While I lack a background in psychology or psychiatry studies, having come from an engineering and business graduate school, I find myself reflecting upon the unbridled and boundary-less actions of a CEO of a small NPS company in the picturesque Netherlands. The actions of a CEO who attempts to abuse those who think differently online place their own company in an unfavourable position and show their employees, partners, and even customers what can happen if they express opinions contrary to the authoritarian CEO.
Diverse perspectives serve as a significant asset to any organization, fostering robust discussions and enabling a comprehensive understanding of various viewpoints, which ultimately underpins the success of both customer experiences and businesses at large.
An unrestrained and unprepared leader, lacking respect even for their own company, sets a negative example of restraint and respect for both employees and individuals they don’t know. What are the consequences when company leaders engage in intimidating behaviours, and how can we explain such poor judgment? In a manner reminiscent of certain historical leaders in Europe with controversial and authoritarian approaches. Recently this individual extended a connection invitation on LinkedIn expressing discontent with a colleague article about NPS. In his perspective, apparently, he alone holds the absolute truth, and any divergence of opinion prompts attempts to convey his views through intimidation trying to make you look bad in a very distorted form and clearly intending to hurt your reputation. It is disconcerting to witness a lack of professional discourse for a CEO, nothing that a mature exchange commonly referred to as a ‘conversation and different opinions.’ That often have the potential to enrich us all. This scenario evokes memories of the bad American TV show, “Hulk Hogan Knows Best.” Regardless of who is right or wrong, communicating with respect and maturity is imperative in any level.
Contemplating such behaviour underscores the distressing phenomenon of self-aggrandizement. However, I aim to explore potential motivations behind this unsettling conduct and, ultimately, offer insights to assist not only this situation but also others in avoiding such unwanted way of communicating.
Khris, Created on midjourney
It is worth noting that engaging in bullying, intimidation and malignant behaviour initiatives often reveal more about the perpetrator personality than the target.
For those who have persevered through this narrative, your commitment is acknowledged. After all, true courage extends beyond the comfort of one’s desk. In the conclusion, you will understand what led me to write this piece.
In the realm of corporate leadership, we are accustomed to the image of CEOs as the stalwarts of mature decision-making, visionaries who steer their organizations with grace and integrity. Some great examples, Safra Catz, Zig Serafin , Barak Eilam , Geoffrey Godet , Marc Benioff , Kye Hyun Kyung , Bill McDermott among so many others that we admire.
These leaders are often seen as pillars of strength, embodying values such as respect, openness, and a willingness to embrace diverse perspectives. A hallmark of effective leadership is the ability to foster an environment where a spectrum of views is not only acknowledged but celebrated, recognizing that each viewpoint contributes to a richer, more robust decision-making process. In this landscape, the best CEOs are those who navigate challenges with a deft hand, valuing collaboration and creating a culture where innovation thrives.
Yet, as we delve into the dynamics of executive c-suite leadership, we occasionally encounter extreme deviations from this undefined norm—CEOs whose behaviours depart from the expected standards of professionalism and mutual respect. Although in their mission statement ‘’respect for individual’’ is mentioned. This exploration prompts us to examine instances where egocentric approaches, defensiveness, and even bullying tactics emerge, challenging the very foundations of what we expect from those at the helm. Such departures prompt a critical inquiry into the impact of leadership behaviours on organizational culture and the well-being of those within its sphere of influence and the outsiders since the CEO normally leads by example. Although not always happen as we all contemplate in one way or another abuse cases by top leadership . There is also bully, discriminatory, islamophobics, and antisemites CEO’s but we all know it is very rare specially in serious companies, at least in my professional experience. But derails happen specially for people unprepared to leadership positions that aim to harm others showing their real weak personality, outside or inside organizations.
It’s important to note that individual behaviour can vary widely, and there isn’t a single explanation that fits all cases. However, there are several potential reasons why a CEO of a small emerging company might engage in bullying, harassment, tactics to ‘’humiliate’ behaviour when faced with disagreement or other viewpoints that his own. Let’s think together why someone would do that as he also damages his persona and try to do that to others, since certain actions shows more about the Harasser then the other person being bullied.
Here are some potential reasons for this kind of mental behaviour:
1. Insecurity and inflated Ego: Some individuals may feel threatened by dissenting opinions, leading them to react with aggression or bullying behaviour. This can stem from personal insecurities about their abilities or decisions. Or even long traumas or simply for being a terrible individual. Or simply a inflated ego – since discussion often works better then abuse or other unsuccessful trials of shaming the other as in this ‘’smart’’ psycho case.
2. Control and Lack of Self Control – Issues: A CEO who feels a strong need for control might respond aggressively to any challenge to their authority or decisions or bread and butter as it happen. Bullying may be a way for them to maintain a sense of dominance and control over the rhetoric, and all actions generate reactions… always. They get mad when you think differently so they want to intimidate or humiliate you as we all saw in Germany during the second world war.
3. Lack of Leadership Skills: Some individuals may lack the necessary leadership skills to navigate disagreements effectively. Instead of fostering a culture of open communication and collaboration everywhere, they may resort to bullying as a way to suppress dissent and intimidate.
4. Stress and Pressure: The stress and pressure associated with running a small company can sometimes manifest in negative behaviours. A CEO under significant stress may be more prone to reacting impulsively and aggressively. Which also demonstrate their leadership skills or lack of it.
5. Unhealthy Organizational Culture: If a culture of bullying is tolerated or even encouraged within the organization, the CEO may adopt and perpetuate such behaviour outside too since he can do whatever he thinks in his mind, after all ‘’he is the boss’’ in his understanding. This could be a result of past experiences and the influence of others anywhere. I know influencers in the UK that would contribute to that bias. But even if you heard something, you should be able to form your own judgment not assuming that gossip is right and to behave professionally.
6. Lack of Emotional Intelligence: Some individuals may have lower levels of emotional intelligence, making it difficult for them to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as those of others. This can lead to inappropriate responses in challenging situations. Also, some individuals hear what others say and believe it so start to hate others without knowing, what is very sick behaviour but happens a lot. Meaning he have not the right judgement skills to decide by his self.
A great quote from this actor fits perfectly in this situation. 🙂 There are sick people everywhere.
7. Bullying at the Core: Some individual may attempt to humiliate or intent to hurt others reputation of individuals who hold different views on the same subject that he works on and intimidates anyone challenging his perspectives. –Not common for professional CEOs that inspire us all.
8. Suffering from mental issues: Today as we know many people can have mental problems.
Khris, Created on midjourney
Deciphering Implications of Leader Malevolent Behavior
Employees Perspective and Impact
What Does This Mean for any Company Employees, partners and customer that see this kind of behaviour by a leader?
1. Fear of Retaliation: Employees and people connected with this individual may fear reprisals, if they speak out against a CEO views or other authority figure. Retaliation could take the form of job loss, or simply exclusion from opportunities within the organization. So, by doing this he is creating a culture of ‘’maybe I will hold my ideas’’ for his team. Not a smart strategy for a CEO.
2. Job Insecurity: Individuals may be concerned about the stability of their jobs and the mental health of the abusive person, especially in smaller companies that have headcount up to 100+- people, which is the case here, where the impact of disagreements can be more immediate. This fear of economic consequences may lead them to refrain from taking a stand in anything.
3. Power Imbalance: The hierarchical structure of many organizations can create a significant power imbalance between leaders and employees. This power dynamic can make it challenging for employees to challenge or confront a CEO without fear of negative consequences. Intimidations kills innovation, and growth.
4. Cognitive Dissonance: People may experience cognitive dissonance when faced with evidence that contradicts their beliefs or the positive image they have of their CEO. To reduce this discomfort, they may rationalize or minimize the severity of the CEO’s behaviour.
5. Groupthink: In some cases, employees and outsiders may conform to the opinions and attitudes of their peers to maintain group cohesion. This conformity can be particularly strong if there is a perceived social or professional cost to expressing dissent.
6. Loyalty: Employees may feel a sense of loyalty to the CEO, especially if they have worked closely together for an extended period. Loyalty can cloud judgment and make it difficult for individuals to acknowledge or speak out against misconduct.
7. Lack of Awareness: Some employees may not be fully aware of the extent of the CEO’s inappropriate behaviour. They might not have witnessed it directly or may be shielded from negative information, leading to a lack of awareness, or understanding.
8. Organizational Culture: In environments where a toxic or authoritarian culture is tolerated or even encouraged, employees may be more likely to accept or overlook inappropriate behaviour from leadership figures.
9. Dependence on the CEO: If employees are dependent on the CEO for career advancement, mentorship, or other benefits, they may be hesitant to criticize or take a stand against them.
10. Legal and HR Concerns: Employees may be unsure of the proper channels to address their concerns, and fear that taking a stand could have legal or human resources implications. This uncertainty can lead to inaction.
11. Legal actions: People may take legal actions for bully, defamation, and harassment.
12 .The Impact of public intimidation for customers and partners: Equals Churn!
The impact of public intimidation by partners and customers on the CEO’s company can be significant. The perception of the CEO may be negatively influenced, leading to a decline in trust and confidence from both partners and customers. The public intimidation may tarnish the company’s reputation, potentially resulting in a loss of business relationships and customer trust. Partners and customers may view the CEO as unprofessional, and the company may face challenges in retaining existing partnerships and attracting new clients. Additionally, there could be financial repercussions as a result of decreased business and potential legal consequences. Overall, the consequences of public intimidation by the CEO can extend beyond just the immediate partners and customers, affecting the company’s overall standing in the business community.
Certainly. It’s important to recognize that there are different dynamics at play when it comes to employees, partners and customers related to the company and external individuals, such as connections on professional networks. Here’s a breakdown:
Simple Connections (External Individuals):
The phenomenon of individuals outside the company supporting a CEO despite evidence of inappropriate abusive behaviour can evoke historical analogies, such as the Nazi era or the Iranian regime, where millions stood silent, and we already know the dire outcomes. Today, like cancel culture, which is common in the US. This comparison highlights the concepts of suppression and the extreme consequences often associated with it, such as ‘agree or die. In both situations, fear of reprisals and a culture of silence played a role in allowing misconduct to persist.
In the age of LinkedIn, social media and other professional networks, individuals may witness and interact with a CEO’s behaviour from the outside. Fear of public shaming, online harassment, or damage to one’s professional reputation may deter external individuals from speaking out.
Cognitive Dissonance and Lack of Accountability:
People outside the organization may experience cognitive dissonance when confronted with evidence of a CEO’s misconduct. Lack of direct involvement in the company’s internal affairs can contribute to a sense of detachment and a perception that they are not accountable for the CEO’s actions.
Everyone expects a mature person leading a company, and the concerning abusive behaviour exhibited by this the ceo lets call him as A-bordam raises many doubts about several issues. Given the circumstances, it’s advisable to steer clear; numerous superior alternatives underscore the significance of mature leadership in the industry. Here are some better options: Qualtrics , Medallia , NICE , Verint InMoment , Forsta SMG – Service Management Group so many great and better alternatives with inspiring leaders. Always check a company’s balanced leadership before engaging. Knowing who is steering will guide your company in the right direction with positive intentions with a great customer, employee and partner experience toward growth. The behavior of the CEO is crucial!
Those companies boast exceptional leadership, and I would recommend any of them with the exception of one:
Joe Tyrrell Chris Caldwell John J. Lewis are a few examples, among many others, of real leaders in maturely-behaved companies and leadership. Don’t take risks with your organization. Leadership behavior matters!
Extra thoughts for saving people life’s
I am genuinely concerned about the psychological well-being of individuals, including his employees and partners, like this CEO or someone with a similar demeanour, who exhibit a toxic personality and dictatorial management style. They seem to value only their opinion in their perception of the world and engage in bullying whoever does not agree with them. I have never seen this kind of behavior in a professional ”CEO” before. From my experience at Samsung Group, VW and others, real pro CEOs simply don’t act like that.
What to do?
In situations similar to the CEO’s behaviour mentioned above, I hope he receives support, as it is evident that he has behavioural issues. If you find yourself dealing with the traits of a Machiavellian and hostile person, you may consider suggesting that they seek health and advice by contacting the number provided in the Netherlands below.
Additionally, exploring avenues such as psychiatry help or engaging in activities like Jiu-Jitsu, Jeet Kune Do, Tennis, Krav Maga, or even Yoga—practices I personally find beneficial—can be valuable. Mental health is a ‘serious’ issue today, and seeking support during instances of hate attacks, as experienced by this CEO, is crucial. I hope he will seek help, either from a ‘consultant’ or ‘psychiatric’ assistance.
In light of the recent discussions surrounding CEO’s and individuals’ mental health as maybe one of the causes of behaviour like that it’s crucial to address the importance of seeking professional help. Individuals displaying malevolent behavior, those experiencing bipolar disorder, or individuals harbouring feelings of deep hatred often require assistance and support. Mental health concerns are significant, and individuals facing challenges should not hesitate to reach out for support, I hope his co-founder will help this individual. If you or someone you know is struggling, consider exploring resources like suicide hotlines and crisis lines. These services play a vital role in providing immediate assistance and guidance. For those in the Netherlands, this link provides valuable information on suicide hotlines and crisis lines but you will encounter this lines in any country: https://www.therapyroute.com/article/suicide-hotlines-and-crisis-lines-in-the-netherlands
I am committed to fostering open dialogue and mature and constructive discussions, even in the face of disagreement and such clear abuse of power and bully case. While I express concerns about the methods and the mental health of individuals doing those actions like that employed by A-bordam it is disheartening that his co-founder appears to support these actions through her silence based in information I received. I hope she can help him overcoming his personal hatred crisis. The individual have asked them to delete their harassment emails and nothing happened…. Is this type of leadership suitable for an emerging or mature company? Nope! Fortunately, their market has many better players with a great, balanced, and inclusive kind of leadership. –Search for them!
This is an example what is a real inspiring CEO called Bill McDermott leading ServiceNow during a recent interview with Forbes :