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The biggest differentiators between senior executives and employees at all other job levels are not track record and education as might be expected; but rather ambition, the ability to adjust, and a consistent quest for learning. The research was conducted by JvR Africa Group in partnership with Jack Hammer. The research study tested a range of traits of 4442 people across various employment levels, including executives, middle managers, entry level supervisors and individual contributors.

The objective of the study was to identify trends among different groups of employees taking into account gender, age, generation and job levels. And thereafter to provide insights to professionals climbing the corporate ladder as well as companies seeking to optimise leadership.

One of the fascinating insights from the research, is indisputable data around the primary characteristics or traits that top leaders display. For anyone wondering why they’re not getting ahead, here we found some clear answers.

Executives are clearly more ambitious than people at other job levels. They are also more confident, and exhibit a natural orientation towards constant learning. And while this may sound obvious, it really isn’t. Because it invites a question regarding whether these traits can be cultivated if they are not naturally present.

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