CEOs: Stop Wasting Time With Your Ego

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As a CEO, Director, Administrator, boss, head honcho, or whatever your title, there are certain things that you might do at meetings that are, well, inappropriate!

No, I am not talking about the company Christmas party. Sometimes the CEO position can wreak havoc on our emotions and cause us to act rather oddly.

Take for example the boss that puts his ego ahead of the organization, or the employees. This is a strict taboo. A boss must carefully focus on getting the job done. When a coast guard swimmer is deployed into hurricane force winds to save an overboard crew, she introduces herself and then adheres to life saving procedures as her only emotional focus. Why should you be any different when leading a meeting?

Here are a few tips about changing your behavior as a Time-Wasting CEO:

  1. Respect everyone’s time – and stay to the meeting time promised to them.
  2. Show understanding, empathy and emotion in a balanced way – don’t go overboard. I know Directors who make themselves cry to seem empathetic to their customers and employees’ needs. Get over it – be yourself!
  3. Adhere to a strict structure whether you are collaborating or giving orders:
    • What’s up – what’s going on here and why are we here?
    • What’s so – why are we really here and what can we all get out of it?
    • What are the best possibilities for moving into action?
    • What are our next steps?
    • Get out your calendar with everyone else and make it happen! Don’t become that boss that wastes everyone’s time.
  4. When you do get into the swamp with your emotional reactions then take some quiet time, and see the positive. Look at all these people around you – people who want to help you – let them help you. I have seen CEOs and Executive Directors who get angry at their client-volunteers for wanting to create something different than their vision. These bosses waste everyone’s time and energy by letting their ego hinder progress. They filibuster, move to more meetings, and then complain about their status quo. Instead they should state their case, show the path, and give actionable items. Then ask, “Is everyone committed to this vision?” If not, then go back to What’s So?Because you will need to figure out what is holding people back. People are hungry for strong and definitive leadership.
  5. Observe your true motivations. Are you trying to somehow make yourself feel safer, or more important? Are you forcing the point on your employees, not for the company’s benefit and business strategy, but just for your own edification?

These kinds of personal, emotional issues are hard to see in oneself, but reveal themselves to others easily. If you think this might be you, it could be time to talk to a close friend about it.

After all, the test of a true leader, is to face the truth, right?

For more on this, and other articles on performance management, leadership development, executive coaching, organizational learning, talent management and other Human Resource topics, please follow these links to: Best Practice Institute and the Leadership and Management blog.  Use this tool to get 360-degree feedback: www.skillrater.com and learn about how other’s perceive you vs. how you perceive yourself.


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Louis Carter
Louis Carter is CEO and founder of Best Practice Institute, social/organizational psychologist, executive coach and author of more than 11 books on leadership and management including his newest book just released by McGraw Hill: In Great Company: How to Spark Peak Performance by Creating an Emotionally Connected Workplace. He has lectured globally in the U.S., Middle East, and Asia on his work and research in organization and leadership development and is an executive coach and advisor to CEOs and C-levels of mid-sized to Fortune 500 organizations. He was named one of Global Gurus Top Organizational Culture Gurus in the world and was chosen to be one of 100 coaches to be in the MG100 (Marshall Goldsmith) out of 14,000 people as one of the top 100 coaches in the world .

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