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The three key character traits of the worst CEO I have encountered in twenty years

I work with lots of outstanding leaders. They inspire, engage, empower and deliver extraordinary results.

But I've worked with a handful of absolute nightmares over the last twenty years as a consultant.

The worst was the CEO of a large utility business. He threatened and coerced. He divided but didn't even conquer.

And his organisation suffered commercially and culturally.

If I were to judge him (and I did), he had three key character traits that drove most of his destructive behaviours.

I urge you to monitor yourself for any sign of these traits, and if you catch even a glimpse of them, take immediate action to reverse the destruction they cause.

A fragile ego

Despite his position, this CEO was wholly reliant on others' compliance with his point of view. A disagreement with his suggested course of action was a challenge to his self-worth. As a result, he bulldozed his viewpoint through, regardless of the consequences.

All detail, no vision

The organisation this CEO led (I use the word loosely) had to achieve challenging targets handed down from their investors.

To achieve the strategy, people throughout the organisation needed to be engaged in a vision that aligned with that strategy.

Instead, their control-freak boss delved into operation minutiae that confused, delayed and disengaged.

He would rather fail than change

When his team finally started to challenge him, this CEO made it clear that he would rather fail on his own terms than even consider changing his viewpoint.

And fail he did. He left the organisation early, and it was in a worse state than he found it.

A new leader took over, and his first mission was to unite the Executive Team. While he found some battle-scarred people, they were ready and willing to embrace a new way of working that wasn't driven by the insecurity of a brittle boss.

Stop, pause, and reflect

I believe that if you have read this far, you're already light-years away from the guy I have described.

But it is still a great time to stop, pause and reflect on your strengths and edges as a leader.

And when you're ready to develop yourself again, here are three ways I can help.

Order your copy of The Alignment Advantage here.

Hire me as your leadership coach - email me to set up a chemistry call.

Hire me to help lead our Aligned Team Workshop for you and your direct reports. Email me to find out more.


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