Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bosses Who Go Off The Rails

CEO characteristics to spot and avoid

  • Arrogance
    They are right and everybody else is wrong
  • Melodrama
    They want to be the centre of attention
  • Volatility
    Their mood swings create business swings
  • Excessive caution
    They can't make important decisions
  • Habitual distrust
    They focus on the negatives all the time
  • Aloofness
    They disengage and disconnect from staff
  • Eccentricity
    They think it is fun to be different just for the sake of it
  • Passive resistance
    Their silence is misinterpreted as agreement
  • Perfectionism
    They get the little things right even if the big things go wrong
  • Eagerness to please
    They stress that being popular matters most


The different types of CEO oddball

  • Aberrant 
    The aberrant leader demonstrates two traits: unusualness but also a departure from acceptable standards. Think asking the PA to go down the corner to buy the coke.
  • Anti-social
    The mild version is anti-social in the way selfish people are, but the full-blown believers display downright delinquent behavior, such as uncontrollable tantrums.
  • Dark Triad
    They've got the lot: lords of arrogance, duplicity and emotional coldness, whose brightness masks their bullying. To adepts of the dark triad, relationships are for losers.
  • Derailed
    Believing their own hype and their supine followers, these deviate from the path and are then unable to move forward. Often linked to the next word in the dictionary, deranged.
  • Despotic
    Teamwork is for ants, what this company needs is the smack of firm government and no-nonsense clarity from the top. Whinge all you like, at least I get things done.
  • Destructive
    Used by historians to describe a particular leadership style. Long gone are the days when a CEO steered his company onto the rocks and bailed out before it sank.
  • Incompetent
    This implies the absence of something required rather than the presence of something not required. Such leaders' passivity can be as damaging as overt destructive behaviour.
  • Malignant
    The creatively vicious business leader, while rare, is not confined to episodes of Dallas. Maliciously causing pain to staff or damage to assets is par for their course.
  • Toxic
    Strong but destructive leaders feed on immature, vulnerable followers, creating a toxic dynamic where selfish or fatalistic staff reinforce a leader's corporate violence.
  • Tyrannical
    Tyrannical leaders show arbitrary, oppressive and unjust behavior. They tend to usurp power and brutally oppress those they command. Think Julius Caesar in pinstripes.
Order The Elephant in the Boardroom by Adrian Furnham, professor of psychology at University College, London, and published by Palgrave Macmillan.