A quote from Dilbert’s CEO struck a chord and reminded me of some of the ‘real life’ characters I’ve worked with over the years:
“I read a book about how to be a great leader, and realised I don’t do any of those things. I’m surprised that a book with so many errors could get published. It must have been written by a disgruntled underling.”
In this cartoon strip the CEO is portrayed as dumb, grossly overpaid and someone who earns millions by doing nothing.
Given how far removed a typical CEO often is from their workforce, I suspect that viewpoint is more widely held than you might think.
His ignorance is less amusing when you consider that a CEO can sink a company by not understanding their responsibilities, or for failing to appoint the right people into leadership roles.
Moreover, the job itself can mess with a person as being in a ‘position of power’ goes to their heads.
It’s all too easy for the CEO to forget, if they ever knew, what it was like to have a boss. They are free to ignore feedback that they don’t want to hear; and no-one will call them to task for it – unless they are confident enough to engage an Executive Coach!
No CEO would intend to behave like an ignoramus (as far as I’m aware); it’s often a lack of empathy that stops them winning many supporters. And that is no excuse. It takes strength to show humility and acknowledge we don’t know it all. And it’s okay to make people aware that we know enough.
I’ll always remember a Director having a strip torn off him for taking some time off through illness. Genuinely proud of his achievement the CEO declared: “That’s nothing; I’ve survived two nervous breakdowns and I didn’t miss a day of work!”
I rest my case!