CEOs all have drive and enjoy staff, but dislikes differ

Smiling front-desk employees
Staff is tops with CEOs. (Getty Images)

CEOs have many personality traits in common when it comes to running their company—drive, passion, strategic thinking, to name a few. When it comes to their likes and dislikes about being in the CEO seat, they have more diverse feelings in many cases, except for championing their staff.

Mary Kelly of StrataTech Education Group said her favorite things about being a CEO involve the people side. She enjoys empowering staff to develop to their fullest potential, having maximum impact in an organization that helps people create meaningful change in their lives and “being able to travel around and recognize people throughout the company.”

Her least favorite things are generating and reviewing numeric reports, disciplining problematic employees and time spent away from family.

It is similar for Jonathan Gertler, Back Bay Life Science Advisors’ CEO. “I love watching a younger person have a lightbulb go off and be inspired,” Gertler said. “And I love being faced with a really tough problem and solving it with creativity and honesty.”

He doesn’t like being faced with people who aren't open to other perspectives and “the day-to-day issues of the company—the nitty-gritty—like choosing a healthcare provider.”

Rick Wilmer, CEO of Mojo Networks, likes the excitement and being extremely busy, and helping staff achieve their goals. But “It’s a lonely job,” Wilmer said. “When hard decisions have to be made they fall on you. … To remain objective you can’t form deep friendships with the people you work with.”

John Maslowski, CEO of Fibrocell Science, likes the rewards of working on a new technology, gene therapy for children. But as a small company ($41 million market cap), he finds time taken up by roadshows as he tries to build the investor base and it’s hard getting attention from vendors.

For Carisa Miklusak, CEO of Tilr, a mobile recruiting company, “The opportunity to guide growth and figure out what we will do as a company” is extremely appealing. Miklusak also likes working and learning from different teams in the organization and “having influence” to help different causes. Her dislike is being pulled in many directions as a CEO, “taking time away from driving the company.”

Parker Petit, CEO of MiMedx, likes “setting strategy, goals and objectives.” He dislikes “The day-to-day responsibility of being publicly traded. The market is driven by things nonfundamental to the company.”