The Secret Lives of CEOs: New Survey Reveals Common Characteristics of Senior Leaders
PR Newswire

TORONTO, March 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- What does it take to be a CEO? Aside from experience, drive and leadership skills, some believe it's about looking and acting the part as well. But what does that mean? A new survey from takes a closer look at what it means to occupy the corner office, revealing the personal preferences and practices shared by CEOs and other senior leaders. The study included more than 400 hiring managers in senior leadership positions, including CEO, CFO, COO and Senior VP.

Dressing the Part

Fewer than 1 in 10 executives (8 per cent) consider a business suit their typical office attire. Most executives (69 per cent) outfit themselves in business casual clothing, while 18 per cent regularly wear jeans or shorts to work.

Black is the clothing color of choice for 43 per cent of employers, making it the most popular choice for this group. Navy blue is the second most popular color worn by leadership (27 per cent), followed by grey (11 per cent) and brown (6 per cent).

When it comes to parting their hair, nearly one third of executives (32 per cent) favor the right side, versus 22 per cent who prefer the left side and 20 per cent who part it down the middle. Eighteen per cent don't part their hair at all, while 7 per cent sport a shaved or bald head.

Getting to Work

Don't expect to see these executives pulling up to the office in chauffeured limousines. Most (83 per cent) company executives take themselves to work in an automobile. Mid-sized sedans are the most popular vehicle of choice (32 per cent), followed by SUVs (18 per cent). Minivans and luxury sedans tie for third place (7 per cent), followed by sports cars (3 per cent).

Nearly 1 in 5 (17 per cent) prefer environmentally friendly ways to get around, with 7 per cent taking public transportation, 4 per cent driving hybrids, 5 per cent walking, and 1 per cent riding their bikes.

Dining Out

When it comes to their drink of choice at company happy hours, beer is the most popular drink choice (33 per cent), followed closely by wine (32 per cent). The third most popular drink? Nothing at all, as 31 per cent of leaders abstain from alcoholic beverages. Sixteen per cent go for mixed drinks, 11 per cent order cocktails and 5 per cent order shots.  

The majority of senior leadership (64 per cent) bring their lunch from home, while the rest opt for eating at a restaurant (13 per cent) or going to a fast food spot (8 per cent). Nearly 1 in 10 (8 per cent) say they don't eat lunch on a typical day.

Right Vs. Left

Right-handers outnumber left-handers by nearly 7 to 1 (86 per cent versus 11 per cent). Meanwhile, 3 per cent of leaders claim to be ambidextrous.

A Typical Work Week

When asked how many hours they work in a typical week, one fourth of senior leaders (24 per cent) say they work less than 40 hours per week. A little more than half (56 per cent) say they work 40 to 49 hours a week, and 19 per cent work 50 hours or more.

Despite a packed schedule, the majority of leaders (73 per cent) are able to squeeze in at least one work out a week, while 27 per cent "rarely" or "never" work out.

Will Acting the Part of Executive Help Your Career?

They say "fake it 'till you make it," but can "faking" the role of CEO eventually help you get there? "Your success is ultimately dependent on how hard you work, but the way you dress and conduct yourself shows others how serious you are about your job and desire to move forward," says Mark Bania, managing director of CareerBuilder Canada. Bania offers the following lifestyle tips for those who hope to get ahead.

  1. Follow the leader…Take a cue from your CEO and other senior leaders when it comes to not just dressing the part, but conducting yourself like a leader as well.
  2. Dress for success. Dressing like your leaders would doesn't mean sacrificing who you are as an individual. Try to add your own personal flair to a black suit, for example, helps you achieve a look that is both professional and indicative of your unique sense of style. 
  3. Be the brand. CEOs and senior executives are always representing the company – even when they're not at work. As an employee of the company, you are, too, so remember that the next time you are out with friends or posting on social media.
  4. Go after it. Rather than wait around and hope for a promotion, be proactive and volunteer to take on more responsibility and larger projects in order to prove your leadership potential.

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