The Biggest Weaknesses a Start-up CEO Should Have

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The Biggest Weaknesses a Start-up CEO Should Have

Jul 08, 2021

The Biggest Weaknesses a Start-up CEO Should Have

0 Comments icon Jul 08, 2021

Yes, weaknesses. All you read about is what makes a great CEO, “Five Qualities you can Find in the Best CEOs”, so on and so forth.

Cut them some slack. Allow them their weaknesses, and see where those lead them. 

  • Great power = great responsibility. But too much responsibility… 

The CEO is the big boss, so naturally, everything falls on them. There is a lot that goes on in a company, especially if it is a new start-up. From funding to marketing to sales – too much for just one person to take on alone. 

Undoubtedly, there are some jobs that only a CEO can do – such as hiring and delegating. 

Sometimes, start-up CEOs tend to forget that. In their minds, they play every role – from PR to marketing to support. 

This tends to result in an overworked and wrung-out CEO. 

It is these CEOs, however, that have the passion to cover all bases. They possess the skill of paying attention to details and being adept in several aspects.

  • Breaks? What are those? 

CEOs are incessant workers. Their unending work routine starts early in the morning, ends late at nights, and hardly contains a slot that says ‘break time’.  

This worsens with start-up CEOs. Their lives revolve around getting their start-up’s wheels turning, and making sure they keep turning and gaining momentum.

The cost? Going for walks, jogs, or even a simple lunch break at times. Eventually, the lack of breaks would weigh down on even the best of CEOs. 

It cannot be denied, however, that this sort of motivation cannot be found in just any individual. Employees may even feel spurred by their CEO to push themselves and explore their potentials.

  • “Sleep is for the weak.”

A good sleep cycle is between 7 and 9 hours long. This information does not seem to have an effect on CEOs.  

Reset My Business CEO Darren Witmer sleeps for not more than 4 hours every night. On the other hand, STS Capital founder Gregory McKee religiously gets his 8 hours of rest every night. He claims he cannot function effectively otherwise. 

Either way, every CEO requires sufficient sleep to be efficient the next day. When they compromise that, the problems arise. 

Being so driven that even the lack of sleep cannot be a deterrent, though, is admittedly impressive, albeit begrudgingly to some. Investors look for this conviction in a CEO. Many would admit they are hard-pressed to find CEOs worth their mettle. 

  • Thinking they are not just Captain America, but all the Avengers combined.

Around-the-clock working and lack of enough rest definitely takes a toll on mental health. Exhaustion can unconsciously instill negative emotions, such as frustration and despair. 

This can translate into several outcomes, few of them good. Members of a start-up are generally more energetic, as is necessary. But overdoing it burn out the entire team; especially the CEO, who does more. 

The takeaway here? The CEO’s mindset. Physical limitations regardless, their belief in themselves and their team to get work done transcends those boundaries. 

Their rare and immense mental strength gives them an extra boost, making it a prized quality in a CEO.

  • Weakness? Never heard of it.

No one ever said it was easy to admit weakness. It gets even trickier with CEOs. 

Having only portrayed their strong side to those around them, they somehow trick even themselves into ignoring their weaknesses.

Stepping back and delegating for the sake of efficiency would be ideal for any company.

It is not an easy thing, not letting your shortcomings get the better of you. It requires sheer will. Any CEO that can do this can be relied on to be consistent and focused on the positives. 

  • Caring too much about ‘making it’

Getting interviewed by the press about success stories is definitely cool. According to Touchdown Semiconductor CEO Brett Fox, however, prioritising fame over success would take the company down the path to doom. 

For many CEOs, ‘making it’ does not mean paparazzi. It means getting their company recognised for its worth, as they see it. Which means the exhaustion would be worth it at the end of the day if their mission is accomplished. 

Farsightedness and perseverance – two important qualities of a CEO. The start-up with this CEO is well on its way to success. 

  • Yes, yes, good job. Moving on. 

Big or small, victories should be celebrated. Yet, many companies – or CEOs – always overlook the small ones. It gets worse when they are too harsh on themselves if they fail. 

Acknowledging accomplishments is crucial in boosting group morale. And that appreciation means a lot more coming from the CEO. It creates inspiration for future wins and keeps spirits up. 

On the flipside, CEOs can sometimes tend to lay back and lose focus on their goals once they get a taste of victory. 

The ones that move on quickly to their next goal have the ability to look at the big picture. Not being tunnel-visioned goes a long way in attaining long-term goals. 

  • Will you be my friend? Please?

Networking is one of the most useful tools for a start-up. Here you can find investors, mentors, and all sorts of other professionals.

CEOs, however, are at risk of going overboard. Attending every networking event they get an invite to and following every investor whose profile they come across on LinkedIn are signs of a little overenthusiasm. 

Statistically speaking, few of these newly-established contacts are of actual use to a start-up. 9 in 10 investors may be uninterested, while some mentors’ guidance may not be what that start-up needs. 

It is the CEO’s undampened driving force and hope that is the advantage here. They pitch to every investor with the same positive mindset. Each time, they hope this will be ‘The One’.  

The contacts they make are carefully stored away for a rainy day. This preparation and conviction are what make a reliable start-up CEO.


Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, even Jeff Bezos; every CEO has their drawbacks. It is the way they make up for them, that sets them apart from everyone else. 

Weaknesses are necessary for a start-up CEO. Without them, how can they strive to be one of the greats? 

Source Credit: Value.ai blog

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