Are you equipped to be a leader today? These insights could help you up your game.
According to DDI’s new global study of 15,000 executives in 18 countries, there are certain personality traits and attributes that make it more and less likely that a person will succeed in a 21st century business world leadership role.
The warp speed of business has hastened the pace of leaders being thrust into roles of increasing scope and responsibility whether they are ready or not. As the cost of failure increases, predicting who can navigate these transitions demands an evaluation of personality factors that influence how leaders will respond to vastly greater challenge, pressure, and visibility.
One interesting section of the DDI report looks at hard-to-develop, positive traits (enablers) that grease leader success, and dysfunctional traits (derailers) that tend to trip them up. DDI examined these across three leader levels – strategic executive, operational, and mid-level. At each successive level, enablers were: exhibit stronger ambition and resilience and interpersonal sensitivity. Although the highest ranking executives are generally less vulnerable to them, the list of derailers was a bit longer:
Leaders who are successful enough to be considered for a CEO position are unlike other high-performers. In order to learn how CEO candidates are unique in their response to leadership challenges and if their personal attributes set them apart, DDI also profiled 243 CEO finalists, in 48 organizations, and benchmarked them against its larger database.
What CEO Candidates Do to Excel
How CEO Candidates Are Wired
Where CEO Candidates Struggle
My Two Cents
Although the study doesn’t necessarily say this, I’d add that successful CEO candidates go a step beyond confident. Some people portray confidence, but they are actually practicing “fake it ‘till you make it.” Many CEOs, however, genuinely believe they are the best. They perceive themselves as being highly qualified and a great catch for any organization. This naturally high opinion of themselves leads to some of the other traits mentioned in the research, such as emotional resilience and attention-seeking. And, it’s difficult to be inspirational when you’re focused internally.
I believe that effective CEOs can be creative and pragmatic, by the way. Perhaps this result is simply telling us that the best CEOs aren’t exceptional or “off the charts” at both.
These findings, for the most part, ring true for every senior leader with whom I’ve ever worked. If they are accurate, then I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. What about you? (Comments are in the social sharing bar to the left).