The 6 Biggest Mistakes a New CEO Could Make

The 6 Biggest Mistakes a New CEO Could Make
  • Opening Intro -

    Rising to the top position in any business takes hard work and commitment.

    Once you arrive, however, new challenges present themselves.


Taking over the CEO position for a company that’s new to you is fraught with peril. Even small missteps can have enormous repercussions, damaging the company’s results and its brand. With that, avoid the six biggest mistakes a new CEO can make.

Making Hasty Decisions

Many leaders new to their respective companies think they must immediately establish their authority by shaking up the leadership team, even going after middle managers they haven’t met yet. This can create chaos and destroy morale. Instead, take time to evaluate those in leadership positions to see if they might still fit with the vision you have for the company.

Talking Instead of Listening

The first job of a new CEO is to listen, and not just to the other members of the C-Suite. Connecting with front-line staff and getting their perspective on the challenges facing the business is critical to a new CEO’s success. The people who have direct contact with customers and clients, who run the warehouses, and who operate manufacturing machinery have a lot they want to tell you, and you should listen.

Thinking You Know It All

A painful example of serious mistakes made by a new CEO happened with JC Penney. New CEO Ron Johnson quickly implemented his own ideas for radical change at JC Penney stores without ever testing them with customers. The result was mass abandonment and a billion-dollar loss that still reverberates with the struggling retailer. When you assume a CEO position, ensure you understand the ins and outs of the company you’re overseeing.

Failing To Recognize Limitations

Making it to a CEO position requires a heavy dose of confidence. But refusing to acknowledge your own failings can be a recipe for disaster. A CEO’s behavior resonates throughout the company; an explosive personality, erratic decision-making, or a voracious need for attention will doom any CEO’s tenure.

New CEOs must seek out external perspectives on their leadership style and get suggestions for areas of growth. They also shouldn’t forget that their role is to lift up others to do their best for the company.

Turning a Blind Eye to Misbehavior

Elevating results above human decency is one of the biggest mistakes a new CEO can make. Even when a company is in crisis, allowing managers to mistreat employees in the name of productivity is destructive to success. A new CEO’s layoffs will pale in comparison to the droves of vital employees heading for the exits.

Never Taking a Break

The 24/7 workaholic is prone to micromanaging and making other costly mistakes. Losing perspective by fixating only on what’s happening inside the business will cause a new CEO to miss opportunities for innovation and makes other leaders feel as though they’ll never be able to do enough.

Top executives exhibit similar characteristics across industries, from manufacturing to non-profit leadership. These include trustworthiness, transparency, humility, decisiveness, and strong communication skills. Anyone assuming the top position in any business is well advised to remember these traits, and to avoid the most common mistakes made by new CEOs.



Image Credit: Angry boss scolding frustrated incompetent employee at workplace By fizkes FILE #: 238254064

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Categories: Business Management

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