In today’s unpredictable business world, there’s more to being an executive than having a proven track record. According to a survey of 800 executives, “78% stated that a person’s track record is actually a poor indicator of future success, while 87% believe that personal traits explain the difference in performance between good and great.” With companies looking to more creative ways to develop and retain executives, they’re looking for more than just past performance. So what traits are considered valuable? Here are some of the top traits executives say they are seeking in future executives.
Strong Communication Skills
Any true leader needs to have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively. A CEO must have the ability to communicate needs, timelines, delegate responsibilities, and indicate how they want things done. A Navalent study reported that “top executives … effectively translate their view of business potential and challenges, as well as expectations for action using succinct, direct, and readily understandable language in doses that are easily digestible.”
Relationship Building Skills
Having the skills to build positive relationships with clients is essential. It can help earn both you and the company a positive reputation. Positive relationships in the business community can give you some free word-of-mouth advertising, and who doesn’t like that?
Also, even if CEOs are distanced from the people most directly involved in the day-to-day business of the company, doesn’t mean they don’t need to keep their finger on the pulse of company culture. CEOs need to be able to build relationships with employees to ensure trust and buy-in.
Decisiveness & Calculated Risk
The ability to make well-informed decisions based on feedback and open dialogues with stakeholders is vital to a CEO’s success. Good CEOs listen to varying points of view and can make tough decisions. Based on the Navalent survey, “top executives are distinguished by the consistency with which they listen to, and actively seek out the ideas and opinions of others. They incorporate other views into their plans to solve organizational problems.”
Another part of being decisive is being willing to take calculated risks. Taking risks can lead to new opportunities and demonstrates confidence. Good CEOs learn from mistakes and grow as leaders. Success is never guaranteed, and strong CEOs are willing to take risks and make decisions that must be made.
Anticipate, Navigate, and Embrace Challenges
The best CEOs can foresee and prepare for future challenges. They see obstacles as opportunities for growth. They have the skills needed to deftly navigate uncharted waters and right the ship when it has gotten off course.
So while personality traits aren’t everything, they definitely factor into CEO hiring decisions. Having these key traits can be the difference between a good and a great CEO. So, do you have what it takes?