CHAPTER 48The Four Traits That Set CEOs Apart from Other Managers: Strategic Thinking, Charisma, Intellectual/Social Skills, and Focus on Results

No one would want to claim that CEOs are better people. It is true, however, that they’re different from other people. Certain personal traits and skills help on the path from a first‐level manager toward the CEO position in a company. What are they?

Jonathan is excited. He’s currently being discussed as the possible CEO of a major, listed company. Initial meetings with the supervisory board went well. Now he must go through an assessment by a management consultancy company. The whole process lasts four hours and is based on a very structured questionnaire. Jonathan’s personality traits and his intellectual and social skills ought to be quite evident from the interview. If everything matches the company’s requirements profile, the appointment shouldn’t be a problem. So that would be the next step in his career, coupled with recognition, influence, and lots of money. Jonathan wonders how he should present himself in the best way during the interview: as a man of action, a strategist, a creative person, an intellectual? After a short period of reflection, he pushes such strategic thoughts to the side. Throughout his career, he did best when he behaved as authentically as possible, the way he actually is. That’s how he’ll do it again.

The selection of a CEO is an immensely important issue for any company because CEOs determine the course ...

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