5 Things CEOs Will Never Tell You

A CEO is more than just the highest paid manager in any organization. They’re the leader, the captain of the ship, and the one who sets the tone. But, they are only human which means there are certain things a CEO will never tell you. Ever wondered why? Let’s take a look.


They don’t have all the facts

Rarely will a CEO be blessed with all of the relevant facts when they’re tasked with making a decision. This is just how the role unfolds on a daily basis — they’re the ones required to make the big calls when no one else can. A good CEO will get things right nearly all of the time, but bear in mind that when they don’t, they didn’t have the benefit of hindsight that you now have.

Business moves fast and you have to be strategic about the way you think. This means you need to be proactive rather than reactive, leading rather than following. No CEO will put a caveat on each decision that they don’t have every fact they would like. That just makes them look unsure and undermines their position of authority. But it’s true, CEOs earn the most because they need to use experience and intuition to fill in the blanks sometimes.


You will definitely be promoted by the end of the year

These may be the words that you want to hear more than any in the world, so why aren’t they forthcoming? Your CEO surely wants to keep you happy, you do the job the right way, they tell you often enough. So why isn’t there anything definite put on the table?

The reason for this is pretty simple: pragmatism. Because of the speed that businesses need to evolve CEOs need to maintain maximum flexibility. If they tie themselves down with promises then they won’t be able to react to changing events. Don’t take it personally, they’re not avoiding the issue. Just keep doing the job the right way and before you know it you’ll have the position you want.


The last quarter couldn’t have gone better!

A little pat of the back is great because it boosts morale, but surely a big congratulations would be even better? Not from the CEO’s point of view.

If you get told that your performance, and that of your team, couldn’t be better than that disconnects your future performance from the CEO’s expectations. Their job is to ensure that the business continuously improves, and to do that they need to get the best out of you. Think about it. By telling you that you’ve already reached the pinnacle how would they motivate you going forward?


They’re dreading the quarterly report

No CEO will tell you their own personal feelings about the performance of the business. It’s fine for them to tell the company as a whole that they need to do better. They may even tell a few senior managers some home truths about where things have gone wrong. But a good CEO will never tell you what they think when they’re lying in bed at night.

They’re only human so they will have nerves or reservations from time to time, but their job is to lead. Never try and gain an insight into what goes on inside their heads because this won’t go down well. Respect the distance that they keep and see it as a sign of professionalism.


They have bosses too

CEOs are not the all-powerful leaders that some people will tell you they are. They have bosses too just like you. It just so happens that their bosses are shareholders and customers. They make decisions for the good of the business to keep these two groups of people happy.

The next time you feel that a decision hasn’t gone far enough or fast enough, bear in mind who your CEO ultimately answers to. This will give you some fresh insight into why they have taken the route that they have.


Top Tip for CEOs: Never Appear Secretive

The final point is more directed at CEOs themselves. Take a look at the quote below:

“I work at Trust My Paper I know that whilst there’s somethings my CEO will never tell me, she’s doing so for the best interests of the business” says Claire Haines, Content Specialist.

If you can create this type of mindset amongst your team then you’re doing a great job of communicating your vision. With so many difficult choices to weigh up and so many interested parties watching your every move, it’s vital that you appear open and transparent. If not then you run the risk of setting the wrong tone or direction for your staff.

Get it right however, and you’ll see the whole team pull together in the same direction.


Guest post courtesy of Marie Fincher

Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue 16 Media.

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