Focus: People Management - Coaching session with Stephen Bubb

Q: What are the eight habits of a highly effective third sector chief executive?

1. Be brave and be bold

A chief executive role can be a lonely one. You get grief from your chair, hassle from your staff and you have to keep smiling. Believe me, the more successful you are, the more back-stabbing and bitchiness you will attract - people are envious of success and love to criticise achievers.

You cannot lead from behind. To be successful you'll need to grab opportunities and take risks. It's about 'tipping-point leadership'. You will need to determine what that tipping point is and go for it. Being bold when all about you are cringing is what chief executives do.

2. Follow your instinct

You have experience and skill. If your instinct is telling you to go a particular route, while your staff may be pushing somewhere else, follow your instinct. You'll usually be right. Read Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink.

3. Network

If you're sitting in your office all day you are not doing your job. You are the face of the organisation; you need to network. Promote your organisation, develop contacts. Grab ideas, be seen, be known.

4. Hire talent

For goodness sake, don't let the process merchants stop you hiring brains and talent.

You need superb operational people and stunning intellect. You're not running a public sector bureaucracy. You gain the edge through brilliant people and making sure you develop them. It goes without saying that you must sack the incompetent.

5. Love your chair

All right, so you're brilliant - but your chair thinks you're a prat.

It probably means you're going to lose your job, so put time and effort into binding yourself to your chair. And being nice to trustees generally pays off, too.

6. Make money

The final accounts come in: if you've got a big deficit, you'll probably be out of a job and your organisation won't be sustainable. Keep an eye on the pennies and grab any opportunities to get more resources.

7. Keep your humour and health

Too many receptions, too much food and drink, no exercise: a coronary beckons. You'll never cope with the stresses if you don't keep your sense of humour. The job may well be absorbing, but you need to continue to develop. So don't neglect opportunities for life outside work. Whether it's a non-executive directorship, bell-ringing or claret-drinking, remember your humanity.

8. Deliver

You're in charge of delivering for your organisation, developing it, loving it and promoting it to the world. That's your job. Do it.

- Stephen Bubb is chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (Acevo).

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