If you think all CEOs are Ivy League educated individuals who set their eyes on the C-suite at a young age, you're mistaken. According to Elena Botelho and Kim Powell, authors of the book "The CEO Next Door," "Even the most impressive CEOs often didn't start out knowing they were destined for greatness."
However, many of us believe the stereotype that an "iconic CEO is powerful and patrician, a bold, charismatic extrovert with a flawless resume," write the researchers. This makes us falsely assume that we are not "CEO material." To the contrary, ordinary people can also become CEOs, note the authors, as long as they have the necessary traits.
To uncover these traits, Botelho and Powell turned to a dataset of 17,000 leadership assessments from the research firm ghSMART. In partnership with professors from the University of Chicago and Columbia University, they selected a subset of 2,600 leaders to further analyze, and found a trend among successful CEOs.
According to their research, four simple behaviors can turn everyday people into powerful CEOs: decisiveness, engaging for impact, relentless reliability and adapting boldly.