Monday, December 17, 2007

Hard Skills CEO vs Soft Skills CEO

“When the going gets tough...”

A study published by the University of Chicago GSB suggests that tougher is better when it comes to making it as a CEO. A survey of more than 300 US private equity firm CEOs shows that speedy, aggressive, persistent CEO candidates are more likely to be hired than their good-at-listening, open-to-criticism, team-playing counterparts.This is bad, says the Chartered Management Institute. Its Quality of Working Life report, which surveyed 1,511 managers, found the most common British management styles are bureaucratic (40 per cent), reactive (37 per cent) and authoritarian (30 per cent). This tendency towards "overbearing and controlling" team leaders, says the CMI, is stifling British workplaces, resulting in higher levels of absence and lower levels of productivity.

Weighing up ... Hard Skills CEO . Soft Skills CEO - what's your thoughts !

Steven Kaplan new study suggests that hard-nosed personal virtues such as persistence and efficiency count for more than "softer" strengths like teamwork or flexibility.

"We found that 'hard' skills, which are all about getting things done, were paramount," says lead author Steven Kaplan, a professor of finance and entrepreneurship. "Soft skills centering on teamwork weren't as pivotal. That was a bit of a surprise to us."

Five CEO traits that correlate most closely with business success at buyout companies -- and five that score lowest, according to University of Chicago researchers.

Traits that matter...
• Persistence
• Attention to detail
• Efficiency
• Analytical skills
• Setting high standards

...and not so much
• Strong oral communication
• Teamwork
• Flexibility/adaptability
• Enthusiasm
• Listening skills

Mark Gallogly, a co-founder of Centerbridge Partners, a New York private-equity firm, says the academics' findings match many of his beliefs about what's important in a CEO. He puts a premium on bosses who can hire well, excel at efficiency and execution, and can be aggressive but respectful. By contrast, public-company CEOs may need more soft skills to manage relations with wide shareholder bases and other diverse constituencies.

Both Prof. Kaplan and ghSmart executives caution against dismissing the low-scoring traits entirely. On enthusiasm, for example, the study found that ultra-enthusiastic managers didn't fare meaningfully better than ones who were just moderately enthusiastic. But some level of enthusiasm is bound to be of value, says Randall Street, a ghSmart principal -- and most finalists in a CEO search will exhibit enthusiasm. The same would apply to other soft traits, such as listening skills or treating people with respect.

Source: Times Online, ghSmartInc. WSJ

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