Lisa was a partner at a leading management consulting firm. She was masterful at managing up but when working with her team and junior staff her presence came across as authoritative and overbearing. She had a habit of discrediting the ideas of others while claiming to have superior ideas. She reacted instantly instead of investing time toward finding the root cause of any problem. Lisa’s team felt that she discouraged constructive feedback and inhibited them from critical thinking. According to the country head, Lisa was an arrogant boss who could drag her team down with her perceived sense of self-superiority. The HR team realized that though Lisa had experienced considerable professional success, she would have to stop being arrogant before it hurt the bottom-line. The client was looking for a global coach who could encourage this dynamic leader to motivate the workforce and be seen as more approachable and collaborative.
Diagnosis:As her coach, Vikram identified that Lisa was displaying derailing behaviours that showed lack of warmth and trust. Using his unique style, Vikram gave Lisa real-time feedback how her behaviour was causing stress to the others and how her behaviour was likely to create a “toxic” and damaging atmosphere. During the coaching, Lisa got insights into the minds of Fortune 100 CXOs on how to soften Lisa’s laser- focus interaction that felt like an interview and interrogation.
Mindset Shift: The coach spent 4 sessions on helping the leader let go of her derailing mindset about control and showing more restraint in team meetings. She gained a new perspective on how by encouraging others to express their views openly and honestly so she could gain confidence and be effective in the way she led.
Behavioural Shift: Lisa was coached to pause and listen to where the other person was coming from. This simple behavioural change helped her master relationships using empathy and acceptance. This followed with her scheduling more one-on-one time with direct reports in case of a critical feedback than sharing it in an open forum. She learnt techniques to persuade and motivate her team and forge cooperation without appearing bossy. She worked on her coaching skills with her team where instead of solving a problem for them she learnt how to facilitate a discussion that is open, frank, respectful and empowering.
All of this changed the leader’s self-awareness and awareness of others. 6 months through the coaching journey, Lisa developed her new found presence of warmth to reach greater heights of professional excellence. She gracefully overcame her obstacles to imbibe presence that helped her raise her trust to create a workplace culture where people flourish and care. In fact, because of her new communicative leadership style, it improved the performance of her team, they started to get the top performance results in the region, and also inspired her diverse team to collectively influence their global clients.