- from Sydney Morning Herald, November 18, 2013, Alison Griswold
Everyone has things that tick them off, and that’s especially true for powerful leaders who frequently deal with people.
From half-baked ideas to working around the clock, we’ve collected the management pet peeves of 10 of the world’s most influential leaders.
Most items on the list are smart things to avoid in general. For example, media mogul Oprah Winfrey is likely not the only person that considers loud gum chewing unprofessional. And if you ever get the chance to meet one of these people, you’ll know what not to do around them.
1. Half-baked ideas: US President Barack Obama
The president expects his staff to show up ready. As one senior aide told Politico: If people aren’t prepared. if ideas are half-baked, he gets a little annoyed because he feels like he could be using his time better.”
He also dislikes when people monopolise the conversation at meetings, preventing others from speaking, and when people try to micro-manage his time. “If you spend too much time telling him where to go, how you get there, and everything in between, it drives him crazy,” says an aide.
2. Throwing people under the bus: J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon
Among several management pet peeves, Dimon wants people to feel free to bring up anything during meetings, and hates when they approach him individually afterward. Doing so, he feels, undercuts the expectation of healthy debate.
He also can’t stand workers who throw their colleagues “under the bus”, criticising how some people jumped on the ‘band wagon’ in condemning Ina Drew after the former chief investment officer lost her job over the London Whale episode.
3. Bragging about how busy you are: Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington
In an interview with ABC News, Huffington said her biggest pet peeve is “people who pride themselves at working 24/7”. That’s probably not surprising, considering that Huffington is also a serious advocate of getting enough sleep – something working around the clock is sure to impair.
“I was having dinner with a guy recently and he bragged that he only got four hours of sleep the night before,” Huffington recalled. “And I didn’t say it, but I thought to myself, ‘You know what, if you had gotten five this dinner would have been a lot more interesting.”
4. Laziness: Entrepreneur Mark Cuban
The entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner complained in a Q&A with the Chicago Tribune about how few people “actually do their homework” and how people in sports tend to “do things because that’s the way they always have been done, or because some ‘expert’ says so.”
5. Entrenched sexism (in tech companies): Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer
Mayer has expressed frustration with women’s participation in computer science. She thinks there aren’t enough women involved and that at least part of the problem comes from the industry itself.
“I’d like to see the industry be more encouraging and open to having women contribute to software in more significant numbers,” she said in a 2010 podcast.
6. Women who put family plans ahead of career: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
Like Mayer, Sandberg is also an advocate of more women rising to leadership roles. She says one of her pet peeves is when women give up on opportunities because they worry about having a family later in life.
“If you want the option to stay in the workforce, keep your foot on the gas pedal, reach for opportunities until you actually have a child,” Sandberg said at an event promoting her book. “That’s what might get you promoted, where you’ll have more control over your schedule, not less.”
7. Copying ideas: Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs
The late innovator didn’t just dislike Android, he really, really hated it. Jobs reportedly told friends that he considered then-Android head Andy Rubin a “big, arrogant f—“, according to a new book by Fred Vogelstein.
Jobs’ fury grew from a sense that Google was simply copying the ideas and design of Apple’s software. “Everything is a f—ing rip off of what we’re doing,” Jobs said, according to Vogelstein.
8. Chewing gum: Talk show host Oprah Winfrey
“I hate chewing gum,” the media mogul told People. “It makes me sick just to think about it. When people chew loudly or smack it and pull it out of their mouth, that’s the worst.”
Certainly in most professional settings, gum-chewing is an inadvisable habit for an employee to have.
9. Stingy accounting: Kinko’s founder Paul Orfalea
Orfalea says in his book Copy This! that his pet peeve is managers that cosy up to their accountants, often at the expense of good money management, because they’re too focused on bolstering revenues.
He, on the other hand, claims he never cared how the company finances appeared to their accountant. “I liked having high expenses,” he writes. “It may not have looked pretty in the books, but it helped at the bottom line.”
10. Chronic negativity: Google CEO Larry Page
In his kick-off address at this year’s Google I/O conference, Page enumerated some of the things that annoy him the most. Among them is the continually negative coverage of Google in the press.
“Every story I read about Google is kind of us versus some other company or some stupid thing,” he said. “And I just don’t find that very interesting … being negative is not how we make progress.”