6 Key Reasons Executive Leaders Get Annoyed w/ You #leadership

Why & When Do Executives Get Annoyed & Impatient With You?

If you feel shaky when executives seem annoyed and impatient with you, knowing why they act this way can help you prevent this.

It will reduce your fear by preventing theirs!

Whether you have frequent interactions with these top leaders or the occasional presentation to them, insight about what executives fear can help you modify your approach with them. The results are amazing.

6 Reasons Top Leaders Get Annoyed w/ You. Image is swirling vortex.

6 Reasons Executives Get Impatient & Annoyed w/ You. Image by: Onkel_Wart via Flickr.

Image courtesy of Onkel Wart via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Don’t Trigger Executive Leaders’ Fears

I often teach managers how to make effective presentations to executives. The most important thing to understand is the executive’s mindset.

Most of what executives do depends on others. They do not accomplish tasks purely with their own skill and experience. They must rely on you yet they are accountable for the success of the organization. All of this can induce their fear.

Don’t activate their fear — prevent it!

  1. Executives are pressured to perform broadly. Everyone wants some of their time. To succeed, they funnel info to hit the mark. When you blabber on with details before the main point, you scare the bejeebers out of them.

    Tip: Know your purpose and get to the point. Focus prevents organizational failure.

  2. Executives must care about the organization, not just about you. When executives feel that your need for validation and personal expression is more important to you than the business, you scare the bejeebers out of them.

    Tip: Capture their attention with the main focus first. Their comprehension goes up and their fear goes down.

  3. Executives are aware of conditions and risks that you don’t know. When they ask for one thing and you give them everything but that, they feel trapped in your lack of knowledge. You scare the bejeebers out of them.

    Tip: Give them what they want. If you cannot deliver it, tell them how close you can get with next best option.

  4. Executives need to know the ship can survive a storm. When you tell them the problem without offering a feasible solution, they feel they are steering a ship with no crew. You scare the bejeebers out of them.

    Tip: Do your job; don’t ask them to do it!

  5. Executives are there to move the organization forward. When you hesitate, waffle, freeze in a fumble instead of recover, executives see stagnation. You scare the bejeebers out of them.

    Tip: Anticipate what questions the executives will ask you and prepare how you will handle it.

  6. Executives are responsible for the overall health of the organization. When you ask for the sun and the moon when the organization is on shaky ground, executives witness mania instead of sanity. You scare the bejeebers out of them.

    Tip: Show them up front how your request/solution makes the ground firmer and the organization healthier.

As Bruce Gabrielle notes in his post 9 Tips to Nail Your Next Executive Presentation, “Don’t be afraid of executives, be afraid for them.”

Do not add to their fear. Reduce it with preparation, insight, and focused communication. Show them they can truly rely on you!

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Career Success: 13 Important People Skills Tips
Professional People Skills to Show Your Change-Ability

©2011-2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.



PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

19 Responses to “6 Key Reasons Executive Leaders Get Annoyed w/ You #leadership”

  1. What a delightful post! Six terrific points delivered with wit and style. I love reading blogs like this.

    As far as dealing with execs, I’ve always felt that it’s important to try to align your goals with theirs (or at least make it seem like they are!).

    • Lynn Marie says:

      Kate, this is exactly the same attitude a candidate needs to have when they are going for the big interview. If I don’t get the sense that the candidate can see the Company’s perspective, identify the problem, and provide a palate of viable solutions, they just aren’t going to get the job.

      Perhaps your presenters need to remember that presenting to executives is like a job interview!

      • Kate Nasser says:

        Interesting analogy Lynn. And great advice for all job seekers. Many thanks for giving your experience to the readers here at Smart SenseAbilities.
        I welcome you any time.

  2. Funny posts that also teach are among my favorite kinds of posts, and this is right at the top of the heap.

    What you are really talking about here is the old adage, “Step into someone else’s shoes.” It’s not always as easy as people think to be the boss or even the middle manager. You do a great job of not just encapsulating those fears, but also offering advice on how to break through.

    Great post!

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Margie,
      I had fun writing it and was hoping that others would laugh and learn. Your feedback is very valuable. And your insight will ring out to many — it isn’t easy being the boss!
      Appreciate your time and experience that you have shared here.

  3. Hi Kate – I love this article! What a great read to humanize the executive and help the presenter focus their message. This is the article of the week for me.

    Thanks also for your kind mention of my blog post. I’m glad it inspired this terrific article.

    Bruce Gabrielle
    Author, Speaking PowerPoint

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Thank you Bruce. You truly did inspire me and I am honored that you found my post so valuable.
      All the best and let’s stay connected,

  4. Michelle Romanica says:

    You’ve done it again, Kate! With charm and wit, you’ve taught us about perceptions, and how limiting they can be – especially in an us/them environment.

    Helping “us” cut away the perception of what is going on in an executive’s head, allows for a rare glimpse into what they REALLY are thinking.

    The more we come to understand “them”, the more we can realize (contrary to popular belief) we are all usually on the same side!

  5. Excellent post, Kate.

    I love the energy in all of your writings – and the truthful place from which you emit your words! In my daily collaborations writing the ‘unique value propositions’ for professionals and executives by way of career resume stories, I find shepherding my clients past their own idiosyncratic fears and self-focus tendencies is critical. They must move through their emotional clutter (of job loss or job change) to zero in on how their message can compellingly (and succinctly) respond to the reader’s pain (and fear). It’s all about ‘the audience,’ (i.e., all about ‘them,’ not ‘you’).

    I especially liked your closing:
    “Remember, most of what executives do depends on others. That alone induces fear. They do not accomplish tasks purely with their skill and experience. Yet they are accountable for the success of the organization.”

    As such, show, through your words, that you can BE that person they can depend upon to make them/the organization successful!


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Exactly Jacqui. Much of my work — consulting, training, coaching — is about factoring in others’ perspectives before you act. When it comes to executives, it is to a greater extent. They need to depend on others so be the one they can depend on. Bingo.

      Thanks for your contribution here at Smart SenseAbilities.

  6. I wonder if “scare” and “fear” are strong words. (I realize that’s part of the point you’re making too.) Part of being an executive is handling people with the 6 problems you mention above. Everyone in the organization in fact, must deal with all 6 problems not only personally but when being made by peers or direct reports. We should all be helping our coworkers focus, understand the big picture and be part of the solution. I don’t think of it as fear as much as part of the job. My only “fear” would be that my boss would get tired of me allowing that problem before I fixed it.

  7. When briefing high level execs know your audience and spit it out!

    If you don’t know an answer, be sure to find out fast and get back with them.

    The execs need information to make decisions. Make sure your info is solid, well researched and presented in such a fashion that the exec will want to listen to what you have to say.

    So often the presentation is disjointed and not follow-able. Don’t be disjointed.


  8. Baron says:

    What a tremendous, diametric post. So perfectly explained, that awkward gap between employee over-communication and management’s need for condensed, analytical summations. This post will help many companies and crews revise their best-practices going forward.

  9. Kate, you have a wonderful writing style. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Too many presenters focus on what they want to say rather that what they want to accomplish. If you follow the later, the audience is first and foremost. It’s also important to note that if you are scaring the bejeebers out of the executives, could you imagine how you’re direct reports feel? Thanks again for sharing!



  10. Kate, this is all about preparation. Know your audience and deliver what they want. The more time you take to study executives (or the “big wigs” as I call them), the more accurate your pitch will be. You presented some very good, practical tips. If you can handle #1, then the rest are easy.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      I couldn’t agree more Joshua. Yet so often people think of preparation as organizing their thoughts. The crucial part of preparation is organizing and delivering from the audience’s perspective.

      Thanks for weighing in and tweeting on Twitter.

  11. Anne says:

    A cute post with some good points, but where are these fearful executives? When the listed scenarios occur, I’ve seen execs get impatient, disgusted, and frustrated. But fearful and scared? Nope. The good execs put on their coaching hats (maybe because they’ve been there), better ones know how to turn the situation around, and the truly great ones, know how to prevent such occurrences.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Anne,
      Thanks for your comment. As for fearful and scared, I don’t mean paralyzed. The actions you suggest are just that — actions to handle the situation. And I do agree that many know how to coach, turn the situation around, and better yet prevent!

      Down underneath, there are many feelings they don’t show — or admit to the general public. 🙂

KateNasser on Facebook KateNasser Blog KateNasser on Twitter KateNasser on LinkedIn KateNasser on Pinterest