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Are you CEO material?

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

The first two months of the year are a popular time for performance reviews. Even if your boss hasn't sat down with you recently to discuss your future, you should still step back, plot your career advancement and consider whether you possess the skill set of a CEO.

New research shows that the most successful CEOs exhibit persistence, follow through on commitments, excel at efficiency and execution, hire outstanding people and set high standards. These highly desirable analytical traits drive detail-oriented outcomes, as opposed to intangible strengths such as communicating with enthusiasm or listening attentively.

The study, conducted by three University of Chicago business-school professors, is based on assessments of 313 CEO candidates (mostly at investment banking and buyout firms). The findings indicate that "hard" skills--the tools to accomplish actual tasks and goals--matter more than "soft" skills associated with how managers speak, listen and motivate teams.

Communicating well still matters, of course. A brilliant loudmouth who doesn't listen will face steeper odds of reaching the executive suite. But the study shows that operating with efficiency and executing tasks with a keen analytic grasp of details propels you down the fast track.

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