A top level executive, let’s call him Arun, was lacking confidence in his leadership abilities. He was quite alone at the top, opportunities to validate thoughts and decisions had become rare as he had gone up through the ranks. He felt inadequate at times, didn’t always know whether his reports actually respected him and that made him reluctant to be assertive in many cases where he should have been.
The stated objective was to enhance Arun’s leadership presence. This, however, could mean a lot of different things, depending on the case. In this case it turned out to be mostly about increasing confidence and improving communication skills.
We started the process with a 360 feedback. This helped Arun receive candid feedback from peers and direct reports, which then enabled us to devise a strategy for his self-improvement together. We also engaged the method of ‘exploring the story behind the story’ to understand the root cause of the issues he was facing. It turned out that Arun’s rural upbringing had caused lack of confidence in English that continued to affect him even when his language skills had dramatically improved.
Increasing self awareness
Various factors – most of them subconscious – impact our present behavior. Arun needed to take a step back and look at his everyday behaviors from a different perspective. This helped him to identify where he had been running on autopilot and where he could choose different ways of interacting in the future.
Understanding and accepting the challenges
Focusing on how he used past failures to constantly learn and improve himself, realizing that he wouldn’t be here now without them, Arun soon learned to accept them as a vital part of his journey to success.
Falling back on strengths
The 360 revealed many strengths, especially the fact that Arun was a sought after mentor and a respected advisor for managing difficult customer situations. So he excelled at certain communication skills. This was a strong foundation to build on when improving related skills.