What Keeps High-Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions VIII: Conclusions
Yet when she talked about members of her sales team as individuals, it was obvious how deeply she cared about them and their success, demonstrating that she wasn’t solely driven by her own desire for recognition. She wanted to help them enjoy their jobs and be proud of their individual wins as much as she wanted them to make a visible difference within the company. Yet few people saw how deeply she cared about her team. They only saw her as caring too much about getting recognition for exceeding the sales expectations.
She came to our coaching relationship committed to changing her style. She was at a loss for what to do other than delivering threats and rewards and providing quick follow-up to her employees when they made requests. Additionally, she felt constant pressure from her boss and division management to perform which was typical of the culture of the organization.
I interviewed her direct reports. It was no surprise that they described her as overwhelming, patronizing and too intense. They felt she spent far too much time demonstrating her own expertise than in trusting and developing them. She never spent time just talking with them; she didn’t get to know who they were and what they needed. If they came to her with a concern, she was quick to jump in with solutions instead of coaching them to find their own. They were afraid to give her feedback because she might retaliate. They didn’t think she was a bad person. But since she obviously didn’t trust them, they couldn’t trust her.
I could have told her to back off and quit micromanaging. I could have taught her coaching skills. I could have worked with her on specific scenarios and helped her find new solutions. Yet I didn’t want to waste our time.