10 Signs You Are A Toxic CEO

Quiet Quitting, the Great Resignation and Cancel Culture are all currently trending terms, and a lot of responsibility has been put on the employee or generation-Z for these occurrences.

But the truth is, there are many reasons employees lose loyalty, faith and motivation and it happens in businesses big and small, from start-ups to global corporations.

One of the best counter-actions to these trends is to look at the line of seniority in an organisation and to regularly ask the all-important question, “am I the problem?” as the CEO. 

As employees climbing up the greasy pole to success, we’ve all come across business leaders who make us question whether this company is in fact our final destination. Or more specifically, whether the CEO is someone we are comfortable committing our 9 to 5 to.

Much of the problem is the way a CEO behaves and engages with their subordinates, and so in this post, we’ve called upon our experiences to highlight the characteristics that do in fact make us more likely to jump ship, no matter how well our intentions might have been when first interviewing for and subsequently joining the organisation.

So let’s go. Let’s examine the main behaviours that might make you a toxic CEO and contribute to those mass-leavings, even at times when your business is going in the right direction.

1. You’re Too Involved in the Day-to-Day

Nobody likes a busy-body. Nobody also likes a CEO who thinks they can do a job better than you can. Do you have these traits? Can you truly manage at arms-length or do you feel duty-bound to meddle in the day-to-day and do you do this without making your teams question the value they bring to the business?

2. You Don’t Praise Enough

Think of employees as the key to your success. Without them, you are nothing. With that in mind, as a successful CEO you’ll attribute successes to them, and they’ll feel like a valued and integral part of the process.

3. You Aren’t Accessible

If your door isn’t always open, then employees will sweat the matters amongst their friends and accomplices. It’s very probable that one of these accomplices will eventually guide them away from your company. 

4. You Focus on the Negatives

It’s the easiest job on the planet, to critique, never forget to add something constructive to the conversation, or your opinion will never be asked for again.

5. You Don’t Lead By Example

Pulling up to the office in your Rolls Royce or taking a private jet to your work-place or holiday destination, then trying to tell the company that carbon neutrality is the most important factor of running your business, won’t add to the team’s ethos.

6. It’s Your Way or the High-way

Telling your employees the way to do things will result in a two-fingered salute. After-all, why did you employ them for their skills and expertise in the first place?

7. You Don’t Reward Your Staff

If all of the efforts are for your sole gain, it’s likely key individuals will take issue with this in the long-run. Particularly if they’ve been more key to the company’s success than you have.

8. It’s All About You

And it is, really. It’s your business. But the key is to be self-aware enough not to attribute all of the company’s success to yourself. Step back and let your employees revel in the glory of reaching your latest target.

9. You Focus on Profit, Not Value

Yes it’s ultimately about the bottom-line, but never forget the value each department and employee adds to getting to that final figure. Without them, that shareholders fund can’t be realised.

10. You Can’t See The Bigger Picture

It’s easy to get so bogged down in the day-to-day, that you forget what you are here to achieve. Whether that’s an impeccable business, a great place to work or something that just makes employees feel purposeful. Step away and remind yourself that you have a great business and a means for providing for employees who have bills to pay and holidays to enjoy.