The CEO Fight Club: Uncovering the CEO Psychology

It seems to be an unspoken rule that CEOs don’t discuss the wear and tear that the job has on [...]

April 6 2011 by Ceo Briefing - April 7 2011


It seems to be an unspoken rule that CEOs don’t discuss the wear and tear that the job has on the psyche. When you are in charge of the behavior of an entire organization, the pressure can be crippling – and when someone messes up (even if you didn’t have anything to do with it), it’s your fault. Ben Horowitz, CEO of Andreessen Horowitz, is finally talking about this open secret: being a CEO can make you feel bad about yourself. Horowitz identifies the mistakes that many CEOs make when dealing with stress and tells you how to fix it.

The two most common mistakes? Taking things too personally or not taking them personally enough. Neither reaction is conducive to a happy working environment or the future success of the company. Horowitz suggest being “urgent yet not insane.”

Other tips include:

1. Make some friends: other CEOs can give you advice on handling difficult situations

2. Get it out of your head and onto paper: having your logic on paper helps to separate it from your psychology to make decisions

3. Focus on the road, not the wall: just like in physics, you will go where you look. If you look to the road forward you will go there, if you look at the wall you will crash.

Read: What’s The Most Difficult CEO Skill? Managing Your Own Psychology