Good CEOs Are Boring: Brooks

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2009 10:07 AM CDT
TARP CEOs prepare to testify before Congress in this file photo.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Recent studies have yielded a good picture of the ideal CEO, and the life of the party he ain’t, writes David Brooks in the New York Times. Traits like empathy, good communication skills, and team-building aren’t very important. Flamboyant visionaries rarely work out. No, those who often thrive as CEOs are “organized, dogged, anal-retentive, and slightly boring,” obsessed with eking out incremental efficiencies.

They would not, in other words, make good politicians, and vice versa. The charisma and personal skills so key for politicians mean little in the business world. Yet the Obama administration keeps inserting itself into management cultures. “When Washington is a profit center, CEOs are forced to adopt the traits of politicians,” Brooks argues. “It won’t be the regulations that will be costly, but the revolution in values.” (Read more CEO stories.)