As a senior executive leader, if you work in a highly visible organization, in particular those that are taxpayer or privately funded or a highly competitive commercial corporation, then expect that your public and private life will be seen and judged against diverse moral, legal, and ethical standards. We all make mistakes. That is why all senior executive leaders should develop and maintain a transparent system so that honest minor mistakes can be handled without fanfare.
Of note, senior executive leaders are also exposed to a variety of stresses and temptations. Stresses we are familiar with, but frequently senior leaders are caught short when they fail to plan for worse case scenarios. How those stresses (challenges and obstacles) are handled, determine in large part the strength and flexibility of our character. Letting emotions or poorly thought-out reactions to an unexpected or unwelcome event, is not often productive.
We are also tempted more as senior executive leaders than the basic, junior leader. People are attracted to those in power; the good and the bad. Great care and maturity is to be exercised. Too many exceptional senior executive leaders have resigned their positions or have their employment terminated for giving into simple human weaknesses. Plan to proactively shield yourself from temptation.
At the end of the day, we still “live in a fishbowl” and must realize that despite the power and prestige that comes with senior executive leaders positions, people see what you are doing. We are not exempt from a basic code of conduct. It is too easy to succumb to those stresses and temptations. To recognize this reality is good. To be unhappy with it or throw up barriers to it, will serve little purpose and place you at a disadvantage.
We need to simply get over the fact that this is the reality of senior executive leaders.
The next characteristic to discuss will be that senior executive leaders must “build and maintain trust and confidence.”