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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Top Ten Most Annoying Things CEOs Say

I’ve interviewed and coached hundreds of people who don’t sit in the CEO chair. And here are the completely un-scientific results of the CEO behaviors that annoy them most.

1. “It’s true because I said it’s true.” (Sometimes called the “unsupported assertion”)
2. “That sounds just like what we did in 1970…let me tell you about it…” (yawn.)
3. “I am the best damn ____ there ever was!” (Who cares?)
4. “Why don’t you do it this way…” (best way to promote either defensive behavior or employee mindlessness)
5. “I always invite discussion… after I’ve offered my thoughts.” (Everyone knows that discussion ends when the CEO opens their mouth… except CEO’s).
6. “Let’s go to lunch.” (Isn’t it interesting that it’s the same people that go every time?)
7. “I’m sure you meant well, but…” (Just say what’s on your mind)
8. “Hey, got a minute?” (Actually no, because I’m working on an impossible deadline…”)
9. “Wouldn’t it be great if…” (I’m still working on your last great idea…)
10. “So, I think so-and-so is upset about something… could you do a little digging for me…” (Great. Now I get to be the rat. Deal with your own issues!).

I can poke at the CEO underbelly because I’ve been one. And, I also believe that we are all CEO’s of our own lives and within our own circle of influence… so the list really applies to all. What would you add?

And, a good question for all of us might be… “What would a wise CEO say (or do) in this situation?”