THE BLOG

Sound Like Your CEO?

06/28/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The June issue of the Harvard Business Review has a brief article in the Forethought section titled "Ten Fatal Flaws That Derail Leaders" by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman that describes the result of their research on 450 Fortune 500 executives. If you work in a large media company today, I'll bet when you read the ten flaws, you'll think it describes a CEO you know about -- even your own.

Read the ten flaws, post a comment (obviously using a synonym) and state the name of the media executive and the flaws that match him or her.

* Lack energy and enthusiasm. They see new initiatives as a burden, rarely volunteer, and fear being overwhelmed. One such leader was described as having the "ability to suck all of the energy out of any room."

* Accept their own mediocre performance. They overstate the difficulty of reaching targets so that they look good when they achieve them. They live by the mantra "Underpromise and overdeliver."

* Lack of clear vision and direction.. They believe their only job is to execute. Like a hiker who sticks close to the trail, they're fine until they come to a fork.

* Have poor judgment. They make decisions that colleagues and subordinates consider to be not in the organization's best interests.

* Don't collabórate. They avoid peers, act independently, and view other leaders as competitors. As a result, they are set adrift by the very people whose insights and support they need.

* Don't walk the talk. They set standards of behavior or expectations of performance and then violate them. They're perceived as lacking integrity.

* Resist new ideas. They reject suggestions from subordinates and peers. Good ideas aren't implemented, and the organization gets stuck.

* Don't learn from mistakes. They may make no more mistakes than their peers, but they fail to use setbacks as opportunities for improvement, hiding their errors and brooding about them instead.

* Lack interpersonal skills. They make sins of both commission (they're abrasive and bullying) and omission (they're aloof, unavailable, and reluctant to praise).

* Fail to develop others. The focus on themselves to the exclusion of developing subordinates, causing individuals and teams to disengage.

Do any of the flaws apply to the CEO of a media company you know of or to your CEO? Post a comment (obviously using a synonym) and leave the name of the media executive and the flaws that match him or her. One thing not mentioned in the HBR article is that most CEOs are disgustingly overpaid - certainly most major media company CEOs are. You can add that to your list, i.e. Barry Diller - Doesn't learn from mistakes, fails to develop others, and is disgustingly overpaid.

Post your list; it probably won't change anything, but you'll feel a whole lot better.