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Over my career I have worked for great CEO’s, average CEO’s and poor CEO’s. So, what do I think separates the great from the CEO herd?  
Choosing the most important qualities is not straightforward. Judgement of performance can only be measured long term. Some CEOs once held up as a shining beacon of quality have in hindsight gone from hero to zero. Jack Welch long-time CEO of GE is a good example. In JW’s case his legacy proved to be disastrous for GE’s long-term future though during his tenure he was hailed as an example all should follow. 
Of critical importance I would list the following three essential characteristics: 
Leader - Able to command and respected by the troops. Leading by example from the front. 
Not seeking to be popular - Able to delegate effectively. 
Strategic - Able to think strategically. To develop an envisioned future for the organisation and to drive the implementation of the plan to deliver that future. 
Decisive - Where remedial action is required able to act decisively however radical and painful that action may be. 
If a CEO displays all those characteristics, they will be well on the way to being a great CEO. 
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