11/10/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Lehman, AIG Chiefs Should `Man Up,' Stop `Kissing the Mirror'

Executives passing the buck for failures that sank their companies or pushed them to the brink win no sympathy from business leaders and management experts.

``They need to man up and take responsibility,'' said Warren Bennis, founder of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California and author of books including ``Leaders'' and ``On Becoming a Leader.'' ``They kept winning, believing in their own omniscience and thinking they can get away with anything.''

Chief executive officers summoned to Capitol Hill this week by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform didn't point fingers at themselves, drawing criticism from fellow chiefs.

``There are three reasons why companies go out of business and individuals go out of business: No. 1 is arrogance, No. 2 is arrogance and No. 3 is arrogance,'' said Harvey Mackay, chairman and CEO of Minneapolis-based MackayMitchell Envelope Co. and author of ``Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive'' and ``Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt.'' ``They all have chapped lips from kissing the mirror too much.''

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