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Broken Pedestals: The Dark Sides of 7 Popular CEOs

Updated Feb 21, 2023

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A CEO is constantly under immense stress and pressure to adjust to society’s demands, eliminate competitors and generate massive profits. The best CEOs demonstrate strong values from the start, allowing for consistent leadership, dynamism and long-term growth. However, not all CEOs can manage the countless hours, criticism and ethical issues with grace.

Behind some of the world’s most famous companies, you’ll often find a dark side to their CEOs. Corner-cutting, a toxic work culture and arrogance can lead to a lack of transparency and a blatant disregard for regulatory procedures, the consequences of which can be costly. Some well-known leaders have managed to survive their scandals, while others have found their careers in tatters.

CEO dos and dont’s

Looking at the above CEOs, it’s easy to covet their successes and want none of their failures. Being the head of a company isn’t a walk in the park. You’re expected to raise profits and improve relations between managers and employees. The gig requires long hours and forces you to continually face moral and financial challenges. It’s no wonder that some end up burning out.

Fortunately, you can glean lessons from the mistakes of those who’ve come before you. We’ve also compiled our own top tips for business executives taking on this sought-after leadership role.

What should a good CEO do?

  • Give employees freedom and empower your staff to become self-sufficient. You don’t have the time to answer everyone’s questions. Let employees find solutions themselves. A good CEO gives others the opportunity to speak up and try out new ideas.
  • Keep an open mind. While a CEO should focus on the big picture, that doesn’t mean ignoring smaller puzzle pieces. Don’t always hide in your office or make yourself unavailable to your managers and employees. Learn how to be an inspirational leader.
  • Maintain a network of mentors. You may assume a CEO should always have all the answers, but it’s normal to feel isolated and underqualified. Seek out a trusted individual as a confidant, and take time to talk with business professionals who have been there and done that.
TipBottom line

Keep in touch with those in your LinkedIn network and wider professional circle to gain valuable industry knowledge and be the first to learn when an opportunity arises.

What should a good CEO not do?

  • Forget to delegate. Being a CEO means you wear multiple hats within the company, but your team is only as strong as its weakest link. Concentrate on hiring qualified departmental leadership so you can delegate and check in instead of doing everything yourself.
  • Cut benefits. Your workforce is the lifeblood of the company. Before taking benefits and equipment away, think about how you can cut costs in other areas such as business trips and unnecessary inventory. Prioritize keeping employees satisfied.
  • Be afraid to change up leadership. It’s not uncommon to put someone in a leadership position and quickly find out that they are not qualified for the job, toxic to company culture or aren’t a good fit. Don’t leave the wrong leaders in place for too long, or you will risk hampered productivity and increased turnover.

Kade Call contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.

Julie Thompson
Contributing Writer
Julie Thompson is a professional content writer who has worked with a diverse group of professional clients, including online agencies, tech startups and global entrepreneurs. Julie has also written articles covering current business trends, compliance, and finance.
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