Someone, who is close to me, asked me what I actually do? Yikes, I might need to actually explain what I do to keep my position of what… dominance? I don’t really think that’s it. But I think that if I can’t explain it to the people close to me most likely people who might like to hire me don’t really get what I do either. So I thought I would tell you the story about how I got to the spot. Don’t worry it’s not the long detailed version. No really you can do a word count and you’ll know I left out many parts.
So I went to work for one of my clients. It was really fun to see how things worked inside this ginormous organization. I did project management for many fun projects. I went to a meeting where my boss wasn’t going to make the meeting. She told me, “don’t make any decisions or give them any final word on anything. Got it?” I laughed and nodded knowing she wasn’t kidding. She thought I was too agreeable coming from years in sales.
The meeting was also attended by ten people from our internal client. The discussion came around to part of the design which was normal for us and distasteful to them. Naturally sister organizations would disagree on something. But, remember I didn’t have power to agree on anything? So, I told them I would certainly take their concerns back and get them a decision. The director made her point two additional times and then was getting set to leave the meeting leaving us to finalize the details. She reiterated they wouldn’t tolerate the design aspect we had on paper. I nodded. So you agree to not include that aspect? I restated the extent of my power which included taking the information back to my camp to get final approval. She stood to leave leaned in, looking me in the eye and pointing her finger and then said one more time, “you will not include that in the project. Right?” Clearly I was out ranked out-numbered and over powered. I was reluctant to go back to my boss and tell her I caved I said, “you know I don’t have the power to agree?” She leaned further across the table toward me and repeated her demand to which I said nothing and she walked away.
Surprisingly she acted like that knowing I had no power. The other surprise was that not one of the people who worked for her said anything when she left. In fact they weren’t even looking at me. The meeting moved on as if it didn’t happen.
Back in my camp we conceded the issue without much fuss. But that situation really stuck with me and I was so curious about the occurrence of leveraging physical power that went to grad school to get a degree in organizational management development. What I learned about that type of leader is they are leading from the place of the lack of power or really big fear of failing or being shown up or something else. That behavior served her but at what cost to the team, the strategic partners or the project profitability. That behavior really requires recovery time. Certainly isn’t a positive influence or very motivating to the people their team. And I would guess that people don’t flock into her office to work for her.
So getting back to what I do as a Leadership Development Consultant is to work with organizations to create systems of development where leaders at all levels learn skills that allow them to authentically lead from their own personal power. They are naturally more influential, more motivating, sought after as a hiring manager and their teams get so much more done.
Strategies include communication skills of all type; presenting, writing, conflict, coaching, interviewing, tough conversations like disciplinary, cross cultural, motivation, legacy, branding, managing emotion, mentoring, career management and more depending on the individual needs.
Systemic development strategies; mentoring programs, cohorts and mastermind groups on a specific skill or talent, time limited programs of development, leadership development programs for all stages of leaders, developing and leveraging stakeholders, coaching skills and programs, utilizing stock or off the shelf development tools like Myers Briggs or 360s and other ideas. More importantly solutions come from the conversation around direct need and the goals.
Ideally that answers all questions but usually it starts a dialogue…..bring it on!