“I am scheduling an appointment with VIM Executive Coaching,” said the caller.
“Thank you, I’m honored. What made you decide to see us?”
“My staff tells me I need to bring out my sensitive side. You know how those people are,” he laughed.
I stopped. What is my best response? What would be yours?
Change is Good
Executive leaders and entrepreneurs often come to VIM Executive Coaching when they feel the need to be more effective in their management and leadership roles. Our type of training encourages mindfulness, authenticity, compassion, better responsiveness and less “knee jerk” reaction.
We not only teach the value of self-reflection and meditation, but we encourage an “inward journey,” where leader and managers become more self-aware and go through interesting yet fulfilling exercises that work on self-evaluation and bringing about positive changes.
However, as fulfilling and empowering self-evaluation may be, over time we find that those kinds of exercises also cause some individuals to run in the opposite direction! In other words, there are managers and leaders quite comfortable in “analyzing” employees and peers, but who are absolutely resistant to seeing themselves in a more honest evaluation. That’s where the arrogant part comes into play.
Experience has consistently shown us that the most effective leaders and managers are those who view themselves as becoming more authentic, responsive and compassionate in their roles in corporations and organizations. Those who want no part of self-reflection and becoming more aware of those around them, consistently have the most difficulty in being effective in the workplace.
At one time, the hard-charging, winner take all type of executive was seen as being the ideal. He or she “didn’t take prisoners,” it was “their way or the highway.” In example after example, that type of leadership has consistently proven to be ineffective. The reactive type of leadership just does not work in the modern work place.
When a manager or leader approaches us at VIM Executive Coaching and proclaims that they want to go through a certain set of motions because it will give everyone the impression of change, it will not work either. It is arrogant and ineffective.
Authenticity starts from within. Authenticity is the opposite of arrogance.
It is easy to be arrogant
For many leaders, unwillingness to “change” is an approach that says, “I need no further instruction or change or introspection.”
For many leaders, approaching an employee disagreement or personnel problem with a pre-determined bias or angry reaction and a “my way or the highway” approach is arrogant and only leads to a greater sense of resentment and strife.
When a leader calls us and says something such as, “My people tell me I must get in touch with my softer side,” and then laughs about it, I often wonder what outcome the leader is attempting to seek. Authenticity is something that develops from within. Authenticity is not put up on the wall of an office like a plaque that is awarded an industry dinner. It comes from within.
To simply want to add a credential of authenticity is not change, it is arrogance. Being more authentic and being more responsive is something we must work at every day. In our need to be more mindful and compassionate we also become more authentic. We can’t avoid introspection and then hope to impress others with our amazing powers of self-awareness. It just doesn’t work that way.
The best leaders will continue to be the least arrogant and the most authentic. We celebrate the changes needed to take executives on that journey.
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