CEO Self Care during Prolonged Crises

June 3, 2020 | Publication

Over the last ten years, ghSMART & Co., a leadership advisory firm, has conducted research on over 2,000 CEOs. The study, called CEO Genome, uncovered an aspect of the job that often goes unspoken. While the CEO role comes with positional power, influence, wealth creation opportunities, and perks, it can also be a psychological thunderdome. CEOs face high- stake decisions, the intense scrutiny of living in a fishbowl, and the need for 24×7 engagement with multiple stakeholders. Add to that the unrelenting nature of this multimonth “novel” pandemic, which can deplete the physical, psychological, and emotional reserves of CEOs (and their top teams).

We’ve spoken recently to some CEOs who have told us that they will “sleep when this is over and things are under control.” They have morphed into “chief emergency officers” simultaneously triaging issues of liquidity, employee health, customer concerns, supply chain disruptions, and government interventions. We argue that this is the wrong time to eschew self-care. Conversely, the one thing utterly in a CEO’s control right now is showing up in their absolute best condition to perform for themselves, their people, and the communities in which they operate.