Who looks after the leaders? Many times in my career as a CEO I have been thrown into combative situations. Whether it’s an unfounded malicious and vexatious employee claim; an unethical supplier trying to seize an unfair advantage; a contract gone wrong; or a vengeful third party – whenever I have won, my boards have expected me to simply dust off and immediately get back to focusing on matters at hand.
The laws of our country appear to be built to protect employee’s rights, to guard against unscrupulous employers. So often it can be forgotten or overlooked that the CEO is also an employee. He or she is also owed a duty of care. The law in Australia allows false and unfounded claims to be made in pursuit of some settlement or pay out with no redress when the claims are proven false or thrown out. Certain parts of the legal profession and certain regulatory bodies have also enabled this mentality.
So what? CEOs get paid high salaries to compensate. There is no compensation for the mental health damage to good people, good leaders who are moulded to weather the storm, grin and bear it, suck it up or batten down the hatch. It is time we recognised that leaders are not robots. Leaders are human first. If we expect our leaders to be conscious leaders and to inspire, we need to look after them as well. Every board should ensure their CEO has a coach for accountability, validation and support. If not, why not?