5. They don't know what they're doing
Just about the worst thing employees and customers can say about top executives is that they are incompetent or, at the very least, in over their heads. It dispenses with pithy personal attacks on character and makes the criticism about their ability to do the job itself.
It's even worse when those critics are right.
A survey conducted last year by global management consulting firm Booz Allen -- before Edward Snowden gave them some unwanted notoriety -- found that executives largely believed the job was out of their hands and that they couldn't help their company achieve its goals. A full 64% said they had conflicting priorities, while 54%, said they dont believe that employees and customers understand their strategy.
OK, so they don't know what they're trying to accomplish and don't know how to explain that to anyone outside the C-suite. At least they're uniting with their fellow Chief Insert Title Heres to push through all that and help the company succeed, right? Nope. Only 20% said they think their company has a "right to win" in all the markets where it competes.
That's grim news for companies where executives' capabilities in no way support the strategy, however jumbled. In that scenario, only 14% of such firms report above-average growth. It's particularly vexing when a solid 64% of managers don't feel their company's strategy will lead to success.
Remember when JCPenney started just throwing ideas at the wall before throwing then-CEO Ron Johnson under the bus? That's perhaps the best illustration of all of the above and a big reason folks who work for such executives lack faith in their abilites.