What Never To Say To A CEO

What Never To Say To A CEO

“Can I talk to you for two minutes?”

Your team member comes to you. You are a busy CEO, and you also care. You want to listen, to help, to understand.

Yet CEOs have so many things coming at them, each day. When a team member asks for an unscheduled meeting, it can really throw us off. Especially if we don’t know what it’s about.

Thoughts that come to mind are: Is this person’s health okay? Are they, and their families well? Does a family member need them to move? Is there going to be a transition?

We care.

And we hear “two minutes,” and we are concerned.

As a CEO, there is one thing I do know. It rarely takes two minutes.

A thoughtful, caring conversation needs space. While a meeting can be 15 minutes, from my experience it often turns into 30 minutes or more to discuss whatever the issue is. At least it is if we are being the type of leaders we want to be, which is fully present.

Allow us to prepare. Allow us to be the best leaders we can be. Let us know in advance generally what the meeting is about, so we can carve out the right amount of time–and right timing–to hear you.

Then we’ll be giving you a lot more than two, 15, or 30 minutes. We’ll be giving more of ourselves and a deeper commitment to this important conversation. 

[Image: Flickr user Matthew]PH