tar performers are often a st udy i n paradoxes,” s ays Manfred Kets de Vries, a professor of leadership and organisational change at the international business school Insead. “They are walking contradictions.”
Kets de Vries has put the observations of some 20 years of research and management training with CEOs into a white paper entitled Star Performers: Paradoxes Wrapped Up in Enigmas. To hea r hi m t e l l i t , s t a r- per f or ming CEOs are superheroes as well as paradoxes. They can think long term and execute well short term, they take calculated risks and take responsibilit y for their actions, combine optimism with realism, have great tenacity and high energy.
“You need to be able to positively f r ame t hings,” Kets de Vries says. “When the CEO says that things are bad, i f he or she gets depressed, the rest of t he team may get depressed, because it is very contagious. So you need to be positive – but you also need to be realistic, because, i f you aren’t realistic, people won’t believe you anymore.”
Being positive doesn’t necessarily mean being an extrovert, however. Kets de Vries contends that many star