5 actions that make CEOs' blood boil

There are a few things almost all CEOs really, really hate, according to Forbes contributor Stephen J. Meyer, CEO of the Rapid Learning Institute.

To prove it, he conducted a survey of executives and shared the results in his latest opinion piece, hoping to enlighten colleagues and employees about behaviors that drive their leaders crazy.

The list of top annoyances include:

  1. Key employees who withhold information because they think it will upset the CEO. Sixty-three percent of survey respondents said this was the action that upset them most. "…nothing is scarier to a CEO than the thought of making such a decision lacking information that somebody had but failed to disclose," Meyers wrote, noting the bigger the organization the more vulnerable the CEO is. Executives must make themselves approachable and transparent so subordinates feel comfortable always telling them the truth.  

  2. People who suddenly proclaim, after an effort failed, that they were against it all along. Almost 50 percent of respondents said they really hated this.  "You want key players on your team who are bold, who express their ideas forcefully and who embrace accountability," Meyers wrote. "'I knew this would fail' is often mere cowardice--the person fears taking risky positions and avoids doing so in a calculated way. … Don't know about you, but I don't want anyone in a key executive role that nobody listens to."

  3. Employees with a strong sense of entitlement. Almost half of CEOs said this "makes my blood boil." Meyer cited a former boss who minimalized entitlement in the workplace by screening candidates during the hiring process, nipping the problem in the bud with recruiting and onboarding.

  4. Senior executives who recommend a strategy but have no data or evidence to support it. Forty percent of CEOs really hate this, Meyer wrote, however he said he's better at telling other people to support their ideas than he is at supporting his own.

  5. People who conclude CEOs are greedy without understanding the risks they take. Most CEOs found it irksome that people resent that they make more profit from the business than anyone else, Meyer wrote. "When I was younger, I was deeply idealistic, had no understanding of risk, and thought most business people were greedy bastards, which perhaps explains why today I am a little bit intolerant of people who are--ahem--exactly like I used to be."

To learn more:
- here's the article
- check out the survey