Isolation & "CEO Disease"

The issues associated with leadership isolation have been written on many, many times.  Of all the issues the one that seems the least mentioned is CEO Disease.  This is, however, a chronic condition that requires continuous treatment. 

But, what is CEO Disease?  This is the condition that all leaders suffer from.  The condition happens when the people that report to the leader deliver information that they think the leader wants to hear.  If left untreated the leader will fail!  How can we make decisions without correct and complete information?  Those who report to us are doing what they believe is appropriate behavior, delivering what they think the leader wants to hear.  This is normal and accepted in all organizations around the world if not addressed.  Good reports want to do what is best and right, so they decide what the leader wants to hear and respond accordingly.  However, the leader’s decisions are only as good as the information they have at the time.  We all remember the story of “The king has no clothes”.

To treat this, the leader must communicate what information they should receive over and over again.  Many businesses do this through customer satisfaction surveys, skip level evaluations, employee surveys, just “walking the floor” and so on.  How do you treat this chronic condition?

The CEO disease has created more business failures than anyone really knows about.  The number one condition that proceeds a business failure is success.  This is an amazing fact that exemplifies that the information the leader receives is incomplete or false.   

One of the ways a leader can behave to combat CEO disease is a pointed description of Jesus from John 1:14.  He came to us full of grace and truth.  This great leadership example can do a great deal to treat CEO disease.  The CEO that leads with the fullness of both grace and truth is showing everyone else how to communicate properly.  In an organization where grace and truth abound, fear of reprisals is all but eliminated so the complete truth becomes normal and expected.

If you want to learn more about how to eliminate isolation in your leadership, or are interested in ongoing business and leadership skill-development, consider joining a Convene Peer Advisory Group.  

Matthew Fullerton.jpg

About the Author

Matthew Fullerton

Matthew gained a broad range of experience in the hospitality industry before leaving to join a company that provided computer systems to that industry. Matthew quickly became a principal at Merchants Systems, increasing sales exponentially while developing and executing a business plan that led to multi-state operations.

Matthew is passionate about business and helping leaders live the abundant life God has planned for them. To learn more about his coaching practice and connect with Matthew, view his profile or email him: