In light of Yahoo’s recent appointment of a CEO whose affable personality stands in sharp contrast to that of his sharp-tongued predecessor, the question begs: To what extent do the dispositions of a company’s executives affect its culture and day-to-day operations?
"Managers take their cues from above, and if those cues are detrimental to having a productive and contented workforce, they can damage literally every department in a company and, inevitably, customer relations as well," says Mag Retelewski, president and founder of Clarteza, a consumer strategy firm.
Retelewski says Yahoo is a case in point. "A huge success at its outset, Yahoo has been surpassed by other companies such as Google in products, innovation and profit, partly because of the management style of its [former] CEO," Retelewski says.
But the personality of a particular executive is not necessarily the key predictor of business performance, others say.
"An executive’s personality certainly contributes to the overall culture of a company, though not necessarily to success," says Gerald Bricker, president of Aadvise Consulting. "An executive who provides a 'fun' atmosphere, yet manages in a politicized manner, showing favoritism and who allowing excuses for failure, will not create a successful enterprise.”
Most management teams understand hard work and the need to face challenges, Bricker says, and they appreciate leadership that provides support and accountability. “[If executives] reward management despite failures in performance, they are demonstrating to the entire organization that success is not about results.”
The ideal executive personality, it seems, is a balance of strong leadership skills, sound work ethic, and the right amount of kindness and respect shown to all employees within the organization. By fostering an environment of respect, loyalty and enjoyment throughout the ranks, a company’s chances of success are great.