A peek into the mind of the CEO:
What CEOs Are Afraid Of
- “The biggest fear is being found to be incompetent, also known as the “imposter syndrome.” This fear diminishes their confidence and undermines relationships with other executives.
- Their other most common fears, in descending order, are underachieving, which can sometimes make them take bad risks to overcompensate; appearing too vulnerable; being politically attacked by colleagues, which causes them to be mistrustful and overcautious; and appearing foolish, which limits their ability to speak up or have honest conversations.
- About 60% said those first three fears affected behaviors on their executive team, although 95% said that executive team members had a very limited view of their own fears. About two-thirds believed they had “some” self-awareness.
- The five top fears resulted in these dysfunctional behaviors: a lack of honest conversations, too much political game playing, silo thinking, lack of ownership and follow-through, and tolerating bad behaviors.
- Asked to think about the fallout from those dysfunctional behaviors, the executives mentioned more than 500 consequences. Those mentioned most frequently were poor decision-making, focusing on survival rather than growth, inducing bad behavior at the next level down, and failing to act unless there’s a crisis.”