The world's most comprehensive leadership study, ghSmart's CEO Genome Project, has just been completed. During the research, the team identified four primary attributes of CEO's and produced other findings that challenged widely held assumptions about leadership.

The study, which took place over ten years, pulled information from a database of 17,000 C-suite executives and over 2,000 CEO's.

To analyze the data, a team of 14 researchers with expertise in psychology, economics, finance and data science reviewed information from CEO's from all the key industries. The collaborative project included researchers from the University of Chicago, Copenhagen Business School, NYU, and SAS Inc.

The goal of the analysis was to answer important questions such as:

· Are there specific attributes that are predictive of becoming a CEO?

· Are the attributes of CEO's the same, or different, from other C-suite Executives?

· What attributes do boards look for in a CEO, and are these characteristics predictive of CEO success?

The study results challenged a few widely held beliefs on leadership.

The first is the idea of the charismatic, extroverted CEO. Boards prefer CEO's with outgoing personalities and high levels of confidence, but introverts are more likely to surpass expectations.

Another interesting finding was related to the number of mistakes CEO's have made in their earlier careers. Instead of having flawless work histories, the study showed that nearly half the CEO's had experienced major career blow-ups that had ended in the loss of a job.

However, the most insightful aspect of the study was the realization that high-achieving CEO's share four specific characteristics. While each CEO did not show excellence in all four characteristics, the majority had distinguished themselves in at least more than one category.

So, if you're a current CEO, or trying to make the jump to the C-suite level, pay close attention honing the 4 characteristics in your day-to-day work.

1. Deciding With Speed and Conviction -Moving fast on decisions and sticking to them is the prime factor of good CEO. People described as "decisive" were 12 times more likely to be high performers. "Good CEO's realize that making a bad decision may be better than making no decision at all."

2. Engaging for Impact - Once the plan is set, good CEO's quickly achieved buy-in from employees and stakeholders. They also understand stakeholder needs and motivations, which helps drive decision-making and organizational support.

3. Adapting Proactively - Reacting to unforeseen challenges and opportunities is a must for every great leader. This characteristic was mentioned above all the rest when interviewing CEO's directly. CEO's that adapt quickly are 6.7 times more likely to succeed.

4. Delivering Reliably - Producing results is another fundamental element of a good CEO. Both employees and stakeholders will trust a proven leader who delivers on promises and achieves their goals. CEO's that produce reliable results are a whopping 15 times more likely to succeed.

Being the CEO of a company is one of the most challenging jobs in business. However, if you can master these 4 traits, you'll be way ahead of the competition.

Published on: Sep 7, 2017