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What’s it like being at the helm of a company these days? Insights into what it actually feels like to be a CEO are few and far between. Now, in an article in Harvard Business manager titled “The Human Side of CEOs”, Christina Kestel sums up the findings of a worldwide CEO study project conducted by Egon Zehnder. The study involved 400 corporate leaders from across the globe. “The findings show that the human side of CEOs is rapidly taking on more importance,” says the author of the study Kati Najipoor-Schütte who, together with Dick Patton, heads up the Global CEO Practice Group at Egon Zehnder. “The old ‘command and control’ business model is obsolete,” writes Kestel in the May issue of Harvard Business manager. “Today’s CEOs are more open and curious, and better team players.”

The study also reveals that few chairmen or non-executive board members act as sounding boards for CEOs: “While most CEOs (51 percent) get input from their senior leadership team, only 38 percent receive honest feedback from the chairman or a non-executive director…” According to Kati Schütte: “These are alarming findings; the chairman and non-executive directors are precisely the people who should be trusted sparring partners for the CEO – this is a call to action.”

Some of the findings of this study, which is available on this website in full, make it clear “how strongly the role of CEO is perceived as a success factor for the company as a whole: 79 percent of respondents said that a company could only undergo successful transformation if the person at the helm also engaged in self-renewal.”

This point is taken up by Michael Ensser in a press release from Egon Zehnder: “Corporate leaders who retain their humility, are aware of their own vulnerability and remain open for feedback, self-perception and continuous learning, have already laid the cornerstone for the success of their organizations.”

View full study results here
View German press release here
View global press release here

Full story: Christina Kestel: “Die Menschliche Seite des CEO (The Human Side of the CEO)” in Harvard Business Manager (Print edition, April 2018). German language only.

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