Effectiveness Starts at the Top: Best Practices for Presidents and CEOs

Steve Jobs. Jeff Bezos. Indra Nooyi. Meg Whitman. Mark Zuckerberg. Elon Musk. Bill Gates. The names of well-known CEOs jump off the page at us and immediately bring to mind the companies they represent. You can’t think of Steve Jobs without thinking of Apple. Despite dying almost a decade ago, his influence on the Apple brand and products remains indelible. The lasting influence of a CEO is a salient reminder how much just one leader can impact the longevity and future of an organization.

But what qualities make a CEO effective? A recent MRG study found 7 behaviors that were closely associated with high effectiveness ratings for presidents and CEOs.

The top behavior associated with effectiveness is the ability to be strategic. A strategic CEO needs to be able to think before acting, analyze the ramifications of their decisions, and understand the implications of their actions. Other behaviors associated with CEO effectiveness are clear communication, tenacity, technical expertise, empathy for others, a management focus, and enthusiasm.

The success and survival of an organization impacts the livelihoods of all individuals within the organization and the health of the economy at large. With so much responsibility on their plates, effective CEOs and other high-level leaders are crucial in today’s tumultuous times.

Get the complete best practice report for the most recent research findings on CEO effectiveness here.

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About the author

Nancy is a Research Assistant at MRG. She is currently earning her Master's in Clinical Psychology at Murray State University. She is fascinated by the healing power of laughter and hopes to one day research the effects of improvisational comedy exercises on mood and interpersonal relationships. When she's not studying or conducting research, Nancy plays geeky board games you've probably never heard of, because you are too cool.

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