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Advanced Leadership Consulting | We maximize the effectiveness of executives, executive teams and organizations.
Carl Robinson, Ph.D. on Leadership
Carl Robinson, Ph.D.
We help maximize the effectiveness of individuals and organizations by helping them improve their ability to lead, work together, select and develop their people. Some of our related business services include: executive coaching, executive team coaching and executive assessments for development and selection.
Carl Robinson, Ph.D., Managing Principal
Seattle, Washington
Study Shows That CEOs Are Awful Managers
How Are Your People Management Skills? What the Board Thinks…
What is the likelihood the people in your organization don’t feel as though you know how to relate to them? According to a recent study by the Center for Leadership Development and Research at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, it’s actually pretty high, especially if your board thinks like the majority of those in the poll.
The results of the 2013 CEO Performance Evaluation Survey were derived from a polling of 160 CEOs and directors of both public and private North American firms, in which Directors were asked to evaluate the performance of their CEOs—something which a notable number (10%) had yet been asked to do. Among the many conclusions drawn, the most prominent and problematic was the overwhelming lack of confidence in a CEO’s ability to manage people effectively due to being “too” focused on the bottom-line.
The Results
When participating directors were asked what they viewed as the top challenge or issue with their respective CEOs, two answers tied for top spot—“mentoring top talent” and “board engagement.” In both cases, directors felt CEOs were lacking in these areas. In other words, CEOs in general are so focused on the bottom-line, they have a hard time relating to employees and working on developing the talent necessary to carry their organizations into the future.
Supporting results include: 
  • Only 27% of directors feel their CEOs greatest strengths include compassion/empathy
  • Only 23% of directors feel their CEOs greatest strengths include mentoring skills/developing internal talent
  • Only 23% of directors feel their CEOs greatest strengths include listening skills
  • Only 22% of directors feel their CEOs greatest strengths include sharing leadership/delegation skills
  • An absurdly low number of directors feel their CEOs greatest strengths include conflict management
  • On the flip side, directors indicate decision-making skills at the top of the strengths list almost across the board
These results plainly demonstrate that, at least the CEOs evaluated in this survey, have an obvious disconnect from their workforce and an inability to relate to them in a way they could effectively establish a connection without real change.
The Real Problem
The issue that is clearly apparent in the results is the schism between expectations and reward. When these same directors were asked about the weight given to management tasks, “accounting, operating, or stock performance” was given 41%, while people management objectives such as succession planning was given only 5%. Balanced? Hardly. Yet, directors and boards alike agree in the majority to a balanced approach to financial and non-financial measurements in the evaluation process.
Yet, the challenge that plagues these and many other organizations is identifying the right metrics for evaluating those nonfinancial tasks. In a statement to Forbes, Stanford’s David Larcker, co-director of the Center for Leadership Development, said, “Amid growing calls for integrating reporting and corporate social responsibility, companies are still behind the times when it comes to developing reliable and valid measures of nonfinancial performance metrics.”
What to do…
Even if you are the very best CEO with regard to the bottom-line, if you don’t develop your people, your legacy will not live long. To lead, you must get people to follow the example you set. But they must trust, watch, and listen in order to get those messages; and if you’re unable to effectively communicate, understand your people and what drives them, and therein develop the next generation of leaders, whatever you accomplish today will be near impossible to maintain in the years to come.
Advanced Leadership Consulting  •  2815 Eastlake Ave., E, Suite 300  •  Seattle, WA 98102
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