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Business / Career

The Most Underrated Leadership Positions

by Jennifer Dillon | September 14 2019

boss cfo ceo cmo

Some kids dream of becoming a CEO when they grow up — though they may not know that those letters stand for Chief Executive Officer. Why is this? Perhaps it’s the idea of central leadership, being the one person everyone looks to. Or perhaps it’s the glory of having that title, being respected as someone who has earned the highest role. Regardless, it’s not just kids that think in simple terms like these — many adults love the idea of being a CEO. However, there are plenty of other high ranking positions out there, such as Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), plus more.

So, what do these positions entail? Well, that’s what we’re going to run through today.

Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)

The CHRO is also sometimes called a Chief People Officer (CPO). This role oversees human resources management, and takes ownership of the organizational strategy of their organization. Unfortunately this position isn’t as coveted a role as it should be. Based on interviews done by Harvard Business Review, the misconception is that someone won’t be impactful in this role, compared to another role, or that he or she needs a certain certification or background to be successful. However, many business leaders who got their start in business development or finance have found their place in the CHRO or CPO role. It’s a good fit if you enjoy organizational management, personal relations, or hiring.

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

The CMO position is another that doesn’t get enough love. This role oversees the marketing functions of a company, and this can vary quite a bit from organization to organization. According to LeadMD, someone in this role should be comfortable with public speaking, excited about innovation, and have a background in data analysis. Unlike the CHRO position, the CMO role is one where you should have a solid career in marketing before taking on leadership. You should have a strong grasp of the types of marketing operations that you’ll need to manage. So study up!

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Last but certainly not least: the CFO. This person manages the financial operations of a company or organization, so says Investopedia. Someone in this role is tasked with looking forward and backwards — they have to analyze and report on what happened with the financials, and then chart out what they expect into the future. These numbers play a huge role in decision-making for the rest of the company, so it can be a thrilling and fulfilling position. You’ll want a background in financial analysis or accounting if you’re aiming for this job. Certainly, a CPA certification cannot hurt.

Plus plenty of others…

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are plenty more C-blank-O roles out there, as well as plenty of other leadership positions with wholly unique titles. You should think critically about the type of role that would give you fulfillment — maybe that’s not a leadership position at all! At the end of the day, you shouldn’t just chase the title. Cheers.

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