While there is not 'one size fits all' in terms of CEO attributes, there are definitely characteristics which can predict the performance of a CEO according to the context in which they operate.
If you are a CEO, or if you are looking to hire one, the highest predictors lie in sociability, relationship skills, a desire for leadership, intelligence, hard work, curiosity, measured risk taking and competitiveness... among others. Some have an inherent personality which naturally lends itself to these characteristics, some develop strategies which allow them to succeed in these areas despite their natural preferences. Where would you rate yourself, and where do your personal strategies need further development?
Our analysis revealed that CEOs differ meaningfully from the overall executive population across many personality attributes. Two traits in particular stand out: an ability to embrace appropriate risks and a bias toward acting and capitalizing on opportunities. We consider these traits the “essence” of the CEO personality. In other words, a CEO is significantly less cautious and more likely to take action when compared to other senior executives. As for the stereotypes, while we confirmed that CEOs in general are more likely to be risk takers than other executives, we did not find that they are consistently extroverted or self-promoting. In addition, six other traits differentiate the typical CEO from other executives on a statistically significant basis: drive and resilience original thinking ability to visualize the future team building being an active communicator the ability to catalyze others to action