A recent survey of leading US companies asked them what skills they required in their high-level employees. Here's the list they came up with of what exactly makes a successful executive
When Bank of America recently surveyed some leading companies to discover what they wanted from their high-level employees, they found that the top-rated skills were a focus on business growth, ability to lead, ability to execute plans, optimism, and upholding company values.

The study looked at best practice at GE, Citigroup, UPS, Allied Signal, 3M, Honeywell, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Wells-Fargo. Here are some of the specific qualities and skills of a highly rated executive:

  • Has a business perspective that is much broader than just one function or area

  • Challenges the status quo to grow the business

  • Focuses on growth opportunities and capital-efficient investments

  • Invests time in customer or client-facing activities in order to better understand their needs

  • Holds all members of staff accountable for continuously improving processes

  • Thoroughly analyses opportunities and risks and showing solid judgement in making choices

  • Drives collaboration among individuals and groups

  • Creates an environment that values diverse backgrounds and perspectives

  • Moves quickly to address problems with mediocre or poorly performing team members

  • Willingly takes risks on high performers to stretch and develop them

  • Creates positive energy and shows leadership in the face of challenges, inspiring others to follow their lead

  • Balances talking and listening to foster candid dialogue

  • Translates strategies into specific goals, tactics, action plans and deliverables

  • Brings to the surface and resolves conflict with minimal noise

  • Generates pragmatic, simple and sensible solutions to complex problems

  • Displays personal courage, taking a stand on controversial and unpopular issues and making tough business and people decisions

  • Is insightful about personal mistakes and failures, learning from them and moving on

  • Puts the interests of the company ahead of their own agenda.