Mark of a leader

They’re different from you and me. CEOs, that is. And researchers through the years have identified many different — and sometimes contrary — traits that contribute to their ascension.

5: Percent greater value of companies that are led by marathon runners, as compared to those helmed by nonrunning CEOs, according to a 2015 study of leaders by German academics.

1: Rank of “creativity” among the most crucial leadership qualities, according to a 2010 survey of leaders in 60 nations. Integrity ranked second.

6: Percent of CEOs who are also pilots in a survey of S&P 1500 leaders published in 2011. The outcome: “[sensation seeking] pilot CEOs engage in significantly more active M&A policies”.

7: Rank of CEOs among seven categories of senior management in emotional intelligence. “Once leaders get promoted,” notes Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, “they enter an environment that tends to erode their emotional intelligence.”

32: Percent of CEOs in a 2011 survey who identified “positive attitude” as a key characteristic of top leaders. Nine in 10 identified the ability to engage and empower employees.

43: Percent of CEOs who were first-born children in their families. A 2007 study found middle children accounted for 33% of leaders, while last-born offspring comprised 23% of CEOs.

313: Managers sampled in a 2005 study that names “learning agility” as the characteristic that correlates most directly to a CEO’s success.

2011: Year Jon Ronson wrote The Psychopath Test, which posits CEOs are four times as likely to be psychopaths as the general population. “First I thought this might just be psychologists feeling full of themselves,” said Ronson in a Forbes interview. “Then I met [former Sunbeam CEO] Al Dunlap.”

About the Author

Steve Brearton


Steve Brearton is a freelance writer in Toronto.

comments powered by Disqus

Highlights

Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary. We’re celebrating you, Canadian CPAs. Tell us why you’re proud to be a Canadian CPA. Then watch for our big celebration in July.

Gain practical organizational insights and learn from industry experts at this annual event for not-for-profit financial leaders.