“How do you think you’re doing?”
Without waiting for my client’s answer, her boss continued “You’ve been on board about 90 days and I’m not sure you’re a good fit……. and others feel the same.”
This is how the CEO of a nationally recognized non-profit chose to deliver feedback to one of his new directors – a talented development professional who had been highly recruited to join his team.
The same director who’d been working 16 hours a day / 7 days a week since she joined the organization in order to proactively support its community in the middle of the country’s worst public health crisis.
A crisis that brings uncertainty and change in the midst of new positive test results, more isolation requirements, constantly flexing decisions around in-person vs. remote work schedules. . . .and incredible physical and mental fatigue.
The balance of the conversation focused on my client’s perceived lack of urgency around a specific assignment. However, with additional clarification from my client, the CEO recalled that he had requested additional research which pushed out the delivery date.
The tongue-lashing ended.
Two hours later my client received an email from her boss complimenting her on her work and telling her how much he appreciated having her on the team.
In subsequent conversations with her peers, my client learned that ‘culture fit’ was just one of a series of job threats that the CEO used fairly regularly. His intent was to motivate, but those on the receiving end of his comments felt only fear and intimidation. Interestingly, no one had ever gotten fired.
Instead……they found new opportunities.
My client’s story is a very real leadership example of what NOT to do. Ever. But particularly during a time of tremendous uncertainty and anxiety.
As leaders, our rallying cry for 2021 should be the relentless pursuit of supporting, developing, and inspiring others. Our teams are already dealing with enough fear.
Gary Burnison, CEO of Korn/Ferry International, recently wrote about the need for a radically human approach to leadership and he offered a set of leadership resolutions for 2021. He suggests that, as leaders, we begin by looking at ourselves first to identify our values, motivations, and blind spots. You can read Gary’s full article in the first comment.
In 2021, I intend to focus on accelerating self-awareness. On my thoughts, feelings, and actions……and how they impact others. I invite you to do the same.
Because being radically human starts with you.
Are You In?
Every Brain Needs a Coach.