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Get a load of this clueless CEO!

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

I found this month’s winner of our Worst Communicator Award while watching an interview with Kevin Hillstrom, CEO of MineThatData. No, it’s not Kevin, and he doesn’t name the culprit, so I’ll simply refer to the person as “CEO.”

During the interview, Kevin describes this scenario:

He was chatting with a co-worker near a partition. Behind the partition, his boss and CEO were talking about a business need. Kevin’s boss was quick to say that Kevin could fill that need. However, CEO objected, saying that while Kevin was a “nice guy” and a good analyst, he had no business or communication skills, and he went on to say that they should hire an MBA to fill the role.

CEO failed here on several counts: He spoke ill of an employee in a public place where others could hear him. He criticized an employee without offering specific examples, using only vague generalities. And don’t get me started on the fact that he wanted to hire a new employee rather than coach his internal staff.

The criticism was a blow to Kevin, who believed he was doing a good job, and that’s the worst part. CEO hadn’t provided any feedback to help him improve his performance. While the conversation definitely should have happened behind closed doors, had CEO done his job as a leader, his comments wouldn’t have been a surprise to Kevin.

Takeway: If employees’ behavior or lack of skills or knowledge is hurting them, tell them. Furthermore, provide them with the training and coaching they need to meet your expectations.

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