Am I Capable of Leading This Company Through Hard Times? Who Can I Talk To? 1st in a Series of 4

Barb Krantz Taylor | June 4, 2013 | Blog | CEO Advisory | 3 minute read

We all know the phrase “It’s lonely at the top”. Nowhere does this seem more applicable than with today’s CEOs.  Legitimately, there are issues that are clearly inappropriate or too risky to share with members of the Board or members of your Executive Leadership Team. Good choice for keeping that information to yourself! However, that does not preclude you from speaking to a trusted advisor outside your organization!

However, more often I find there are other, perhaps less legitimate reasons for CEOs who keep their worries and issues to themselves. My advice…if the following are the reasons you are NOT talking about what’s really on your mind, think again.

Reason #1: No one else can give me advice about this issue. These issues are too complicated to explain, or too confidential. If I can’t solve the problem, how can someone outside the organization without the background and context possibly have answers?

Think again. As CEO you are clearly an expert and know more about your company than anyone else. You have more background and context yet, the assumption here is that expertise is what you need. CEOs have tons of expertise; what they don’t have is a sounding board who is not invested in the outcome of their decisions, this is often way more valuable.

Reason #2: It won’t do any good to talk about it, I will figure it out on my own.

Think again. I have no doubt you will figure it out on your own…eventually, however talking it over with someone that has an objective point of view, hearing your thoughts outloud and having questions posed that allow you to talk about what is behind your thinking is missing. These conversations speed up your decision-making process!

In our experience, the examples above are actually things people say outloud when they justify keeping issues to themselves.  And yes, there is some truth and reality to those reasons.  But as they say, that isn’t the whole story.

The following two are things most people don’t even WANT to admit are true, but more often than not are the REAL reasons they don’t share….

Hidden  Reason #3: Talking to someone feels like I am asking for help and I feel uncomfortable asking for “help”.  It just feels wrong to do so.  Great CEOs would never ask for help.

Reality: The greatest CEOs I know are authentic and open enough to be quite comfortable opening up about complex issues that have no easy answers.  Think about it, how much respect do you have for someone who acts as if they have all the answers but clearly doesn’t?

Hidden Reason #4: No one calls me to “talk things out” so maybe I’m just not capable enough to be the CEO?  NO WAY am I going to admit that outloud!

Reality: Since your reasons are quite common, you’d be surprised how many people don’t “share” what they are really thinking and feeling.  Those thoughts and feelings, especially when negative, start to accumulate and lurk in the corners of your mind without resolution.

Conclusion: Trusted advisors are no different than you.  They simply create environments where authenticity and honesty are the rules of dialog, not competition, one upsmanship, condescension, or pity.  Trusted advisors are able to put you first for a while and concentrate on YOUR ideas, issues, questions, and possibilities.  Being a trusted advisor is one of my favorite things about being a coach.  The fact that CEOs trust me with their innermost thoughts provides me with a wonderful feeling.   The fact that CEOs have enough confidence in themselves to take the time for in-depth exploration of complex issues makes them great CEOs.

Can a coach at The Bailey Group be your trusted advisor?  Call us to find out.

Minneapolis | CEO Advisory