Everyone has their fair share of bad habits.
However, as a company leader your persona can get (and will get) scrutinized under the microscope more often than you wish. The way you act. The way you dress and the way you carry yourself on a day-to-day basis can largely impact your entire business.
According to a recent research conducted by KRW Research Institute, companies with "strong character" CEOs demonstrate five times higher return on assets, lower levels of corporate risk and 24% higher overall employee engagement rates.
McKinsey consulting has also highlighted that when a CEO embarks on a personal transformation journey, then process usually leads to positive shifts in the employee behavior. After all, you are a role model and project respective mindset and behavior on your team.
Don’t want to be nicknamed as the enfant terrible behind your back and lose your professional face among the elders and peers?
Following these simple etiquette rules from 13 business leaders may prove game-changing for your business.
1. Be intentional about meetings
“First, question why you're in the meeting in the first place. Stick to meetings that warrant your full attention and require active dialogue. Next, consider the positive affect actively listening has on the environment. Some millennial executives are able to naturally demonstrate this, but most have to work on it. To quote the great Simon Sinek, "everything you want, you can get instant gratification (today), except job satisfaction and strength of relationships. They are slow, meandering, uncomfortable, messy processes". Talented employees need to feel like their voice is heard, and they should expect to have their ideas challenged. Meetings like that create a dynamic work environment where employees grow & stick around. They feel like they're a part of something.” - Bill King, Head of Digital Marketing at Avid Xchange.
2. Dress for the occasion
“Gone are the days of required formal wear at the innovative business communities. Yet, entering your office or a smart networking even in a pair of cozy PJs won’t help you cast an image of a “creative thinker”. You will rather appear plainly ridiculous. People still judge you before you open your mouth. And you may not get a chance to do so if you look highly inappropriate. No need to rush buying expensive suits, though. Just make sure your shirt is well ironed, your shoes look good and your jeans don’t have too prominent holes even if it’s now fashionable.” – Sherwin Arzani, Founding Partner at Citywide Law Group.
3. Always be punctual
“Yes, you are the big boss and have some important chores to handle. But no, that does not entitle you to turn into a diva and make everyone wait for you all the time. Also, being late means missed opportunities. Other CEOs or top VCs you may want to connect with will not wait for your late appearance. Be a pioneer. Show up the first and grab the best deals from the table.” - James Haynes, CTO of Luxury Link.
4. Project confidence, not arrogance
“There is a thin line between sounding self-confident and being disrespectful. Don't push yourself too hard when you want to impress someone. Demonstrate enthusiasm, display proudness of your work and your team, but don't act as if you are the richest/smartest/prettiest person in the room. Arrogance won't win you any friends or influence. If you don’t know the answer to the question, don’t pretend to be an expert. It’s okay to say you have not dealt with this before, feel uncertain about the subject or didn’t look into the matter specifically. Such behavior will encourage the speaker to share their ideas and maybe teach you a useful thing or two.” - Michael F. Bardwil, Founder of TX Vein.
5. Ditch texts/emails in favor of phone calls
“Texting and emailing is fun and convenient. But you won’t get funded or secure a new lucrative partnership by sending a string of emojis to another business owner (at least not every time). Sometimes you got to pick up that phone and make the call while sounding confident, friendly and mildly persistent. Chats, texts, and social media updates will not help you make big wins. But calling can.” – Curtis Quay, Founder of Injury Trial Lawyers, APC.
6. Listen more than you talk
“If you want to build rapport with anyone – from your team to mentors or other business owners – you need to show genuine interests in what they have to say. That starts with keeping it quiet for a moment and devoting your entire attention to them.” Paul Granger, CEO of Website Promoter.
7. Project a positive social media image
“You never know who’s reading you online. Those vanity numbers may actually be your customers, potential investors or partners. What kind of image does your social profile project? Are you a young, smart and trustworthy entrepreneur or some whining and lost amateur sharing cat pics and rants? Avoid going into all-too-personal musings online, public bashing and controversial discussions. That won’t make you look good.” - Carl Redding, CEO Jrop.
8. Do your homework before each networking event
“Don’t treat a professional networking event like a party where you just come, grab a drink and say that your name is Jeff and you code apps. Make sure you have at least some general ideas about the attending crowd. Next, research the keynote speakers/guests and think of the ways you could possibly connect with them. Pre-connecting with others on Twitter or LinkedIn is fine. However, it shouldn’t look as if you are stalking an influencer or demanding for exclusive attention before they even got to know you. Connecting on social media and attending the same event does not make you instant buddies.” - Antoine Tardif, Traveling Life.
9. Connect with people and build your network
“You want to always be ‘on the offense’. In person networking is a bit of a numbers game. You won’t get far if you wait for people to approach you. Instead, hit up as many people as you can.
Polish up and practice your elevator pitch – that one-minute intro speech you’ll give to anyone you approach. Make sure your business cards are up to date and are inside your pocket before you leave.” - Jonathan Marshall, Partner at New Jersey DUI Lawyer.
10. Respond to communications promptly and in the same medium you received them
“First, try to understand the person you are speaking to – their age, background, and style. Use the appropriate greeting and titles in your replies. Do spell check everything you write and don't use abbreviations in emails. If someone left a voicemail asking you to call back, don't email or text instead. In fact, using texts as your primary communication method may be frowned upon by a lot of people.” - Vikram Chari, CEO of Smart Owner.
11. Mind what you share on social media
“Don’t post content you may later regret about, like that stupid picture from an office party where you are wearing a unicorn costume and binge drinking margaritas. There’s a fine line between sharing your personality online and acting authentic versus treating your social media like a personal diary to spill your soul each and every day.” - Dave Wright, CEO of Opti-Nutra (maker of Mind Lab Pro).
12. Cold calling still works wonder
“Today, email and social media is frequently used to slowly connect and develop relationships. That’s great, but don’t underestimate its value as a means for cold calling. There are times when the best way to network is to simply cut through the clutter and message someone directly.” – John Brown, CEO of Pretty Motors.
13. Show your human side on social media
Be vulnerable, show your human side online rather than simply promoting your brands or speaking about industry related topics alone. Look at people who really drive massive engagement on social media. Not only do they give insights into their beliefs and personalities, they demonstrate their passion and high-energy worldview. That’s the secret to rocking on social media.” - Craig Wilson, CEO of Business Line of Credit Hub.