For ambitious workers who dream of one day becoming a chief executive officer, they should know that it may not be all they expect it to be. According to a poll of 83 CEOs in the United States, conducted by management consulting firm RHR International, being the boss brought with it feelings of isolation and job requirements that varied greatly from their original expectations. While 87 per cent of CEOs felt they were prepared for the demands of the position, 54 per cent of respondents reported that the requirements of being a CEO were different then they expected. Those numbers only increased when looking at first-time c-suite executives. According to the research, 91 per cent of first-time CEOs felt they were prepared for the position, but 72 per cent reported the actual expectations of the job being different than they had anticipated.
Another challenge for many CEOs comes from the isolation that the position brings. According to the survey, 50 per cent of CEOs felt secluded in the position and of this group, 61 per cent felt that this seclusion was a hindrance to their performance. Not surprisingly, first-time CEOs were more negatively affected by this loneliness, with 70 per cent reporting that it hurt them in their ability to do their job.
“This is not uncommon,” said Thomas Saporito, chairman and CEO at RHR International. “Stress, pressure and loneliness all combine to create a job unlike any other they have previously had.”
The survey also challenged the popular notion regarding toxic relationships between CEOs and the board of directors. According to the research, 98 per cent of CEOs stated they had a good relationship with their boards of directors. Additionally, 95 per cent of respondents believed that their board supported many of the decisions they made, while 59 per cent cited the board of directors as the most trusted source for feedback.
“While some CEOs have poor relationships with their boards, it’s clear the majority don’t fall into this category,” Saporito said. “The ones who do are simply the ones that make for good press.”
The information in this report is the result of the survey conducted by RHR International, a group of management psychologists and consultants who work with management in order to improve performance within organisations. The executives in the survey presided over companies with annual revenues ranging from $50 million to $2 billion.