Close this search box.

Role-Based Leadership Also Matters! The Leadership Domain Needs to Expand Beyond the CEO



By Tariq Chauhan, Group CEO of EFS Facilities Services Group


Every business leader need not necessarily have their only designation of a CEO. It is a common sight in companies with senior management jostling with a do-or-die zeal to get this slot. People must know that the CEO’s role requires a specific set of leadership skills that may not be commensurate with the attributes of everyone.

However, this does not mean that leadership is only a monopoly of the CEO’s domain. There are multiple leadership roles in a corporate structure, each requiring a definitive set of leadership traits. I believe the CEO requires specific personality characteristics, where there is much more than intent and ambition. One needs to rise above, clearly mapping aspirations with efforts with a conscious approach to self-development. Self-reflection, perseverance and relentlessness are essential elements in this pursuit.

It is not a must for every business leader to have the qualities that the role of CEO demands, as their strengths may complement another leadership role. Such executives in c-suite leadership can always fit into other leadership roles. Most of them tend to perform better when they align their career aspirations in line with their intrinsic strengths than just a microscopic goal.

I firmly believe that leadership needs to expand beyond the CEO domain and be made available to many, not just one or few. In a C-suite quadrant, there are always role-based leaders who naturally prosper in those specific roles based on their leadership skills.

In every C-suite top tier, there can be many CEO aspirants. However, this does not mean that the entire leadership structure goes into a mad frenzy to seek this role. They must self-reflect on their inherent strengths by which they can do much better in other functions. Indeed, they can always work on self-development to sharpen their skill sets. One can always go through a process of evolution and transformation and transcend to new roles. There are horizontal and lateral roles in every corporate structure; many are a natural fit for people with specific leadership skills.

One must understand that people with essential leadership qualities naturally reach the leadership quadrant, and some with higher skillset land more promising positions. For instance, the COO, CFO, CXO, CTO, and CPO occupy the top leadership in the corporate organization. What’s expected from them is specific role-based leadership qualities, not necessarily that of the CEO.

In this discussion, I do not mean to state that c suite cannot step into the CEO role or that others cannot. Every CFO, CXO, and CTO can be an effective CEO, but only some CEOs with these backgrounds can succeed unless one has the relevant skill set required for the CEO role. Herein the Peter Principal applies. The aptitude must fit the role. However, people do evolve, and given the dynamic business ecosystem, professionals grow, and each can transform themselves to take on the mettle of CEO. Often the role fixation is also due to the perceived aura of power, compensation and attached perks.

However, any c-suite member in this pursuit must ensure that their goal is duly backed by a firm resolve to transform themselves to provide relevant skills to deliver the desired impact.

To summarise my leadership, it is the art of mobilizing a team and people with a common purpose and shared goal in an ethical manner. To put it plainly, business leadership is not a monopoly of the CEO’s domain, as there are various leadership roles in a corporate setting that require a distinctive set of leadership traits. This takes the form of role-based leadership, which calls for specific qualities and unique skill sets.

Therefore, while the CEO’s role requires a few particular characteristics and qualities, every business leader doesn’t need to have those qualities. Every C-suite executive with the right leadership skills can naturally fit into the right role. To be successful, executives must have the right attitude and attributes, and they should use their positions to propel themselves forward. By developing their leadership skills, they can become more effective leaders, no matter their role.


Source: Work Life Mantras

Scroll to Top