“C-Suite officers have a very challenging position in many ways. They are constantly under the microscope and viewed from every angle – seemingly 24/7. The expectations are extremely high – from others but likely mostly from themselves. How can you please and meet all these expectations? It is the proverbial catch 22! If you focus in one direction versus another – something will have to be paid.
What approach can an executive take in keeping with the values and they way they are “wired!” Let me share an approach that I give to these executives to help them find healthy boundaries.
Neuroscience reveals to us that everything begins with where we place our focus of attention. This placement is developed from years of interactions with others and becomes wired into our brains. As time progresses, this wiring moves into the subconscious, and no longer are you aware of what you are doing by habit and how it is making you think and show up.
There are patterns that develop and this is where your attention is invited!
There are many personality types and habits that each leader develops from what proved successful in a specific time and space. However, that usually was a LONGTIME ago and the leader is not longer aware that this same approach is being used for everything.
The two most common – a focus on relationships or process!
Yep, it is that simple – and that complicated. Let me explain.
Leadership is all about people and relationships. Leaders certainly want people to be drawn to them and follow them. This begins honestly enough earlier in a leader’s career, but too often, in part or more, becomes people pleasers. Therein lies the challenge.
An interesting finding in my executive coaching is that the average score on an emotional intelligence assessment for all leaders (no matter their title or experience) is 5.5 on a scale of 10. It seems leadership development has not been strong in this area – even though it has received a lot of attention.
People do not want to be PLEASE but they want to be valued! To capture the desired relationship for those who place their focus on this, the focus must be changed to process. Yes, it seems the exact opposite. I often speak with ceos or executives who battle with this focus.
Let the process do the heavy lifting for relationships. A leader’s primary role is proper communication of expectations.
What does a process look like in this example?
The idea, take the idea from pleasing each other to a process that will support real pleasing!
The opposite is true for other leaders where the focus is placed primarily on achievement and goals. Businesses do not stay in the game if they are not hitting forward goals.
It is in the manner in which the focus on process is being carried out.
Example: A very bright and experienced officer was the head of several committees for our company. She was excellent and her bosses loved her. However, the teams that she led had great difficulty with her leadership style and expectations.
Her expectations focused on setting a high bar for deliverables and not accepting anyone’s input unless it met 100% of her expectations. Can you understand that no one met her expectations.
For sake of building rapport and relationships, I invited her to drop her expectations to 80% of what she wanted, as long as it would not place the company at risk. She shuddered at my suggestion. To her credit, she embraced the idea of putting people up the focus ladder to match expectations. The result was that she found more success and deliverables as she placed more emphasis on co-creating deliverables!
The idea is to become more holistic in your leadership by looking at the opposites.
My wife says that I am the balloon and she is the string. I have learned a lot and now ground my “ideas” and this has brought about more success. She in turn is less structured and finds a good boundary where we can both excel.
Consider the idea and allow yourself to see a new perspective on how you can develop a better version of yourself!