How to Become a CEO – Degree, Skills, Traits and More

Mashum Mollah 8 March, 2021
how to become a CEO

Apart from the board of directors, the chief executive officer or the CEO is another top- and high-ranking member of any institution. In most companies or corporate settings, the CEO of a company is the highest-ranking official and one that calls the shots in any company no wonder so many people are looking for ways on how to be a CEO.

In fact, one of the roles played by any CEO in any company or business setting is making decisions some of which can have substantial impacts on the direction the company takes. Thus, a good CEO can contribute to the success of a company while that who is not can drown the same company altogether.

Being a chief executive officer education is a position that comes with greater responsibility and greater rewards in finances as well. In fact, one of the reasons why many people aspire to be CEO is because of the financial rewards this position has to offer at the end of the month of the year.


What Does a CEO Mean?

For anyone looking for ways on how to become a CEO, this is the right place to start from, you need to start by knowing what a CEO is before moving on to know what they do. Surprising as it might seem, we have so many people who know what a CEO is but do not know what a CEO means.

As such, any discussion that talks or looks at a CEO must always begin by looking at who a CEO is before moving on to the other things like what a CEO does among other factors. The good thing though is that the definition of a CEO is not that complicated.

A CEO is the highest-ranking official in any company. Being an abbreviation of a chief executive officer, a CEO is a person who makes or calls the shots in any company. His directions are what the company follows and any decisions affecting the company in any way have to be ratified by him or her.

All the managerial decisions in any company are made or arrived at by the CEO which is one thing you need to know if you are looking for ways on how to become a CEO. In any company, this is the person who wields absolute power and many people refer to them as Mr. or Mrs. boss. In some cases, the CEO of any company is the person responsible for firing and hiring some top officials of the company.

Becoming a CEO is a Gradual Process

Unless you want to start your company and become its CEO right away then you need to know that becoming one is not an easy process. In fact, this is one journey that comes with so many steps that you have to pass through and still maintain a high level of commitment and patience is well.

To put this right, becoming a CEO using conventional means is not a very easy task, in some cases, it might take you up to ten years to get to this level. Given how lucrative this position is and what it has to offer in terms of rewards, many people have found themselves researching how to become a CEO based on the qualities of a CEO.

Even though this is one possible achievement, there are so many routes that lead to this destination. Hence, there are no definite means that one can use to become a CEO, it is relative depending on so many things like the nature of the company, your attributes in relation to the qualifications of this position.

The Educational Qualities of Becoming a CEO

Working your way up from what you are to the highest level in a company to the position of a CEO is something that calls for so many things. First, you need to demonstrate a high-level perseverance talent as well as education.

In terms of education, there is so much that you need to enable you to ascend to this position. First, you need to have all the primary and secondary education no matter the kind of position you are looking for. After that, you need to have a degree in the relevant industry and a considerable amount of experience in the company as well.

Even though the education conditions might vary from one company to the other, the listed above conditions are essential in the ambition of one becoming a CEO. Having an education in your preferred industry might also be another added advantage that might help you secure this position.

Experience is a very important key.

Also, worth noting is the issue of experience, as you strive to become a CEO, it is only expected that you have so many years in the company worth of experience below your belt. Experience in areas that are similar to the roles you are expected to play might be another added advantage.

Thus, if you meet the above criteria and you have a considerable amount of experience then you are good to go. However, as it was said, the criteria for hiring a CEO might vary from one company to the other but some of these above-listed qualities in education and experience remain standard.   

How Does One Become a CEO?

How does one become a CEO

This question is based on the assumption that one has all the qualifications and is only awaiting becoming a CEO or looking for ways on how to become an executive. In such a case, there are various ways that one can use to aced to this position. First, in a company that has a proper board that is properly functioning, the mandate of any such board is to appoint the CEO.

In such a case, the company can pick a CEO either from within the company or the outside. The decision to appoint such a CEO is normally arrived at based on so many factors like the requirements for this position, the suitability of a person for the same position among many other things.

The search for a CEO in such cases is normally arrived at due to so many circumstances. One, it could be that the sitting CEO has vacated office due to reasons like firing, leaving the company on one’s consent, or even the death of the same person.

In case of any of the said circumstances, the board embarks on the role of looking for a suitable CEO that will help in driving the company in the right direction. The process of looking for a proper CEO might take time while a deputy or interim CEO takes charge of the company even as he looks for ways on how to become a CEO.

If not that, the board of a company might decide to promote the deputy CEO or any other high-ranking official in case the sitting CEO departs the company. Even though this happens seldomly, it is still one of the ways that one can use to become a CEO in a company and we require certain skills to get this job.

What Does a CEO Do?

what does a CEO do

Now that you know who a CEO is and how one can also become a CEO it is now time to look at some of the roles played by the CEO. By now you have a slight idea of what a CEO does judging from the description above and if you need to become you need to ask yourself do you have what it takes to become this person.

However, there are so many other roles that are still played by CEOs that some people do not know. These roles range from the daily roles played by CEOs in a company setting to the others that they play out of the company.

This segment of the discussion looks at some of the roles that these highest-ranking officials of the company play. If you are dreaming of becoming one then these are some of the roles you need to brace yourself for. Depending on the company you choose, these are the roles that you will have to play wherever you go.

Top Traits of a CEO

You might be forgiven to think that being a CEO is a position where you enjoy all the freedom and ability to do all the things you want to do in the way that you want. No, that is not the case, there are some personal traits that you need to have as a person for you to manage this position in a proper way.

As the topmost leader in the company, you reflect the image of the company all over, and as such, you are only expected to be your person at all times. To help you get some of these traits right, the segment below looks at some of the personal traits every CEO must have at all times.

Must-Have the Ability to Learn from the Past

Any CEO must demonstrate a high ability to learn from the past in terms of experiences and also be able to instill essential lessons for the future. As a CEO you are human and it is expected that you can make mistakes at some point in your line of duty.

However, much as this is the case or might even happen you are expected to learn from these mistakes fast as you can and prevent them from occurring in the future. As you do this, you will work your way up to becoming one of the best CEOs we have in the business.

1. Building and Sustaining Relationships

For you to be successful as a CEO you need to have the ability to build strong relationships with your clients and coworkers.  It is only with relationships that you will be able to establish lasting loyalty and also create the best image for your company.

2. Great Understanding

CEO have a great understanding

As a CEO or someone looking for a way on how to become a CEO, you need to have a very great understanding of matters that are not just in your workplace but outside of it as well. As a CEO, your employees also have their own lives out of work which you need to take note of and accord the greatest understanding.

In case of an emergency, you need to understand that and even offer them the kind of support they need even as they go through such a moment. There is also the other risk of making mistakes when working which is by far great and as a CEO you need to understand that also.

In short, these are some of the traits a CEO must exhibit at all times. Most of the touch on the issue of the profession will definitely help in ensuring that the CEO does not just discharge his mandate in the right way but also offers the best image of the company to the public.

Having looked at these traits, it is now important to take a look at what a CEO does in their daily lives. Below in this article, you will find some of the roles played by a CEO and what you need to prepare for as you consider taking up these chief executive jobs.

3. Daily Running of The Company

daily running of the company

Even though so much is known about chief executive jobs, very little is known about the roles they play in their places of work. The first role of any CEO is to make sure that his or her own company is running in the required way as per the set procedures.

This might seem like a very easy thing to do until you realize that companies are made up of so many departments that have to always run as it is supposed to be.

As the CEO of any company or someone that is looking for ways on how to become a CEO, you are required to coordinate all the functions of the company, getting in touch with your various managers, and making sure that progress in the company is achieved through these daily functions.

4. Envisioning

have a great vision

No matter how big a company might be, without a proper vision, it is destined for destruction. A proper and serious company must be able to sit with the use of its high-ranking officials including those that are looking for ways on how to become a CEO to try and look into the future to try and give an accurate picture of how things are likely to be in the coming days.

The larger part of this role lies with the CEO of the company who has to sit down and try to give an accurate picture of the company in the days to come. In this regard, the CEO bears the role of trying to come up with an accurate vision of the company.

From this vision, the company will make strategic plans and some decisions that go into making sure that the company is run in a proper way. Getting this whole process wrong can lead to some tough times with the company with greater financial losses as well.

Thus, it is important that a CEO envisions things in a proper way for proper progress to be realized. If need be, the CEO might bring on board some consultants that can help him or she come up with a correct picture in this regard.

5. Lead by Examples

CEO leads by example

Walking the talk, they say, becoming an executive of any company, you are expected to lead by example in all aspects of management. When it comes to leading by example, the CEO is supposed to lead while others follow, from getting to work on time to dressing, it is the role of the CEO to make sure that he or she sets a precedent that can be emulated by everyone.

This might seem like a very easy task to carry out unless you try it out. At all times you are expected to be at your level best making sure that you lead your other colleagues by example. If you fail in your mandate then it will be harder for you to lead other people in your company.

6. Helping in Solving Company Problems

expert in solving problems

One thing about companies is that problems will always come out no matter how much you try to avoid them. In fact, any company that is not faced with any problems is definitely not on the right track. Problems will always come in business and whether the business progresses even with these problems depends on how well the business or company is able to deal with these challenges when they occur.

Finding proper and timely solutions to the problems faced by companies could just be all that it takes to keep a business up high. As a person looking on how to become a CEO therefore you will bear the role of making sure that they find timely solutions to any problems that companies go through.

Facing and navigating through any problems requires the proper use of knowledge and experience as well. This is why well-experienced CEOs provide solutions to any problems that come in the way of their management while those that are not well experienced fail to offer any proper solutions.

7. Briefing The Board on Essential Matters of The Company

briefing company issues

As a person trusted with the role of leading a company you are going to find yourself being answerable to your higher-ups who include famous entrepreneurs. The case is the same with people trusted with companies in the capacity of CEOs.

As this person, you are expected to brief the board on so many issues regarding the progress of the company and other things and matters of interest to the company’s superiors and shareholders.

It is in such meetings that company leaders are held to account for so many things like performance and many others. This is some cases is always the hardest part of the life of any CEO, it can be so tricky especially if the company has not been doing well in recent years.

8. Appointing Other Company Leaders Like Managers

No matter how good you might be as a CEO, you will always need the best managers to work with you and help you manage your company in the right way. As a CEO, you bear the responsibility of appointing and also firing some of the managers in the company based on their performance and other issues as well.

As a CEO, it is very important that you carefully select the best managers that together with you will see the birth of a very strong management team that will deliver success to a company. The greatest catch in all this is the issue of appointment where the CEO appoints these managers to take on essential and fundamental company roles.

How Long Does It Take to Become a CEO?

How long does it take to become a CEO? This is a question that you need to ask if you are looking for ways on how to become a CEO. There is no definite answer as the time that one takes to become a CEO is dependent on so many things. However, for the people that intend to work their way up to this rank, this might take time, depending on your entry-level into the company.

In some cases, just in case you want to know, this might take time going up to ten years in some cases. Experience is normally one factor that forms the basis of any selection of this kind. The people carrying out the selection process always try much as they can to make sure they get the best-suited person to this job who will drive the company in the right direction.


There is so much to CEOs in companies that can be discussed depending on what you need to know. From the article above, there are some essential aspects about CEOs like who they are, what they do, and how to become a CEO. If you are considering becoming one, good luck, but you need to know that there is quite a task ahead of you, you should become one.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is a tech entrepreneur by profession and passionate blogger by heart. He is on a mission to help small businesses grow online. He shares his journey, insights, and experiences in this blog. If you are an entrepreneur, digital marketing professional, or simply an info-holic, then this blog is for you.

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