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Rogue CEO

Updated: Apr 2

Exec teams dealing with impulsive CEOs can help themselves, their boss, and their company if they come together in every challenging situation.

Why it matters: Rogue CEOs create a toxic culture that trickles down the organization, creating high stress and high turnover in the senior leadership despite the high pay and stock allocations.

The absurd is that these CEOs would never be leaders in other companies because their leadership potential hasn’t evolved to the minimum capacity.

The big picture: Rogue CEOs are typically founders and owners with a stronghold of the board and are highly autocratic. From the outside, they run the business single-handedly.

  • Execs reporting to rogue CEOs describe their decision as impulsive.

  • These CEOs haven’t grown their potential to maturity and operate under pressure from a Self-Centric potential level, which has proven ineffective.

  • 'Win any way possible' is their motto in life and business, giving them early success and an unsustainable future.

  • Feedback is seen as an attack because they don’t trust anybody.

  • They manipulate others to protect their ego.

  • Blame and retaliation are the harsh reality of the culture.

  • Divide and concur is their leadership style. They make decisions (more often instructions) mostly 1-on-1 and avoid having tough issues in team conversations.

However, the exec team can help themselves and their CEO to change behaviors.

Kayaking with wales

I realized how to do it while kayaking with humpback whales in Moss Landing south to San Francisco.

Two humpback whales got close to us, their deep sounds vibrating through our bodies.

Our guide told us to get close together until our group of ten kayaks became as big as a whale.

The whales kept their distance, and we felt a unique moment of connection with this magnificent mammal as our anxiety was slowly fading.

Leadership teams should default every critical decision to the team and come together to break the CEO's ‘divide and concur’ pattern.

Next level potential

  • We have all been Self-Centric like these CEOs earlier in our lives, but we outgrew it and became Group-Centric when we needed to fit into sports teams, new employers, or other communities we wanted to belong to.

  • For example, if a person inherited a company and much money, he wouldn't need to try to fit in. He can even be a president one day. 

  • Rogue CEOs are stuck in this earlier potential, and if the exec team unites and acts together as one and demands behavior change, the CEO won’t have a chance.

  • CEOs can’t fire the whole executive team – don’t try to confront the CEO alone. Default to the team.

  • Decide together: When the CEO pushes you to do something that affects others, default to the team.

  • This rebellious behavior is not a coup. On the contrary, you are helping the CEO grow to the next level of potential and, in the process, saving the company.  

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