The combination of retirements, mergers­, and heads in the sand swept many a CEO out the door. "Look around," says Nosal. "There's been unprecedented churn in the executive suite over the past few years."

Today, "You are seeing many fewer 'celebrity' CEOs," Nosal says, adding that the 21st-century CEO may be best characterized by "invisibility. You could be sitting next to one on this plane right now and never know it."

And that's where we come in. This field guide to the new CEO can not only help you identify CEOs in their natural environments, but also determine whether you have the goods yourself.

To assemble identifying characteristics, we turned to professional CEO-watchers who make it their business to pluck new executives from a crowd and groom them for action: the consultants who train CEOs and the headhunters who hire them.

Identifying Trait No. 1: HUMBLE. Pride brought down a half-dozen name CEOs - you know the ones who've done the perp walk - and new-style CEOs pro­ject a strong and sincere sense of personal modesty. "There's been a shift away from flamboyant personalities," Nosal says. "A new-style CEO has had to tone it down. Flamboyant personalities once helped their companies, but there's been a backlash, and companies want more subdued leaders."

Identifying Trait No. 2: INCLUSIVE. Christensen says these CEOs "are open to the conversation of employees; they let people in on decision-making. They want to have participation from their constituents." Where 20th-century CEOs typically led by fiat - theirs was the "command and control" management model leftover from the early days of the factory age - 21st-century CEOs are consensus-building democrats who hear out their team and seek decisions they know will win broad support. They are masters at motivating others to rally around shared objectives.