Overview of Role of Chief Executive

The chief executive officer is the most important role in the management of an organization. This topic in the library does not go into great detail about each of the particular systems and practices managed by the chief executive officer because those systems and practices are explained in depth across many of the other topics in this library. This library topic provides sufficient overview for the reader to gain basic perspective on the typical roles and responsibilities of the chief executive officer and how those responsibilities are typically met.

Sections of This Topic Include

Gaining Broad Perspective on Role of Chief Executive Officer

What is the "Chief Executive Officer"? (includes definition and major roles of position)
What Do Chief Executive Officers Do? (includes major functions and example job descriptions)

Core Areas of Knowledge and Skills Required by Chief Executive Officers

Basics in Management and Leadership
Planning
Organizing
Leading
Coordinating Activities/Resources (including performance management)

Special Topics

CEO Development
Evaluating the CEO
Transitioning to New CEO (detailed procedure, contracts, etc.)
Other Miscellaneous Topics (board relations, executive pay, etc.)

Founder's Syndrome

This syndrome occurs when the organization operates according to the personality of someone in the organization (usually the founder) rather than according to the mission of the organization. The Chief Executive Officer can make a big difference in helping an organization to detect Founder's Syndrome and recover from the Syndrome.
Founder's Syndrome -- How Organizations Suffer -- and Can Recover

Also see
Related Library Topics

Also See The Library's Blogs Related To the Role of Chief Executive

In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to the Role of Chief Executive. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

Library's Leadership Blog
Library's Supervision Blog


What is the "Chief Executive Officer"?

A "Definition"

The definition of "chief executive officer" (almost always) depends on whether a business is a corporation or not, that is, whether it (usually) has a board of directors or not. In an organization that has a board of directors, the "chief executive officer" is (usually) the singular organizational position that is primarily responsible to carry out the strategic plans and policies as established by the board of directors. In this case, the chief executive reports to the board of directors. In a form of business that is usually without a board of directors (sole proprietorship, partnership, etc.), the "chief executive officer" is (usually) the singular organizational position (other than partnerships, etc.) that sets the direction and oversees the operations of an organization.

Major Roles of the Position of Chief Executive Officer

The following link references the major roles carried out by the typical chief executive officer.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Chief Executive

Position Can Have Various Titles

This organizational position, whether in corporations or not, is also sometimes called the President, Executive Director, Chief Administrator, etc. Information in this topic will use the phrase "Chief Executive Officer".

What Do Chief Executive Officers Do?

Typical Responsibilities

The following link references a listing of the broad responsibilities of the typical position of chief executive officer.
Typical Responsibilities of Corporate Chief Executive Officer (nonprofit or for-profit)

Job Descriptions

The following links reference additional overviews of the general responsibilities of a chief executive, including listing of those responsibilities in job descriptions.

"Generic" Job Description

Roles and Responsibilities

Job Descriptions of Nonprofit CEOs

Thanks to Betsey M. Noble, Internet Research Librarian, Global Employment Solutions, Inc., for the following:
CEO Job Descriptions in Non-Profit Organizations
Clean AIR Force of Central Texas Executive Director
The CEO Role in Associations

Job Descriptions of For-Profit CEOs

The CEO Job Description
The CEO Job Description
What do CEOs do? A CEO Job Description

Core Areas of Knowledge and Skills Required by Chief Executive Officers

The chief executive officer is the overall, primary management and leadership role in the organization. Therefore, it's critical that chief executive officers have strong knowledge and skills in a wide variety of areas. However, there are certain basic areas of knowledge and skills which provide the foundation from which chief executive officers can add knowledge and skills customized to the particular nature of their organization, its industry (service, manufacturing, wholesale, etc.) and the current environment (political, social, economic and technological).

Basics in Management and Leadership

Managing Yourself
Basic, Entry-Level Skills in Organizational Management
Core Competencies for Leading
Boards of Directors

Planning

Business Planning (plan a new business organization, product, business department, etc.)
Strategic Planning (establish organizational goals and how to reach them)

Organizing

Human Resources Management
Organizing Staff
Organizing Various Types of Groups
Organizing a New Business (whether for-profit or nonprofit)
Guidelines to Reorganize a Current Organization

Leading

Leading Other Individuals
Leading Groups
Leading Organizations

Coordinating Activities and Resources (including performance management)

Ethics Management Systems
Finances (For-Profit) or
Finances (Nonprofit)
Fundraising (For-Profit) or
Fundraising (Nonprofit)
Employee Performance Management
Group Performance Management
Organizational Change Management
Organizational Performance Management
Policies and Procedures
Product/Service Management
Program Management
Marketing and Promotions and Public and Media Relations
Systems Thinking

Special Topics

CEO Development

Leadership Development Planning
Management Development
10 Key Challenges for CEOs
Seven Surprises for New CEOs

Evaluating the CEO (Typically Referred to as "Executive Director" if Nonprofits)

Guidelines for Evaluating the Chief Executive
Sample Form to Use During Evaluation of Chief Executive
Sample of a Board's Supervisory Skills Development Plan for CEO
The Dreaded E.D. Evaluation!
How Can I Get My Board to Evaluate Me?
Founder's Syndrome (when the top executive is a poor manager)
Time for the CEO or Executive Director's Annual Performance Review by the Board
Firing the Executive Director

Transitioning to New CEO (including use of contracts)

Hiring / Transitioning to a New Chief Executive
Succession Planning
Contracts for Nonprofit Executives
CEO Contracts
Meatloaf or Tartare?
Eight Toughest Transitions for Leaders
Learning's Place During CEO Transitions
Founder Transitions: Creating Good Endings and New Beginnings: A Guide for Executive Directors and Boards

Also see
Succession Planning

Other Miscellaneous Topics

Founder's Syndrome (when the top executive is ineffective manager)
CEO Education, CEO Turnover, and Firm Performance
The Branded Executive (branding of the CEO role is important)
Today's CEOs: Guarding Against Value Destroyers
Trends and Developments in Executive Compensation
Results of New Daring to Lead Study on Nonprofit Leadership – What a Board Should Know
Nine Keys for Reinvigorating Board Leadership
Executive Remuneration – A View from the UK


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For the Category of Leadership:

To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Related Library Topics

Recommended Books

There is an explosion of books about leadership. Some are about broad and general philosophies, paradigms, visions and values. Others are about more specific models and theories. Still, others are about even more specific tips and tools. Bibliographies of books on leadership span numerous pages. The books mentioned on these pages are a reasonable beginning. They are focused on books with both foundational principles and practical tips and tools.

Note that, although many perspectives on leadership are about leading other individuals and groups, there are other domains of leadership, including leading oneself and organizations. The books referenced from this page are in regard to all domains of leadership.



Leading For-Profits and Nonprofits

There is much more in common between leading a for-profit and nonprofit than many people might realize. Small nonprofits are a lot more like small for-profits, than large nonprofits. Similarly, large nonprofits are a lot more like large for-profits, than small nonprofits. Nonprofits often include leading volunteers. A section, later on below, provides more books about leading specifically in nonprofits.

Leadership and Supervision in Business - Book Cover Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision in Business
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC.
Includes step-by-step guidelines, tips and tools to effectively lead:
1. Yourself
2. Other individuals in the business
3. Groups and teams in the business
4. Business organizations
5. As well as all functions within the business organization.

Many of the Library's materials about business, leadership and management are adapted from this book. Just click on the title of the book above to see the Index and Table of Contents.

Leading Nonprofits

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.

Leadership and Supervision With Nonprofit Staff - Book Cover Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision With Nonprofit Staff
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC.
Includes step-by-step guidelines, tips and tools customized for personnel in nonprofits to effectively lead:
1. Yourself
2. Other individuals in the nonprofit
3. Groups and teams in the nonprofit
4. Nonprofit organizations
5. As well as all functions within the nonprofit organization.

Many of the Library's materials about nonprofit leadership and management are adapted from this book. Just click on the title of the book above to see the Index and Table of Contents.

Also see

For Leading Yourself
Personal Development -- Related Books

For Leading Other Individuals
Supervision -- Related Books

For Leading Teams
Facilitation and Teams -- Related Books

For Leading Organizations
Organizational Development -- Recommended Books

For Management
Management -- Recommended Books




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