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CEOs: From Untouchable to Accountable

Sep 14, 2023 | Conscious Leadership, Daily Trek

CEOs: From Untouchable to Accountable - Radical Trekking - Ayelet Baron

Evolving CEOs: From Untouchable to Accountable

Are we are witnessing a shift in the perception of CEOs from untouchable to accountable? Is it increasingly a no where to hide world or a genuine shift in attitudes that’s holding CEOs more accountable today?

But perhaps gone are the days when the top boss seemed untouchable, hailed as the hero with all the answers. Now, actions inside and outside the workplace draw attention.

The recent departure of BP’s CEO Bernard Looney illustrates this shift. Looney left amid admission of inappropriate personal relationships and not being fully transparent about them. Does his exit signal not just a leadership crisis for BP but also accountability for actions?

Some still hide. But when caught, CEOs are  most likely held responsible for:

  • Not being truthful with the board or shareholders about personal issues, like a DUI, hidden criminal history, or false credentials.
  • Forming intimate relationships with employees, contractors, or consultants.
  • Using company money in ways that raise eyebrows, even if not illegal.
  • Exhibiting objectionable personal behavior or using abusive language.
  • Saying things publicly that upset customers or communities.

Conscious Leadership

In many teams, people often know who the weakest link might be, but it’s rarely talked about. This unspoken awareness has also extended to misconduct at the executive level.

Are transparency and integrity moving to the forefront of what we expect or is there no way to hide indiscretions any more? The question isn’t just about ethical leadership; it’s also about creating cultures where CEOs are no longer able to hide what truly happens behind closed doors.

Let’s widen the lens. This shift from untouchable to accountable isn’t exclusive to BP or CEOs under scrutiny. On the edges, companies now feel pressure to serve a broader purpose than just making money. The door is opening for what we might call “conscious leaders,” those who put overall wellbeing over short-term gains.

Simply put, there’s hope that the CEO role will evolve. It’s not just about financial success; it’s about setting a healthy example, being honest, and aligning with a purpose that benefits everyone. This shift seems healthy. It allows a new kind of leadership to emerge—those who understand that their actions affect an entire community.

We have an opportunity to no longer accept things as they area. Maybe the old model of the all-powerful CEO is yielding to a more holistic approach. What happens when today’s CEOs not only manage a company but also contribute to a broader, healthier world. Balance between words and actions is a healthy way of leading ourselves and each other in a world where we lead with meaning.

“… it’s no easy matter to break the sleep of a world that’s broken every rhythm of the sacred.” —Peter Kingsley

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