, the organization produces. The executive assistant enables the leader to be more effective and productive.

Related: 5 tips for building a strong leadership team

2. A skilled and prepared second-in-command

A powerful advantage of having a second-in-command is that they can take over the reins when needed. Most leaders naturally have a deep drive to create a better company, but are often frustrated by a lack of time, people or resources to realize their plans. A second-in-command or operations officer can help bring continuity to operations and insight into many parts of the organization.

The leader must find responsible people who help them consciously think about the next steps of the organization. When leaders have people they trust to make decisions and lead well, the top leader can spend their time working on the business and not just the business.

3. A person with strategic numbers

Every CEO needs someone close to them who understands and can interpret numbers. Numbers don’t lie, and numbers tell a story. Many business owners and CEOs are not gifted with the ability to know and understand the truths or story that the organization’s numbers tell. Every CEO should focus on a few key numbers in the organization.

Many companies struggle to make and maintain profits. A person with strategic numbers helps the CEO manage key metrics and helps the leader make wise decisions that will ultimately make the company more profitable.

Related: Why Entrepreneurs Should Choose Insights Over Instincts

4. An operations and process expert

Every company has processes. The growing company will have a clear understanding of the critical processes that will make them successful. These critical processes can include processes around payroll, customer and team member onboarding and offboarding, and procurement systems.

One way to grow the organization’s processes and systems is to add an operations expert to your team. This person can act as general manager or operations manager. Their primary job is to examine how things get done and to improve efficiency throughout the organization.

5. A highly emotionally intelligent people person

In business, it’s always about the people. People will propel your organization or consistently bring it down. Working with people is difficult because people are often not an end product. People need to be trained, developed and invested to reach their peak performance. Having someone in the CEO’s circle who has an eye for bringing out the best in people will be a key to achieving the company principle of “improve your team to improve your organization”.

The people person will have a high emotional equivalent and be able to see multiple sides of a problem. People in life face a multitude of problems. Often these issues can be brought to the workplace and good people can be left to underperform without someone to help them overcome their problems and improve themselves and their personal performance.

As companies grow, they will often develop an HR department. As the CEO continues to grow their team, they should consider having a people person close to them to help them determine who to trust, how to handle difficult staffing issues, and what human resources policies will be needed to build a robust team culture.

Your team can make you better

The CEO team is critical to the success of the leader and the organization he leads. Many business owners understand the value of their team in relation to their business, but can fail to build a personal team around them to help them achieve breakthroughs, expose blind spots, and grapple with day-to-day decisions, both professional and personal .

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