It’s one of those things that make you cringe when you hear it in a meeting.
You consider yourself a coach and want to pull the exec aside right
there and then when she/he does it more and more.
You want to explain how bad it sounds. How it can inadvertently impugn perception and
reputation. And ability to lead.
But the meeting goes on, business gets conducted, and it somehow gets
dropped into the “next time” conversation bucket.
But it’s a pretty big thing.
Sometimes it’s a nervous tic, like saying “like” or “you know”.
But it can do damage far worse than those words.
It’s when a CEO, CFO or other team leader talks about “I’ve
restructured…” or ” I’ve sold…” right in front of the team.
Or when a CFO talks about “my receivables” or “my expenses” in front
of the Board.
I can’t stand it. It makes me crazy.
It sends a message that a leader really doesn’t want to convey.
But it’s an easy trap to fall into.
When I’m getting to know a team while evaluating investment — and partnership — it sends an alarm.
It makes me want to keep probing and exploring in order to confirm or disprove my concerns about leadership style, partnering potential, ego. Maybe even character.
When mentoring a CEO, it can be one of the fundamental building blocks of professional development.
Most great entrepreneurs are, at their core, great and talented individual contributors.
Innovators, artists, and really smart people.
Then they become Founders, executives and managers with teams around them.
Teams they recruit and want to inspire, guide and retain.
It becomes time to “make the turn” and become leaders.
To not feel compelled to be the smartest and most valuable person in every room.
It’s not about themselves. It’s about the team. It’s about what they can build through collective success.
It’s about leading by example. About creating an environment where team members feel
they play a big part in team success. And feel they are recognized.
Great teams are composed of special people.
People who look for the vision and passion of leaders who can pull them towards a beacon.
People who look to leadership that demonstrates public appreciation and support for their contributions.
It’s not hard to say.
And the alternatives are not what you want.
This post originally appeared on Dave Barrett’s blog I Know You Know on March 6, 2015 and subsequently at LinkedIn Pulse on March 7.