The Psycho CEO

In recent conversations, two people used the term `psycho’ to describe a CEO they’ve worked with in two separate organizations. Strong word, don’t you think?
In both cases, the term referred to the following behaviours that were demonstrated both in public and private: yelling, belittling, emotional outbursts, overt mood swings and overall unpredictability.
In the `old days’ (even as late as 5-10 years ago), such behaviours would be viewed as acceptable – albeit undesirable – conduct of someone in power. Especially if that someone brought in good business results.
The landscape has changed dramatically in recent years and organizations are expected to uphold a much higher `duty of care’. The Psycho CEO’s patterns of behaviour qualify as `psychological harassment’, a term now specifically prohibited under new legislation in the provinces of Quebec and Saskatchewan (and coming soon, I’m sure, to a province near you!).
One of the two people who were sharing this with me, a vice-president who was hand-picked for the role a mere six months earlier, was actively seeking another job. The other had left the organization where the `psycho CEO’ reigned and found a calmer and emotionally healthier job in an organization led by a consensus-builder CEO.
When people experience their CEO to be `psycho’ the effects ripple throughout the organization. No one feels safe or protected. The terrain is a free-for-all, anywhere, anytime. Many leave. Especially the best and brightest.
And those who stay? They remain at work, but their bodies continuously release excessive amounts of adrenaline and cortisol into their blood stream. These high and sustained levels of hormones expose them to many risks, amongst which are increased chance of disease, bad judgement calls, mistakes and mood disorders such as depression.

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.


Access free learning tools, articles and other resources for you and your team.

REAL™ Solutions for Abrasive Leaders

Find out how you, as a senior executive or HR leader, can help restore the effectiveness of an abrasive leader.

Training Services

Discover how our training programs will energize and grow your people.

Organizational Solutions

Find out how we can help you with organizational development and initiatives.
Copyright © 2015 Bar-David Consulting. All Rights Reserved. Website by Geist Creative.