Leadership Characteristics of Highly Effective CEOs
What are the leadership qualities of highly effective CEOs?
When NAPL’s Printing Economic Research Center (PERC) began tracking results of privately-help printing companies, a great deal of data was collected, analyzed, and compared. Led by Chief Economist Andrew Paparozzi, the PERC team began to look for patterns of performance over extended periods of time.
They found that a select group of about 100 companies outperformed the rest of the industry by a significant margin in key metrics, including organic sales growth, value-added, and profitability. And they did so consistently over more than 10 years.
These leading companies were not a particular size in terms of sales volume or head count. They weren’t located in one area of the country nor were they concentrated in one type of product or service specialization. What then is the common thread that enabled these businesses to perform at such a high level, for more than a decade?
A comprehensive research project was undertaken, using James McGregor Burns’ theory of leadership, which is centered around three distinct leadership styles: Transformative, Transactional and Passive-Avoidant:
- Passive-Avoidant is considered the least effective style of leadership, evidenced by leaders who interact with their reports only when there is an obvious problem or serious issue/mistake. It focuses on punitive, often embarrassing measures as corrective action.
- Transactional leadership can be an effective style, but is somewhat limited. The working relationship is based on the idea that work is done, compensation is provided.
- Transformational leadership is considered to be as effective as it is rare. It is focused on maximizing the individual potential of each and every team member. The leader is seen as a facilitator, educator, coach, and mentor. Team members working with a transformational leader report high levels of personal and professional satisfaction.
The overwhelming majority of CEO’s participating in the study rated their leadership style as transformative. Similarly, the majority of the direct report groups also rated their CEO’s leadership style as transformative.
Is it coincidence that where there is a transformative style of leadership, organizational performance significantly exceeds that of industry norms and over a long period of time? If not, what are the specific behavioral traits of these transformative leaders? Can they be taught, learned, practiced and improved by anyone willing to better understand and improve their own leadership behaviors?
In this special presentation, “Leadership Characteristics of Highly Effective CEO's” on Friday at 11:00am in Room C144, we’ll examine these traits in detail with a special focus on development of an individual personal, transformational leadership development process.