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Characteristics of a Chief Business Officer: 3 Must-Have Qualities

Posted by Scott Barron on Apr 8, 2016 12:44:32 PM
Scott Barron

As a Chief Business Officer, you are involved in managing the operations and administration of the entire school. Although every CBO is unique, the best CBOs typically share three key qualities: self-awareness, trustworthiness and agility. The more you capitalize on these qualities, the more successful you and your institution will be.



Self-awareness is essential for any leader. This enables you to more completely understand your own motivations for taking certain actions and understand how your actions will affect others.

To improve your self-awareness, consider taking some time to explore your own thoughts and feelings about the organization. What do you genuinely believe about the school? About the mission? About your contribution?

Think about the ideas that motivate you, your ultimate goals and your current style of leadership. Ask yourself why you have chosen this leadership style and whether it is as effective as it could be. If you feel that your leadership style could be improved in some way, brainstorm some steps you could take or some mentors who might help you.



In order to inspire loyalty and a sense of community within the school, Chief Business Officers must be trustworthy. Without this trust, members of the staff will be less willing to fully commit to the success of the institution or fully engage in their work. With this trust, however, you can be sure that every member of your team will do what they can to ensure that your institution reaches its goals.

In spite of its importance, trustworthiness is one of the most fragile qualities a leader possesses. Even a single questionable incident can damage your reputation and influence indefinitely. Once this trust is damaged, it can be very difficult to recover. For this reason, CBOs should be careful to protect the integrity of their relationships with each individual staff member, as well as their reputation as a whole.

To build and maintain trust:

  • - Keep policies simple. Don't try to impress or overwhelm with complex language.
  • - Be collaborative. Appropriately share information with the team, even if it may cause conflict or concern. It is better to deal with these issues head-on than to bury them and risk appearing secretive.
  • - Be honest. Recovering your reputation after getting caught in a lie is nearly impossible.



Chief Business Officers are faced with a wide variety of issues everyday. Since each challenge usually has its own people and issues involved, tailor your response to the specifics of each using an approach that effectively solves the problem. Unfortunately, too many leaders fall into a routine of using the same procedure to solve every problem. By being a better listener you are able to remain agile, approaching these situations with an open mind and an ambitious attitude.


Hone the three qualities above to be your best.


To learn more about improving on these qualities and becoming a more valuable asset to your school, check out our free infographic below.

CBO infographic

Topics: Consultative Business Officer

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