The most dangerous person in an organization

… is a founder CEO who believes he (more often than ‘she’ for some reason) knows everything he needs to know to manage and grow his business and believes anyone who doesn’t perform at a high level, as per his instructions, is incompetent, stupid or lazy.

This CEO sees every personal exchange as a battle to get people to think like him and implement his (half-baked) instructions exactly as he would implement them. Through that process he manages to stifle innovation, reduce engagement, and confirm his belief that the people he hired are in fact stupid or lazy.

He is a master rationalist who is able to show that any failures on his watch are the consequence of random circumstances outside his control. He believes that the way he sees the world – his mental model of the world – is the way the world actually is and he can’t understand why the people around him don’t see it that way.

In addition to being uniquely cognizant of reality he believes he also knows “what other people don’t know” and therefore have little or nothing to contribute to strategy formulation or to the process of discovering credible solutions to the challenges the organization faces.

He complains about the lack of talent but has no idea (or desire to learn) how to identify and/or develop it. Typically, he suffers from impostor syndrome which causes him to rely on his team to deliver results that would confirm his leadership effectiveness. When those results are not forthcoming he resorts to circumstantial rationalization or employee talent failure which reinforces the drive to mediocrity.

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