Main Traits Of Successful CEOs

Successful CEO’s have common traits that help them improve their organizations in ways that lead to increases in shareholder value. CEOs maintain stable personality traits that influence how they see the world and overcome challenges.

Strategic actions are based in CEO personality and impact the financial performance of the firm through their strategic decision making and pointed actions. Knowing which traits to look for when selecting CEO’s can have an impact on the long-term performance of the firm.

Best Traits Of Successful CEOs

Analytic Entrepreneurs

CEO’s should be willing to take calculated risks and have intuitive prospecting mindset that consistently seeks out new opportunities. These opportunities might be new product lines or enhancing existing lines. Any reasonable opportunity should be investigated, analyzed and when beneficial, implemented. They should be “ideas” people that leave the longer health of their companies in a stronger position.


When it comes to the goals and mission of a business, the CEO of tomorrow will bring the entire team into the bigger conversation. “Employees must feel the values of, and have line of sight and involvement in, the vision of the company,” says Beth Thomas, executive vice president and managing director of consulting services at HR outsourcing and consulting firm Sequent.

Willingness to ask for help

Top-notch CEOs are not know-it-alls. Conan O’Brien describes a meeting he attended with Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric. Immelt responded, “I don’t know” to a question. Writes O’Brian: “I’ve always thought it’s a sign of real intelligence when anyone with power and expertise admits he doesn’t have all the answers.” Benton agrees and says good leadership is developing the people who work for you and being able to go to them for answers and help.

Motivated Builders

The deep internal need to build bigger things should be present. This drive is apparent in the way in which the person seeks out new challenges that test themselves to create something lasting. They should be driven to achieve and develop bigger and more powerful companies. Their goal should be to leave a legacy.

Creative Problem Solvers

Business is a sequence of problems that must continually be tested and overcome. As the company overcomes these problems they naturally will become stronger. Innovative companies that solve problems in creative ways make market breakthroughs that lead to competitive advantages. Ensuring that your CEO has the very same skills needed to bring the company to new heights is important.

Life-Long Learner

CEOs that seek to learn and develop their whole life are worth much more than those who are narrow-minded and fail to update their knowledge. The life-long learner is capable of weighing and balancing new information to keep their practices relevant and make sound decisions as situations emerge. They are at their best so they can run the organization at its best.


The nature of business is continually reinventing itself in both the digital space and (often consequently) in the brick-and-mortar workplace. Successful CEOs already have to have the capacity to embrace change; they’ll have to do so even more in the coming years.

People Smarts

Great CEOs are also excellent at knowing how to read people. John F. Welch, former CEO of General Electric Co. told Business Week. “If you ask Warren [Buffet] his opinion about [20 people he’s just met], he’ll have each one nailed. He’s a masterful evaluator of people, and that’s the biggest job there is in running a company.”

Empathetic Communicators

Before one can truly lead a company they should have people skills that include the ability to formulate strong communication patterns among employees. Their discussions should be inclusive and push to inspire and support their organizations in a way that creates better performance outcomes. They should be able to use empathy so they can understand others and create win-win situations that enhance human capital.

Caring Nature

No matter CEOs’ competence, “not caring about your people or the organization’s mission will not get you very far,” according to Forbes. In the corporate world, “caring” means CEOs prioritize the organization above themselves and any personal interests. One way to demonstrate this is to follow the rule that “the troops eat first;” the other, to own one’s company’s failures as much as, or more than, its successes and being happy to give others credit for the latter.


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