Is Your CEO a Sleaze?

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It comes as no surprise that some CEOs are simply bad characters in spite of their successes. It should also come as no surprise that bad characters eventually get distracted and overwhelmed to where their success is damaged.

Are there warning signs of CEO flaws? Simply, yes.

In today's desire to compartmentalize personal and professional behaviors, we continue to see the "usual suspects" that bring down CEOs (from my book, Everyday Ethics, Everlasting Consequences ): sex, power, thrill, money, booze and drugs, gambling and entitlement.

We have become so non-judgmental, as a result of political correctness run amok, that choosing someone to lead a company is no longer an issue of character but commerce.

As long as sales are up, profits are up, lawsuits are minimal, and analysts and the media are fairly pleased, who cares if the CEO is a sleaze. In fact who is to say anyone is a sleaze or that a sleaze is necessarily bad.

And yet, most bad characters end up amassing vast sums of money while seriously jeopardizing their company's stock price, reputation and future earnings.

Hiring someone to lead your company who has multiple marriages, extramarital affairs, extravagant spending habits and/or credit issues, dubious associates and friends, or a non-traditional lifestyle is ignoring some obvious issues.

Having coached executives for years, those who violate the trust, discipline and decision-making responsibilities of personal relationships and situations are unlikely to exercise sound judgment or manage relationships well in business.

Also, those who exhibit suspicious or non-traditional proclivities, associates, or causes are highly subject to being compromised, co-opted, and otherwise distracted from their professional leadership obligations.

In addition to business acumen, sound company leadership requires legal, ethical and moral underpinnings. Leadership and authority carry incredible pressures, not the least of which is to behave in a manner conducive to the office held and the responsibilities thereto.

This applies to corporate presidents of retail giants, U.S. presidents, U.S. presidential candidates, college athletic leaders, Secret Service agents and GSA employees.

Dare I suggest it even applies to those of us who are simply trying to look and act like decent people and make our families, friends and associates proud.

In this age of ethical/moral relativism, the vast majority of leaders adhere to a professional code that embraces their personal lives as well. To those courageous men and women, "Thank You!" It is only with your battle against day-to-day temptations that business will regain the trust of stakeholders and shareholders.
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

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