John (not his real name) was referred for executive coaching because while he is brilliant and brings impressive ideas to his large corporation, there continued to be complaints about how he interacted with people. He seemed gruff and rude to people; they thought he was too dismissive and demanding. When I met John, he was not excited about participating in coaching. The problem was with the unintelligent people around him who needed to learn to execute effectively. John focused on results, and he knew what was required to make the numbers. He didn’t want to waste time on people issues.
I have worked with many leaders like John. Some were not as direct as John and would say they cared about people, but those around them did not experience connection.
A theme I continually see in my work as an executive coach and facilitator of leadership development programs is the need for real human connection. It is sad to see the energy wasted by all involved when people feel unheard. The work experience can be challenging where there is a lack of empathy, trust, and innovation. It’s hard to collaborate and create new solutions amid a climate and culture of disconnection.
Luckily, after some coaching and experimentation, John tasted the connection experience with his team and colleagues. A whole new way of being opened up for him. He learned how to take an Open Stance and to catch himself from reacting and instead choose more effective responses. He genuinely listened and felt heard himself. He created a greater sense of trust, and his team performed at a higher level with more enthusiasm. Hearing how colleagues and team members had greater respect and confidence in John and the organization was inspiring. The connection was transformative.
What has been your experience with connection in your team and organization?