Much research emphasizes that leaders and organizations that are noticed by and please others, will be rewarded with power, legitimacy and resources. This literature implies that leaders, and others in symbolic roles must work under close scrutiny if they wish to garner such rewards for themselves and their organizations. Yet little theory or research considers the consequences of such scrutiny. This paper lays groundwork for research on public scrutiny by defining it, specifying its consequences. This intense and intrusive form of attention is characterized by a blend of persistent attention to the leader or organization, close and persistent performance monitoring and evaluation, frequent interruptions and relentless questions about the past, current and future actions. Consequences for leaders and their organizations include: 1) delays in ongoing tasks; 2) attention and effort devoted toward symbolic activities, away from other kinds of activities; 3) greater adherence to injunctive norms, less adherence to descriptive norms; 4) attention and effort focused on well-rehearsed acts, away from acts that require learning or creativity; and 5) greater perseverance at ongoing and planned activities. The authors identify interpersonal, procedural and structural defenses that leaders and organizations use to reduce scrutiny and its negative consequences. They then consider the limitations and drawbacks of such defenses. Finally they suggest directions that future work on scrutiny might take.