Future CEOs stand out from the crowd

Future CEOs can be recognised by their high energy levels, a desire to be in charge, and the ability to cut through complexity, a survey has found.

The Pulse on Leaders study of senior executives and CEOs by Personnel Decision International (PDI) found those traits, as well as a lack of passive-aggressive tendencies and knack for avoiding micro-managing, distinguish future CEOs from other leaders.

The survey reports that future CEOs demonstrate a higher ability to understand complex, ambiguous information by analysing and detecting systematic themes. Simon Callow, PDI’s managing director, said the high-potentials have a clarity of vision unmatched by their peers.

“CEOs need to be able to digest a great deal of information quickly and determine which elements indicate trends or themes that are important to the business,” said Callow. “They also need to thrive on hectic and demanding schedules and not depend on downtime to recharge.”

“But you have to want to be at the top to be a successful CEO – this is not a role you want to fall into accidentally,” he continued.

“The other crucial component for the top job is having experiences that are high risk with potential high return for the company, or experiences that are highly visible throughout the organisation. These types of experience prepare someone to take on the responsibilities of leading a company.”

More than 9,200 leaders (senior executives to first-level leaders) and 148 CEOs were polled to find out how CEOs are different from other leaders and what characteristics make them successful.

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