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A University of Chicago study in 2008 divided 316 CEO candidates into two groups: Those who mastered the 'softer' skills of management, such as demonstrating openness to feedback, possessing great listening skills, and treating people with respect; and those who mastered the 'harder' skills of execution, quickness, aggressiveness, and tenacity. The researchers then linked these different CEO traits to financial performance. The result? According to Chicago business professor Steven Kaplan, the softer-skilled leaders, or "Lambs," as he labeled them, succeeded 57 percent of the time. Not bad. The aggressive, hard-nosed managers, or "Cheetahs," however, succeeded 100 percent of time. Now that's conclusive.
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