It's quite simple - unfortunately, there are many critics, books, and know-it-all's out there trying to 'complexify' (my word) the basic responsibilities of a CEO or C-Level executive. It really comes down to three skills:
1. Motivate Your Team This is the most important skill - everyone goes to work, but it's how you manage their expectations, keep them focused, and acknowledge them for their efforts that win the game. This is not a one management-style fits all - you need to directly motivate each direct report on your team AND teach them how they can directly motivate the direct reports on their team. By doing this, motivation will be viral and very successful.
Find out what energizes them - HOW? - Ask them. What do they like to work on? What areas challenge them? What areas do they hate working on? - Help them streamline, delegate, and retire those areas.
2. Communicate & Inform This is the day-to-day stuff and candidly, most executives fail at this skill. Many either forget to communicate/inform or they actually manage by not delivering information - it sounds a little comical - but it's true. It's call management by holding back information.
All you have to do is communicate clearly and ensure that the person or team that you're communicating to not only listens, but they understand your vision, goals, direction or tactics. In addition, you need to inform on a regular basis - keep the team up to date on what's happening and tell them immediately, not after the fact.
More information and increased communication delivers a happy and healthy team.
3. Help Them Get Rid Of Obstacles Finally, your job is to help your people recognize, understand, and bypass regular obstacles that get in their way.
But here's the kicker - you don't do it for them - have them come with possible solutions to the problem, you both discuss it, and they walk away with a strategy to solve their own problems. That is the only way they grow as an executive and you get back much needed time to focus on more important matters.
That's it. If you keep to these three rules, you will find that your life as a C-Level executive will be ever so much easier and more fulfilling. Try it!