Blog ─ Indications when a Manager Is in over their head

One of the biggest risk investors have is, can an entrepreneur really take the company to the success as presented in the financial projections.

That's why it's important to start up as soon as possible to get a very strong board, because the Board of Directors needs to watch over the CEO/entrepreneur.

In my experience with startups, somewhere along the growth, the founder/CEO, if the company is successful, there is a possibility the company will outgrow the CEO.  After all, the founder CEO is on a continuous learning curve in managing the company. I have been involved with only one original founder that was there to take the company public.

So, what are some of the indications of a struggling CEO entrepreneur? The list is very long and has evolved over the years of my experience in all size companies. At the same time, you can’t wait for all of these characteristics to occur before taking an action. Also they are not digital but vary in different degrees.

For instance, in a company where I was on the Board of Directors, it took three Board meeting to decide to look deeper, and we did enough digging to let the CEO know, we no longer needed his services.

Here are many warning signs that a manager is headed for trouble:

  • He/she focuses on projects that won’t involve conflict.
  • He/she isn’t firm enough when his people stumble.
  • He/she is moody.
  • He/she constantly changes their mind.
  • He/she is influenced by whomever whispered in their ear last.
  • His/her attention always seems to be somewhere else.
  • He/she avoids tough customer problems.
  • He/she won’t return customer calls.
  • He/she invites their boss into the fray whenever an irate customer visits.
  • He/she keeps postponing regular meetings with superiors.
  • He/she refuses to take responsibility for problems or failures.
  • He/she continuously blames problems on others
  • He/she won’t clearly define their priorities.
  • He/she tries to slow down change.
  • He/she starts to communicate less frequently.
  • He/she takes fewer risks.
  • He/she makes decisions that defy logic.