CEO Qualities and Traits

Posted 26 June 2017

By definition, a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is a highest-ranking executive in a company, and their primary responsibilities include making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of a company, and acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors and senior staff.

Whether you aspire to be CEO of a major corporation or a smaller enterprise, there are some qualities that an effective chief executive officer should possess. Executive job-seekers are normally advised to gather together information that details their operational and technical skills from throughout their career experience. However, as the landscape of recruiting is evolving, the qualities and attributes required to reach C-Suite are changing with many companies considering personal attributes to be equally as important as their proficiency in the sector. The desirable CEO has ‘the full package’ with includes passion and personality as well as a proven track record.

When looking to recruit a senior business leader, Cranmore is proud to approach the executive search differently, creating a tailor-made search solution for every client, every time. Here are the Top 3 qualities to look for when searching for a C-Suite candidate.

Swift and Decisive Decisions

Being able to make critical decisions quickly and with conviction is an important trait of an effective CEO. Managers who take more time over finding the ‘right’ solution can lose momentum and cause frustration among staff who are waiting to push forward. CEOs who are more resolute in their actions are quick to capitalise on opportunities and are more likely to take high-level risks with confidence than their more cautious executive counterparts. A strong CEO will not fear any fallout as they will also be highly adaptable and can change direction and steer the company out of any trouble. A key difference between good CEOs and great CEOs is the ability to bounce back and push onwards. A great CEO will be open to learning from their mistakes and will work to turn unexpected situations into positive results.

Excellent Interpersonal Skills

No man (or woman) is an island. Meaning even when you reach the top position you are not self-sufficient and will need to rely on and interact with the people around you. Successful CEO’s know that collaboration is the key to success whether that is with their own company or other organisations. Building strong networks and mutually-beneficial relationships is extremely important, and working well with others is an essential requirement in any job. A great CEO will not necessarily be an extrovert, but they will be able to read people’s emotions and listen to their opinions while being approachable and encouraging. A great CEO will value their staff as they know that employees who feel appreciated and integral to a company’s success are incredibly productive and loyal.

Know Your Numbers

Being personable is very important, but a great CEO will also know their facts and figures. A business cannot succeed if it is not making money and it takes a great understanding of the company accounts to sustain that success. Many top CEOs will have a background in finance, showing the need to know the ‘numbers’ underpinning any organisation. Another clear trend for individuals moving into the executive leadership position is their knowledge and exposure to the industry. Much experience and wisdom will have been gained through your career history, however, it is essential to never stop learning about your industry, company, and especially your competitors.


If you are searching for your next executive career move or are looking for an elite candidate, contact the team at Cranmore now on 0333 0110 573 or Our core specialisms include Pharmaceutical, life science, and healthcare; Insights, data and research; Manufacturing, industrial and energy; as well as Technology, telecoms and media.

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