The New York Times’ Adam Bryant wrote “The Corner Office Column” for ten years. During that time he interviewed 525 CEOs and in his farewell column he summarizes what he learned about these leaders. This article is longer than what is usually offered in this space, but Mr. Bryant does a nice job of extracting three recurring themes shared by those he interviewed and what he learned from them about the most the most important quality in any leader.
Most people only know one CEO close up (the one who runs their company) and base their view of success on a sample size of one. Mr. Bryan’s sample, while not strictly scientific in its analysis, offers a much broader base to learn from. A few moments studying his final column “How to Be a CEO From A Decade’s Worth of Them” would be time well spent for anyone aspiring to the role of CEO, or at least trying to understand it.