Corporate Consulting Firm Reveals Deep-set CEO Fears and How They Impact Company Operations

A corporate consulting firm has fortified its industry leading status with a recent article in the highly regarded Harvard Business Review. Based on in-house research into how fears drive dysfunctional behaviour in executive teams, ‘What CEOs Are Afraid Of’ offers companies invaluable insight into how to combat corporate anxieties and help teams perform at their best. Vantage Hill Partners is underpinned by a commitment to solving such problems and transforming executive team performance across the board. 

Roger Jones, Chief Executive at Vantage Hill Partners authored the article which drew on fascinating research gathered in 2014. After surveying 116 CEOs and other executive persons, Jones uncovered astonishing insight into their fears and the impact that these can have in the boardroom. 

“Deep-seated fears — of looking ridiculous, losing social status, speaking up, and much, much more — saddle children in the middle school lunchroom, adults on the therapist’s couch, and even, my research has found, executives in the C-Suite. While few executives talk about them, deep and uncontrolled private fears can spur defensive behaviours that undermine how they and their colleagues set and execute company strategy,” Jones begins.

By far, the biggest fear held by CEOs is apprehension at being found incompetent. Jones labels this ‘imposter syndrome’ and maintains that it weakens confidence, destabilises inter-executive relationships and creates seriously shaky leadership. Other common fears include underachieving which can lead to risk taking in a bid to overcompensate, vulnerability, political attacks from colleagues which can result in mistrust and cautiousness and  concerns over being perceived as foolish, which hinders honesty.

Of the surveyed CEOs, 60% admitted that fears of being seen as incompetent, underachieving or vulnerable affected executive team behaviour. These fears lead to dysfunctional behaviours which in turn, jeopardise the healthy functioning of executive teams and companies as a whole. So what can companies do to combat the negative impacts of corporate fear? In the article Jones puts forward seven suggestions that he believes are extremely effective in alleviating fears.

“Fear is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to poison an organization. I have found seven approaches to be effective at reducing such fears,” writes Jones.

These include CEOs developing an awareness of their own fears as well as those of the team, placing inherent value on emotional intelligence, sharing personal stories as part of team effectiveness programs and introducing guidelines outlining acceptable and unacceptable communication behaviours. Jones also recommends encouraging team members to contribute without consequential fear, conducting occasional team meetings without the CEO and rolling out incentive systems that discourage egocentric actions.

Put simply, dysfunctional executive teams have been known to cause financial disasters for the companies they represent. Vantage Hill Partners is dedicated to helping companies avoid the serious pitfalls of corporate fears and foster productive, collaborative and supportive executive teams. The better the team, the more profit the company makes which means that in essence, fearless teams are the key to soaring bottom lines.

Using a step by step approach Vantage Hill Partners actively diagnoses the hidden drivers of dysfunctional behaviours. The team then puts together a tailor made approach designed to address any issues, improve dynamic and ultimately, unlock the team’s hidden potential.

To find out more about Vantage Hill Partners and how it’s helping companies embed high performance in each and every executive team member, visit:



Dakota Digital for Vantage Hill Partners

Contact: Rebecca Appleton


Tel UK: 01623 428996

Tel US: 917-720-3025 


Founded by Roger Jones, Vantage Hill Partners is a corporate consulting firm dedicated to transforming executive team performance. The firm offers every client a bespoke approach designed to target the unique fears, issues and dynamics of every individual team. Vantage Hill Partners is led by a team of talented partners with in-depth team development experience and psychological insight. Jones recently authored an article titled ‘What CEOs Are Afraid Of’ which was published in the Harvard Business Review.