Employee Appreciation: Strategies for CEOs

The Chief Executive Officer holds a special place in a company. A good CEO is a visionary, a workhorse, a fundraiser and a cat wrangler. CEOs do not report to anyone but the integrity of the organization. Mainly, our job is to manage and develop assets, of which our employees are the greatest. Maintaining and cultivating good workers for the company requires development of a positive work environment, good morale, and a safe workspace. This all begins with the CEO.

Remember The Important People

The bigger the company, the more distance between the lowest rung of worker and the CEO. It is easy to forget the people that keep the products flowing when we are embroiled in the stockholder stresses in our top floor office. Any head will die without the heart and these employees are the heart of the company. Remind them of that periodically with little tokens like gift baskets for the office, a surprise lunch, or a weekend picnic. When times get tough, make their security a priority. That is what software mogul and CEO of SAS did during the recession of 2009. He promised not to lay anyone off and he didn’t. This is one reason that his company has more than a third share of all of the analytic software market in the world.

Set Boundaries

As a CEO, you do not have peers, friends or colleagues. Before you can create a good relationship with your staff, you need to lay down some rules. A good CEO will be sensitive, caring and compassionate with staff because we are all human and deserve respect, but the privilege of discussing issues does not mean that you are bound to act on the suggestion.

Steve Jobs was known to be an amazing leader. He would take in information and tell others what to do with it. Though there was a flow of communication, in the end it was always a one-way dialogue, with the Apple kingpin calling the shots.

Be 'Good Crazy' Sometimes

In his article for Forbes Magazine, writer Jeff Bercovici makes the case that some psychopaths make great CEOs. There is a certain behavioral control, big-picture lack of empathy and obsessive drive that comes with the title of CEO. Former Sunbeam CEO and notorious hatchet man Albert “Chainsaw Al” Dunlap made his career as a semi-psychopathic downsizing expert. Terminating, restructuring, and redirecting a workforce is part of the CEO responsibility and if you do not have the ability to do this then you are in the wrong job. That being said, you do not need to be the psychopath all of the time. If you are willing to gut a company in the bad times then plan on doing the same level of promotion during the good times.

Talk Straight

As the CEO, you are a trust leader. The only thing that your company truly has is its reputation and you are its voice. Oprah Winfrey said that real integrity is doing the right thing even knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it. For the things that you chose to share, be honest with your staff. You would expect nothing less from them.