The loneliness of the long-distance CEO

Here is a report on a recent study of CEO health and well-being.  Unsurprisingly it finds that most CEO’s, particularly of major corporations, feel isolated, under intolerable strain, under constant scrutiny, and unsupported.  They are likely to become inward looking, to stop listening to the external world, and hence to focus on their own ambition and needs.  This outcome is a consequence of the model of the CEO as an absolute ruler of the corporate enterprise which has been adopted by mainstream management theory and practice and is beloved by the markets.  This charismatic model of the leader has long been discredited by the research: the best modern leaders function collaboratively and respect the people they work with. The pathology this study finds is entirely predictable, given the distorted assumptions and general ignorance of people that is endemic in modern approaches to the workplace. I have written about this at some length in “The Fractured Workplace And Its Remedies”, chapter 7, ‘Leading in healthy organisations’, which can be found here.

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