I spoke recently with a colleague about the organizational damage done by CEOs whose egos outweigh their management and people skills. Rather than creating a legacy of their greatness, these executives often leave a toxic workplace in their wake.
“If a leader with a big ego and threatening manner takes over, employees become focused on satisfying the leader instead of focusing on the organization’s mission. … Big threatening egos produce apathy as they focus on the ‘me’ instead of ‘we.’ They refocus most people on protecting themselves from the wrath of egos. Hardly the path to success.” Kate Nasser in a post about leadership.
Ultimately, as my colleague pointed out, “The organization’s culture should be bigger than any one person.” The good news is most organizations are resilient and can survive such executives.
But at what cost?
The fallout is low morale, high disengagement, and high turnover that result in a weakened internal brand struggling to retain or attract talent. With the right leader in place, however, the organization can recover.
It just takes a lot longer for employees who had to suffer through the former CEO’s reign of terror.