CEO Fail: Drop-In Carpet Bomber CEO

Does this CEO failure mode sound familiar? The Drop-In Carpet Bomber CEO is too busy most of the time to pay attention to the business, but then suddenly decides that things are not going well and comes in barking orders like a marine drill sergeant. This behavior puts tremendous stress on the organization, because the CEO often hasn’t been paying enough attention to make reasonable decisions about what needs to happen. Employees are caught between doing what is best for the business and what the CEO is ordering.

Clearly, this is not a good way to engage employees. Different CEOs have different styles in terms of how much time they spend on the day-to-day operations of business. I think a fairly wide range of styles can be successful, but whatever your style it is important that you are consistent. The team needs to know how and when the CEO will engage. Otherwise, periods of hot and cold interest will cause undue strain on the organization. CEOs who learn how to balance total responsibility with limited control will avoid this failure mode.

Are You a Drop-In Carpet Bomber CEO?

  1. It is hard for your direct reports to schedule quality time with you?
  2. Do you only engage with your team when there is a problem to solve?
  3. Does your team avoid bringing you issues because they won’t like your reaction?


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