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Two Causes of CEO Disease

More than any other time in the history of mankind, we have more access to seemingly limitless knowledge. We have the answers to most, if not all, of life’s academic or intellectual questions, in our back pocket—on this powerful information device we call a smartphone.

Though exceptional leaders—legacy leaders—know that academic and intellectual knowledge is not enough to succeed or to lead well. To be an effective leader, you also need to develop and continually evolve emotionally and relationally.  

Emotional intelligence is just as important, if not more important, than intellect.

One component of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. And one inhibitor of self-awareness, I talk about often, is CEO Disease.

To be an effective leader inside your company, organization, or even your own family, you have to honestly ask yourself, Do I have CEO Disease?

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, CEO Disease, allow me to explain.

CEO Disease is when a leader exists in an information vacuum—most likely created by the leader himself or herself. In that information vacuum, people withhold important, and often unpleasant, information from the leader. This leaves the leader out of touch and out of tune. 

Two causes of CEO Disease are: zeal for good news and leadership isolation. 

1. A zeal for good news - You can understand the zeal for good news right? People like delivering good news—especially to you the leader, the boss, the jefe. It makes them feel good. Normal people don’t like being the bearer of bad news. 

A classic case of zeal for good news is:

 “Hey, how’s it going?” asks you, the CEO.

“Great!” says one of your team leads.

“Very well then,” the CEO responds. “Keep up the good work.”

Meanwhile, your market share is eroding, key people are unhappy and leaving your company, and your direct-to-customer people are treating the customer poorly. Not so great for the long-term health of your company even though the good news feels good in the moment.

2. Leadership isolation - Your team feels like you are unavailable to them. And you make yourself more and more unavailable by reacting in a less than pleasant fashion when your key people bring you less than ideal, though important, news.

Some CEOs punish the bearer of bad news. Others throw tantrums. The end result is isolation of the 
leader. People don’t want to be truthful with 
you if you can’t handle the truth well. Thus, you’ll be “leading” alone.

I suggest you take your temperature. Are you showing symptoms of CEO Disease? Get a free copy my leadership eBook Is CEO Disease Crippling Your Company? How to Diagnose and Treat It Before It’s Too Late.

Get a free copy of Dan's Leadership eBook

This leadership ebook is a practical guide to help you evaluate seven symptoms of CEO Disease. If you want to make sure you’re leading in good health, grab your free copy of my leadership eBook now

Lead well,


P.S. Don't forget to grab your free copy of my leadership eBook: Is CEO Disease Crippling Your Company? How to Diagnose and Treat It Before It’s Too Late.

Get a free copy of Dan's Leadership eBook


Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash