Problems CEOs face and how to deal with them

No one can become a CEO unless he has a great sense of purpose and cares about the work he or she is hired for.

What is the most difficult skill CEO must learn? What comes to your mind when you hear it? Organizational design? Laying off employees? Hiring executives? or dealing with losses? For most CEOs, it is keeping their minds at peace. Most CEO think they are tough, but the reality is they are soft.

Problems CEOs face and why they feel bad?

No one can become a CEO unless he has a great sense of purpose and cares about the work he or she is hired for. CEOs should be accomplished and successful that other people feel proud of working for them.

No one wants to take on a job where she has to deal with politics or identify dysfunctions inside the departments. But no great thing has ever come out of a smooth path.

Sometimes, CEOs get the position without being trained at a manager, general manager or in any other role that trains you to run a company. And talking practically, the only job that can prepare you to run a company is the job of a CEO. Executive position employees do have some skills they need for the CEO position but still, they need to learn.

When you are a CEO, every employee assumes that you know the solution to every problem just because you are the CEO. Small teams are easy to manage. You can overlook their behaviours and performance. However, if you are managing a whole company with over 500 employees, it is impossible for you to manage every employee. So, at some point, you have to stop caring about the incompetency.

Seeing other people doing things in a wrong way, fighting over things which don’t make any sense to you and doing sloppy work, can make you feel bad. Other things which can make a CEO sick include a great employee leaving, missing quarterly targets or a non-competent employee promoted. All these issues are brought to you. But remember, it is not your fault. Even if you are the CEO, you cannot control everything and this is how companies run and they are still successful.

What most CEOs do

After facing these situations, CEOs often take either of the two decisions:

  • They take everything too personally
  • They don’t care

In the first case, CEOs just want to fix everything quickly. If there are too many issues, an outward focus CEO will intimidate the team. And, employees won’t feel like working anymore. On contrary, an inwardly focus CEO will feel so bad, that it will be daunting for her to come to work every day.

In the second scenario when CEOs don’t care to avoid the pain, they establish a positive attitude even for things which are bad. They think that these problems are not that bad and they don’t require any action. By using this defence mechanism, they feel less bad. The problem with this is that the CEO does not fix problems and conflicts, even the basic ones. Eventually, employees feel frustrated and trapped.

How to deal with problems

  • Talk to people who have gone through similar experiences. While it is impossible to get advice which will be your final decision, talking to experienced CEOs can help you connect the dots and make the final decision.
  • Insecurities and problems accumulate in our head then mess with our mind. Writing the whole situation down on a paper can help you make a better decision by separating you from your own psychology.
  • When you are running a company, tons of issues will arise. If you focus too much on the problems, they will mess with your mind. Fix what you can and avoid what is not in your control.


Ben Horowitz, the author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things, wrote that he has seen a lot of CEOs trying to cope with problems by drinking or quitting. All great CEOs who are successful today went through all these problems. This may sound cliche but the secret to being successful is not giving up. Most destructive conflicts among employees occur due to interpersonal shortcoming. To minimize these issues, you can hire a leadership advisory to help your employees identify their interpersonal shortcoming and eventually minimize redundant arguments and conflicts

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