Mark Zuckerberg. Bill Gates. Richard Branson. It seems that in the world of CEOs, survival of the fittest comes down to those who keep their sights on the long term and deliver strong performance over many years.

You don’t need to be a CEO to act and think like one. A CEO mindset can take you and your team a long way, even if you don’t have plans to take over the corner office. As blogger Mary Platt explains, “Leaders don’t have to come from the top. Leaders are people at any level who have the imagination, knowledge, creativity, inspirational ability and vision to elevate the workplace and to positively persuade others.”

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we’re passing along five common characteristics of CEOs that were featured in The New York Times article Platt shared in her recent blog.

1. Passionate curiosity. According to the article, the best CEOs approach the world with a sense of wonder and curiosity. They have a wide range of interests and aren’t afraid to let people know of them. Their minds are restless and relentless. So keep learning, keep asking questions and be curious about everything.

2. Battle-hardened confidence. Successful CEOs come to the table with battle wounds. They have a record of embracing adversity and overcoming it. They have a clear sense of purpose and determination that stems from having failed and having learned from it. Job interviewers will often ask, “Describe an instance where you failed, and how you overcame and learned from it?” Failure can show persistence and problem-solving.

3. Team smarts. CEOs can be great team architects. They know how to organize and inspire the group to move forward. Effective leaders keep it clear, straightforward and to-the-point. It’s a balance of clarity and simplicity. As Tony Robbins says, “The enemy of execution is complexity.” People often give too much detail and too much background. Platt says to master the art of the ‘executive gloss,’ and look to connect the dots in new and inventive ways.

4. Fearlessness. Finally, a leader is a risk taker. They are fearless in going into unchartered territory. They aren’t afraid to change the way things are done. They are willing to do the unexpected.

Incorporate these five traits into the way you manage your teams, your colleagues and your business. Do them well, and you might find yourself moving to the top of the corporate ladder.

Source: Mary Platt is director of communications and media relations at Chapman University.