A CEO’s Job: Being There

Gerry Grinstein, whose amazing, wide-ranging career includes stints as CEO of Delta Airlines and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, recently shared his views on great leadership with a downtown Seattle business audience. He listed the following as key traits of a CEO:

  • insightful
  • demonstrates integrity
  • intelligent
  • possesses good people skills
  • engenders among others a desire to follow to him/her

Responding to a question regarding a CEO’s role in a crisis, such as the recent landing of the U.S. Airways plane in the Hudson River, Grinstein said simply, “A CEO’s job is to be there.” His point: an effective leader must remember that everyone else is always watching his/her actions, which communicate more powerfully than words, and learning through the CEO’s actions what s/he really wants and means.

Your thoughts?

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