Since I am a leadership coach, and about 90% of what I do is work with folks on their leadership, it may be a wise choice to begin to own mine. So, to own something that you had and to reclaim it, you may want to look at when you gave it away.
For me there were three specific incidence in my life that caused me to ultimately say, “Screw it” to leadership. In all three instances I was working at a company at a staff or midlevel management position, did some great work, got noticed, and promoted. In all three, I was given expanded responsibility and was able to operate with a level of autonomy. In all three this level of autonomy created a massive breakthrough in results for the company. These results were either the capturing new market and highly desirable clients, or the expansion into new areas the company had not gone to, and in one instance, did not know they could. In all three the people who worked for me grew, thrived, expanded, and found personal expression in their jobs.
You could imagine the pride one would feel if in a new company, you would lead them, through your vision, into a new area that raised the profile of the business, actually expanded the brand presence, and made them a bunch of money. That is how I felt. “Yay Me” and a sense of pride in the organization I belonged too. There was also a rather odd thing that happened to me in each one of these occurrences. Also, before I go too much farther, I also became a bit of a challenge to be with. I may have been described as being a bit arrogant. And that was my downfall.
The odd thing was, I could not imagine, how everyone did not think what I was doing was the greatest thing since the invention of beer. There were actually leaders in the organization, leaders with more stripes than me, that were not aligned with my projects, my actions, and me. I was completely confused by this. Was not the purpose of my job to increase our market position, brand awareness, and market share? Was not the purpose of my job to create new revenue streams and increase not only the top line but the bottom line? Was it not my job to create an environment where the people who reported to me also succeeded? Did I not go way above the call of duty? Did I not far exceed the desires of my job description? The answer to all those questions is a giant and measurable yes. That answer caused me even more discomfort. I asked myself, “If I am doing all if this, why are these guys not just digging me?” I did not know the answer, and honestly today, I actually don’t know, I could make a few accurate assertions, but I really don’t know. And therein lies another problem, I did not take the time to find out.
We will address all of these issues in the future. The reason I shared this with you is to create a context. To share my experience of how things have gone for me. I had a similar experience this past weekend. Along with my company, I also work with Accomplishment Coaching in training and coaching new coaches. This weekend a new senior leader arrived. I had never met her. And clearly she did not get a complete welcome packet, because she did not realize how awesome I was. She pushed every button I had. The experiences of those three companies all came flashing back. To make matters worse, she was also able to trigger personal experiences. She was bold and powerful. She was charismatic and to some, very charming. She was singular of purpose and intentional. And I hated her.
What I saw, she represented all of the old leaders I had cross paths with. What had happened in the past was, at least my experience was, I was out performing the another guy, and he wanted to “slow my roll”. What actually was going on was, he had an agenda, or a direction, and mine was not aligned with his. What then happened in lieu of sitting down with each other, and building consensus was we both got positional. Let’s call a spade a spade, I don’t know if they did, because I got positional really quick. Instead of seeing how I could integrate my projects and process into theirs, I pretty much took the position, of “I was right, and you’re an idiot if you don’t see it”. That may be a bit extreme of a description, but what happened is I created a cross road. I created an either or situation.
What was missing for me, were these guys; these leaders also had a commitment. Their commitment was also very personal. These guys all had been successful. And these guys, almost all of them colored inside the lines. I created an all or nothing, me or you, this way or that scenario with these leaders. What would have been possible if we looked at ways to integrate the new projects and processes into the existing systems? What would be possible if the new systems could manage the existing business and practices with little to no disruption? There is a ton of question of what could be, but we will never know because a conflict developed. It was a conflict of a new pathway versus the existing and current way. It was a conflict of an idea versus position. I’ve read the Art of War about 10 times. And in conflict with that set up, I will lose 10 times out of 10. And that is what happened.
So this weekend happened, and I am in a no win situation, or at least that is how it seems to me. My first thought is “I’m screwed”. Them it improves to, “I can endure her”. Yuk. The weekend ends and I am physically ill until this morning. What I see is another way. What I see is, I really am not sure where she is going or what she desires. (I don’t know because I was not listening) What I also see is a woman who is very powerful, very committed. What I eventually see is what is possible to work with her, to share with her, to integrate with her. What I see is we are both committed to the same thing. What is also possible is to surrender to her. And I don’t mean give up my right to express myself, and be me, I mean surrender my righteousness. Remember earlier when I said I might have been arrogant. That may be happening now. What is possible when to colliding forces me? There can be a big band and destruction, or there can be a melding of the minds, and creation. Who knows?
I don’t know how this will go, but what I do know it will not go the way it always has. And I am committed to the program we are working on together be an amazing success. What is new for me to see is what is possible by putting my commitments above my fears, my past experiences, and my likes and dislikes. Stay tune I will let you know how this works out. Thank you and I hope this made a diff to someone out there. And thank you for taking the time to get me; it makes a difference for me.
With loving kindness