The best leaders rarely jump from complete approval of a subordinate to disapproval. They work all the shades of “grey” in between, telegraphing their perception to their subordinate. That reduces the chances that an executive (or any employee) isn’t surprised when he finds himself “in trouble.” But that requires a CEO who can be assertive and who can speak his feelings and concerns in measured doses. Too often, leaders hold in their irritation or disapproval, letting it grow until it comes out as harsh or aggressive. Some leaders who dislike confrontation never address issues until their hand is forced, usually at a greater cost to the organization.