The Hardest Thing I Have To Tell CEOs
It seems all through my working life, I have had to tell CEOs how it is…
As some of you would be aware, I have spent a reasonable amount of time as a CEO. So, I do have some insight here regarding what I am about to say next.
The bottomline: you should always tell your CEO or leader how it is, but in a constructive manner. However, that is not the purpose of my post today (but, this is something you need to ruminate on 🤔)
These days as a consultant, as it was for me when I was a humble employee, I have/had to tell CEOs how it is.
The hardest thing to tell them though is this: “no I cannot do that for you, as you are the only one, the only person who can undertake that particular task.”
There are certain tasks that only the CEO, the chairperson, the leader, director, team manager and so on can do, because it is to do with their experience, their perspective. Although you may assist them through understanding them and teasing out what is inside their heads, ultimately, you do not know their true underlying sense of being, despite appreciating the type of person they are, including the values and ethics they have and so on.
So, how do I let them down gently? Firstly, in an even handed way (I have reviewed this matter for you, however, I need to let you know…). Secondly, with the facts (As you know, you have been involved with this matter from day one, whereas there are some matters I have not been exposed to, including…) and lastly with sound reasoning (this is an issue that only you can respond to as you are the one that has the required insights the others need to know..). Your explanation doesn’t have to be overly long, but it does need to be balanced (perhaps these are some of the pros and cons that you need to consider…) and in a cooperative tone (I am happy to assist you further where I can). They may not appreciate what you say at the time, but over the long haul, you are the one they will trust when the chips are down.