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What Would Make a Successful CEO Stand Out?

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Nowadays there is so much pressure on the CEO, as it is a role that demands so much from a personal perspective. Over the past year there has been a lot of focus on the heads of companies globally.

It is a role that has usually remained in the public eye and has been even more so recently, with CEOs constantly under public scrutiny.

So what makes a successful CEO stand out? The role of a CEO would be to develop a vision, strategy and financial goals for the business but evidence suggests that strong people leadership is the differentiator.

After we conducted our interviews for the research paper with over 134 participants including chairmen, CEOs, additional nomination committee members, COOs and MDs, including representatives from Arsenal F.C., Quorn, Shell, Vodafone, UNICEF, and First Group we found that the four important qualities that companies, and people look for in a CEO are:

- People leadership and talent management
- Strategic thinking and direction-setting
- Self-awareness and personal proficiency
- Enabling action and delivering results.

Looking into each quality we can expand on what these headings mean and how they are important for the CEO role.

If we look further into 'people leadership and talent management' these qualities would include: team building and delegation, building and leading a diverse team, ability to manage power and listening skills, as some of the key qualities. What companies are looking for is someone to lead them forward with the ability to keep a strong momentum.

It is usually aspects like; vision; business insight and being externally aware that falls under the 'strategic thinking and direction-setting' category. CEOs need to have a strong knowledge not only of their industry, but national and global events, now and in the future, as unpredictable as it may be.

For 'self-awareness and personal proficiency' this focuses more on the personality of the individual such as; charisma; approachability; and being open minded. This is most important for the employees at a company who want someone who they can look up to, and who they believe will lead them forward.

Finally for 'enabling action and delivering results' the key factors are focus, timing and track record.

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