10 common sense principles of good leadership

Daniel Chapchal has learnt a few things from decades in business.

by Paul Simpson
Last Updated: 15 Jun 2020

In reality there is no hard and fast definition of what makes a successful business leader. It is often the result of years of experience in leading people and firms, combined with plenty of mistakes along the way. 

Turning 75 this month, Daniel Chapchal - CEO and deputy chairman of Camcon Medical, can attest to that.

During his decades as a serial entrepreneur Chapchal has launched, turned around and invested in companies spanning print, security solutions and healthcare. Here are his 10 rules for success as a CEO.

1. You don’t need any particular skill

Apart from being able to manage people.  

2. Be generous with success

Take the blame when things go wrong. Accept that sometimes you’ll make a mistake and reverse your decision.

3. Find great people

It’s easier to succeed with great people and poor products than with great products and poor people. Ideally you want both.

4. You need to delegate but not abdicate

Never pretend to understand aspects of the business that you don’t. You will be seen through immediately.

5. Be open to being convinced by your colleagues

But also know when you should not be convinced. Court respect but never popularity.

6. Always be fair

If you can’t, be seen to have made every effort to be fair, even in the most awkward situations.

7. Work with investors that you like

Everyone has a good relationship with investors at first but ask yourself: will you still like them when the business has a hiccup? 

8. Have patience

It is tempting to develop Mark II before you’ve done a proper job on Mark I. Doing that will only encourage investor fatigue.

9. Take care of yourself

As a CEO or chairman, you need something to help you switch off. For me, that’s classical music – I have 24,000 CDs in my collection.

10. A good CEO is like a good conductor – and a good showjumper

You need to know when to control and when to influence. You also need to recognise that, no matter how skilled a rider you are, it’s the horse that jumps the fence.

This piece first appeared in the March 2020 edition of Management Today magazine.

Image credit: Camcon Medical via Getty Images

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