Watch out for These Common CEO Leadership Errors

CEOs should think strategically and never allow themselves to be involved in tactical day-to-day decisions unless the ship is going down. Great leaders hire capable, motivated people and then provide vision and perspective to those people.  Then, they allow those people to work a plan that is specific and trackable.

When a CEO becomes tactically involved with team members all over the org chart, that CEO is no longer acting like a CEO. That CEO is a tactical decision maker without real strategy. This management method can also be called madness.

This is a most difficult cycle to break. Especially so for high achievers who have built something through grit and will power. In the early days, a steam-rolling-scorched-earth leadership practice can work, since the landscape is small, the leader can MANAGE through most issues and adversity alone. As the company grows however, great leaders recognize people as their most dynamic resource and learn to get results through people versus through unilateral actions.

Many CEOs want to operate in start-up mode almost all the time. It is what fuels you. The “what’s next”, “let’s build it”, us-against-the-world mentality is what gets a company up and running. Your strength may lie in the idea, the kick start, the passion to create – and your great drive. Those are natural forces you are lucky to have. It is key, then, to keep up the continuous development of your leadership skills. And if you really choose to lean into the hard transition of becoming a great leader, the sky will be the limit.

When managers can deflect responsible with communication struggles with you, it creates an escape hatch for their own performance. Don’t go skip down the org chart and start managing employees that these trusted leaders manage. Wearing the Visionary and Implementer hats simultaneously does not equal success. If you do not have executives and leaders you can trust, you either need try to trust them or find new leaders.

One highly-successful CEO I work with said, in front of numerous employees:

“We need to get rid of 50 managers.”

Immediately, trust is lost. Managers think you’re worried about new people versus trusting answers from people loyal to you who know what they are doing. His or her perception that you often seek counsel from new team members without seeking the same from tenured team members is a dangerous team destroyer.

A great CEO works vigorously to ensure the team understands the motives of what the CEO is doing. You need to have a tight circle of direct reports and stay focused on their development.  

If you find yourself making any of these critical errors, focus hard on your leadership gear shift.

chris weinberg