The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable [Book Review]

May's Musing: Have You Been Tempted?

A journey of self enlightenment in less than 1 hour: The FIVE Temptations of a CEO - By Patrick Lencioni

Whether you are aspiring to be a CEO of a company, the moral of the leadership fable can be applicable to anyone who leads a team. Patrick Lencioni points out the five commonly made leadership mistakes in a refreshing and easy-to-follow story.

According to Lencioni, to effectively lead a successful team, one must avoid the traps of choosing:

1. Status over Results

2. Popularity over Accountability

3. Certainty over Clarity

4. Harmony over Conflict

5. Vulnerability over Trust

While the above concepts are very intuitive, the scary truth is that they are easier said than done. According to Lenocioni, managing a company successfully is not complicated, yet it is not easy either. Human nature is to follow the path of least resistance. It also takes courage for one to recognize that success and failure lies within. This book reminds me how easy it is to be unknowingly tempted by the five pitfalls.

As an engineer, I find Temptation number 3: Choosing Certainty over Clarity, most difficult to resist. It is often easier to get into data paralysis, so that we can go from 80% certainty to 95%. After all, who doesn't like to make the right decisions all the time?

To achieve results, one must be clear about setting clear objectives, very similar to the way how essential it is to have a well defined problem statement when tackling an engineering problem. Setting clear expectations and holding others accountable is the key to delivering results through others. After all, if the expectations and the end goals have not been clearly articulated and understood, how do your teammates understand what to help you with?

How about you? How have you been tempted?

Do any of the above temptation pitfalls apply to you?

cover image: via coverbrowser; copyright Patrick M. Lencioni