You’re are a nice person, but you are going to hurt people
You are a gifted leader. Your board chose wisely when it offered you the top spot. You have the skills and abilities to be an effective leader. You also, most likely, have demonstrated through previous leadership positions that you deserve the trust that has been placed in you.
But you are also acutely aware of your own limitations. And it may be that recently you are beginning to experience challenges which are the result of some of your shortcomings. These may be personal, relationship, interpersonal or addiction related. You just know that the stress you feel is beginning to get out of control. You don’t want to fail. Your organization and its employees depend on you for effective leadership. Perhaps you wake up in the middle of the night, terrified at what might happen if things fall apart.
Studies into the reasons for CEO failure consistently point out that poor execution is the number one factor. Most CEOs are good at vision, planning, strategy, and organizational structuring. Where they fall short is in organizing and leading subordinates to carry out the plans that support that vision. And that has to do largely with the interpersonal skills of the CEO. Hesitancy to make key personnel decisions, inability to hold people accountable for outcomes, and misdirected loyalty to employees can undermine the CEOs effectiveness. Executive coaching can help to analyze the leadership context and develop skills to overcome this shortcoming.
What is rarely discussed in the literature, however, is the category of personal character flaws which lead to risky behaviors. In my opinion these are of far greater danger to the organization than the lack of skills. CEOs are no more or less susceptible to the results of stress and conflict than anyone else. In some ways, CEOs are more vulnerable because they lack the circle of support that most others rely upon. You may be reading this because you are very close to having your personal or professional life come crashing down around you. You may have engaged in ill-advised, risky behavior that has the potential to embarrass you and your company. You may be suffering from out-of-control addictions. You may have made some very questionable business decisions that are about to back-fire.
To make matters worse, you know there is nobody in the company you can talk to about your problem. Subordinates can’t help. Your board might ask you to leave. And your circle of friends in similar positions is limited or nonexistent. You are alone and you are scared. I know. I, and many others just like you, have been there. I know the feelings of isolation and helplessness. And I also know that thinking I could somehow figure out a path on my own which would avoid all the possible negative outcomes was delusional.
But I want you to think about something that may change your mind. If you go down because of something you did or are in the middle of and can’t seem to get out of, how many people in your organization will go down with you? Perhaps you think nobody else will be affected by your indiscretion, bad judgment or addiction. But think again. Read my blog on consequences and then tell me if you think you can live with the knowledge that some of your closest friends and colleagues might suffer because of what you are doing.
I can help you avoid that fate. I know you are embarrassed. I know you are the type of person who doesn’t normally seek help. But I also know that there are ways to avoid those undesirable outcomes. There are resources available that can help you chart a better course.
I can only suggest an alternative path. You don’t have to call me. But if you need a TOTALLY CONFIDENTIAL and sympathetic ear, I just may be able to help you avoid what otherwise is probably an inevitable calamity. I don’t need to know your name or your company. I only want to offer you what nobody offered me – a confidential ear to listen. Where you decide to take it from there is entirely up to you.
Even the Best Leaders Need Support