What Keeps High-Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions VIII: Conclusions
The High-Achieving Leader
I was coaching a high-achiever who had been promoted to district sales manager of a large pharmaceutical company. She was struggling with getting her team to complete their administrative tasks. She said she felt like the police having to remind them to obey the rules. She asked me what she could do differently to make them comply.
Instead of brainstorming approaches, I asked her to define herself as a leader. Her answer focused on carrying out the responsibilities of the company: 1) for seeing that her district met their sales goals and 2) that her team member’s names never showed up on any lists for not completing company directives.
Her definition focused solely on task. She failed to include the human element. Although she was adept at communicating expectations and quick to find resources if an employee asked for help, she omitted the responsibility of setting and maintaining an emotional tone that encouraged risk-taking and innovation (ironically, this is what she, as a high-achieving woman, expected from her manager). There was a glaring lack of words such as respect, encouragement, safety and trust. She clearly felt that her position put her above her team, not as a primary member. This made it difficult for her to accept the situation as a learning and growing experience for herself as well as her employees.