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  • David Dotlich & Peter Cairo

'Why CEOs Fail'


The book is all about the 11 behaviours that can derail a CEOs climb to the Top....and of course how professionals need to manage them. Leadership failure is a behavioural phenomenon, it doesn't 'just happen'. Leaders fail because who they are and how they act in certain situations. This book is based on experiences and on a psychological view of leadership. It heavily relies on the work of Robert Hogan (leadership derailers).

Competent leaders by empirical evidence have four characteristics in common... 1. They have high integrity 2. They are decisive 3. They are competent in business 4. They are Visionary.

A common reason for failure of senior leaders was their inability to build or maintain a team. The bedrock cause lay beneath the surface - that many leaders unknowingly diminish their ability to execute.

The 11derailing behaviours are...

1. Arrogance

2. Melodrama...a desire to be under limelight and always grab the centre of attention

3. Volatility and unpredictable mood swings and temperamental behaviour

4. Excessive Caution and precautions risk averse behavior

5. Habitual Distrust...focus is only on negatives, mistakes and goals missed.

6. Aloofness that leads to disengagement and disconnection.

7. Mischievous...breaks the rules that he expects others to comply by.

8. Eccentricity...fun to be different just for the sake of it.

9. Passive Resistance

10. Perfectionism ...desire to get even the little things right even if the time and cost spent to do these small things right would defeat the larger purpose

11. Eagerness to please as if to win popularity contest.

Whist these are general behavioural patterns, they generally tend to emerge under stress more. Critical point is to identify conditions which render the person vulnerable to stress and hence behave in such derailing pattern.

The authors encourage leaders to often take a walk around their dark sides and in the process get to know themselves better.

A chapter dedicated to each of these derailers in the book helps the reader understand the real nuances and dimensions of each if these behaviours in depth. Amongst other things how leaders should avoid falling into the trap of their vulnerabilities. This is indeed helpful for someone who is reading the book for self study and self development.

The last chapter is very interesting. It veers and steers the discussion around the diatribe...'Why CEOs Succeed' !!!. It also recommends coaching tips which would be very helpful.

It is a good read. Investing time to seriously read only 150 pages but in return gain so much knowledge about derailing and succeeding behaviours...I would say is a great investment. Will rate it 4/5.


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