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What CEOs do all day

An academic study published recently in the Harvard Business Review tracked how 1,000 CEOs around the world spent their work day and found some interesting patterns. On average, they spend a quarter of their time reading and sending email and other messages, 10 per cent on personal matters, eight per cent travelling, and 56 per cent interacting with others. There was a lot of variation in their behaviour, however, with some spending more time performing tasks associated with leadership and others skewing towards management.

The first type of behavior — managers — includes relatively more plant visits, interactions with employees in supply chain management, and meetings with clients and suppliers. The other type — leaders — includes relatively more interactions with C-suite executives, personal and virtual communications and planning, and meetings with a wide variety of internal functions and external stakeholders.

The researchers went on to compare the productivity and profitability at companies run by leader types versus manager types and found that the leaders had a distinct edge in corporate performance. So don’t be afraid to focus on the big picture and leave it to others to deal with the day-to-day running of your company.