Secrets to being a good CEO

17:00, May 17 2014
Mark Franklin
MARK FRANKLIN: Says CEOs get better with experience.

Hands up who likes their boss. Okay, hands up who thinks they'd make a better boss than the one they've got. All right, now hands up those who think they know what it takes to be a good boss.

Let me help out a little. Mark Franklin, CEO of family-owned Stevenson Group, talked about leadership, legacy and continuity, at last Wednesday's inaugural CEO Summit, organised by Fairfax Media and Conferenz.

Prior to his current role with the family-owned Auckland company, Franklin was CEO with carbon registry TZI and lines company Vector.

Based on his years of experience being the boss - including the last four years at Auckland-based Stevensons, Franklin talked about what it takes to be an effective CEO.

He said "the thing about being a CEO is you get better as you go".

Being a CEO is about being a leader and leadership is about challenging what exists in an organisation rather than being satisfied with the status quo, he said.


The worst CEOs are heady with their power and lack respect for those working for them, he said. "Some people just don't have good manners. Their mothers haven't taught them how to treat people properly."

Here's his take on the skills, traits and abilities good CEOs should and do have.

Four skills a CEO needs 1 Self-awareness of the impact they have on people and the impact people have on them.

2 Self-management - which comes down to time management and making decisions in a timely way.

3 Situational awareness - know what's going on around you and what you need to do. A CEO needs to have good timing.

4 Relationship management - this comes down to being a unifying force in your company.

Four traits a CEO needs


Technical competence - in something but not necessarily everything.

Practicality - can talk to people at all levels including the difficult ones.

Normality - just being a normal human being who acts normally.

Five things successful leaders have in common:

Can articulate their vision.

Have a commitment to achievement.

Have desire.

Have courage.

Are risk-takers.

Sunday Star Times