What the New Boss Did

My client (let’s call him Tom) and I had been working together for about 18 months when he was asked to take over the leadership of a department numbering about 800 associates. This department had earned a reputation as being “the place where they send projects to die.” As a result, the previous leader had been fired, and Tom was asked to take over. When Tom met with the Senior Leadership “Team” (N = 7) of his new department, he was not received with open arms. Right or wrong, these seven people had loved their previous boss, and were worried about what the “new broom” might have in mind. Their track record gave them good reason to worry. Fortunately, as you will see, rather than losing their jobs, the seven enjoyed success that, initially, they couldn’t see coming. Tom found the seven members of the group (while they were called…

Leaders Have More Choices

Want to help your clients make their organizations more profitable? This is the third in a series of four blog posts that provide a model for you to do just that. Thus far, we’ve examined how an organization’s climate, profitability, and leadership styles relate, as reported by Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee, in Primal Leadership: Companies with positive climates are much more profitable than those with negative climates. Leadership style directly controls 50 – 70% of climate There are a number of learnable leadership styles To maximize leader effectiveness, match leadership style to situational needs. In our previous post, we described two of the six leadership styles discussed in Primal Leadership: Coercive (or Directive), and Visionary. We looked at: times when each of those styles can work well times when they shouldn’t be used which EQ skills support their success, and the five steps which you, as a coach, can take…

Leaders Have Choices

Our most recent post explained that climate controls 20 to 30% of profitability, and that leaders control 50 to 70% of climate. The better the climate, the better the profit. As a coach, you can help leaders leverage that connection. Let’s talk about how. Basically, leaders have choices about how they lead, which in turn influences climate, though they may not realize it without your help. Many people get promoted to leadership positions because they are great students of their technical or business area, not necessarily of leadership. When they are thrust into leading, they do what comes naturally to them, typically modeling leaders they have known in their own lives, including parents, teachers, and previous bosses. As a result, they develop a default leadership style and apply it regardless of the situation they face. Directive leaders tend to be directive even when it isn’t called for. Democratic leaders tend…

A Career in Danger

Here’s a fictional but realistic story that illustrates what coaching for EQ can look like. Jim knew marketing like nobody’s business. Not only did he have a natural flair, he worked hard to master his craft. Promotions followed achievements like night follows day. But the promotion that nearly did him in was the one that gave him a staff to supervise. His company made a classic mistake, i.e., believing that because Jim was technically skilled, he must be competent to supervise others in his area. Sadly for Jim, the skills required to create killer marketing programs are not the skills required to elicit creativity, cooperation, and dedication from others. Jim had never held a leadership position. With no training to guide him, he did what came naturally. For him that was to use a pacesetter style, an unfortunate choice. Pacesetters demand that everyone perform at the leader’s level. Failure to…

“What Is the Right Way to . . . ?”

A coaching client asked me one of those “right way” questions the other day. (I get them often.) In this case, he wanted to know the right way to lead his team. He worried that he would do it “wrong” and mess things up. Experienced coaches know that there are many right ways to lead a team. There are many right ways to do most of the complex tasks that are given to high performers. They don’t give jobs with simple answers to senior people.   Of course, as we talked, my client recognized that there were many good ways he could approach his leadership task. Factors we considered in deciding which ways might work best included his personality, the personalities of his direct reports, the mission of his team, the culture of his organization, and the interests of the various stakeholders, among others. He developed a well-reasoned approach, which included…

Obey Nature’s Laws – Part Two

Remember this from our previous post: to achieve success, work with Mother Nature, don’t fight her. She always wins. (That’s us, riding on her shoulders.) This is why we designed our EQ Leader Program2.0 around the ten principles that psychological science has repeatedly demonstrated are required for sustained impact of training and coaching programs. If you know the principles, you can do the same for your work.  Our previous post (April 19, 2021) described the first five principles. Today we will share six through ten.  Principle Six: A good relationship is essential  Research is clear that the most critical element for creating lasting behavior change is the relationship between the client and the coach. Why? You, the coach, are essentially asking your clients to step off a cliff. You are asking them to give up behaviors that have had at least some utility for them (or they never would have…