Introverts are more likely to be successful CEOs, study claims
Getting up early, wearing the same clothes every day, eating eggs for breakfast… there are various thing we’re told CEOs do that may hold the keys to their success.
But what if the one thing the most successful have in common is in fact not something they do but the way they are?
The results of a new study certainly suggest this is the case. And the shared attribute? Introversion.
Researchers from ghSmart, a Chicago-based consultancy firm, spent ten years analysing the personalities of 2,000 CEOs and reached the conclusion that the majority of the successful ones were introverts.
This flies in the face of the image most people have of a typical charismatic, confident, extroverted leader.
The study, called the CEO Genome Project, includes a test anyone can do to find out whether they have what it takes to be a CEO.
“When we flip on the news, or check our social media feeds, we are bombarded with images of well-groomed, Ivy league-educated icons of the Fortune 100,” the study authors write. “And we can’t help but think, I could never be them.
“In fact, they come from surprisingly varied backgrounds. Of the six million CEOs of companies in America, only seven percent went to an elite school—and eight percent didn't graduate college at all. Some are immigrants; many worked their way up through the ranks from entry-level positions.”
To reach their conclusions, the researchers made a database of assessments, including comprehensive performance appraisals and extensive biographical information, which documented everything from behavioural patterns and demographic information to career history and previous job performance.
From these findings, they were able to work out who amongst us are most likely to become a CEO.
They found that the four most important traits for CEOs are:
Reaching out to stakeholders
Being highly adaptable to change
Being reliable and predictable rather than showing exceptional, and perhaps not repeatable, performance
Making fast decisions with conviction, if not necessarily perfect ones.
About half of the candidates had at least one of these characteristics.