COO Core Competencies, Characteristics, & Responsibilites

A chief operations officer (COO) serves as one of the top-ranking officials in any organization and is in charge of the daily operations and management of the company. Typically second in command, they advise the CEO and other board members of key decisions and new initiatives to keep the company running smoothly. Given this, COOs must be intuitive and charismatic leaders prepared to face any challenges that may arise.

For more insight on what COO core competencies entail, make sure to continue reading.

Top COO Competencies, Characteristics, & Responsibilities

1. Charismatic

COOs should always be a “people person.” As an officer responsible for overseeing daily operations and people management, they should be able to communicate effectively with their teams and motivate employees during rough times. Their ability to have a likable, charismatic personality largely contributes to any COOs success in their role.

2. Intuitive

Can your COO advise your company on tough decisions? A exceptional COO should be able to make calls on new ventures, large changes, and all other company decisions. They need to be able to make calculated risks and trust their gut instinct. While this is a character trait to look for in a candidate, it’s also crucial to the success of any company.

3. Strength

COOs will be praised during a company’s successful periods, but also be held responsible during tough times. These officers need to be able to handle criticism and make stressful decisions that can sometimes make or break a company. A COO should be able to make good judgment calls and manage criticism from the public if there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

4. Flexibility

Can your COO adapt to changing times? Many once successful businesses have failed due to industry changes and obsoletion. Your COO needs to be able to adapt to any situations that arise in the present and the future. Whether this is a change a management style or delving into a new venture, the COO needs to be ready to facilitate change in order to survive.

5. Humility

Companies want leaders, not bosses. Having a COO that demonstrates boastful or arrogant personality traits can be a major turn off to both fellow employees and shareholders. A COO should be able to confidently lead without alienating their team. They should also be able to accept criticism and feedback without hesitation. This is one of our underrated favorites when it comes to COO core competencies.

6. Integrity

A responsible COO needs to always make decisions with the company and its people in mind. Leaders need to be honest people that their employees can trust. Without this core competency, they will fail to successfully lead if those around them fail to trust their opinions.


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