We’d both been looking forward to it–our first Thanksgiving together. We’d each been the primary holiday cooks in our previous marriage, which can feel lonely and overwhelming at times. But not this year. Now we had each other. We’d planned the perfect menu the week before while eating sushi over candlelight. We’d had fun shopping. We were all set. I was full of anticipation of a
Morgan (a family friend who also happens to be a millennial) was practically screaming in frustration as we began our mentoring session, “Arghhh, Karin, I’m just so frustrated. They want me to do all this crap… none of it seems important, and it’s getting in the way of my real work.” It would have been tempting to just take Morgan’s word for it– that the “crap”
When I told “John” what I did for a living, he chuckled. “Oh, I learned how to be a good leader the hard way.” Don’t we all. It’s often our most klutsy moves that teach us how to Win Well.
Here is “John’s” story. I hope you’ll share yours with our LGL community in the comments below.
I was the VP of well-known
You know that asking the right questions will make you a stronger leader. But it’s hard. Not all questions have the same impact. And it’s risky. You never know what the response will be–which means you need to stay fully present to be helpful. “When you ask a question you’re giving up some of your power. It means you’re willing to sit in that discomfort for the good of another
I’ll never forget attending a leadership development program at a fancy hotel in the early 1990s. The main topic was diversity. John, my well-dressed, articulate, black peer, came back from the coffee break with tears in his eyes, saying he was standing outside getting some fresh air, when some guy handed him his keys thinking he was the valet. He looked right at me, and said, “Karin there is no way on
I was about to start my presentation, and was told that we couldn’t begin until we had “the safety briefing.” I was intrigued. The team went into a well-orchestrated checklist delegating contingency emergency assignments and ensuring that everyone knew where the nearest exits and fire extinguishers were. “Okay, if anyone has a medical condition that could need attention, please write that
I cried as I read his note. I’ve been wrestling with how to share this with you ever since. I thought about writing about it generically but that fell flat. I couldn’t write it in a way that kept the impact. So here’s my pre-apology. This is not a “look what I did, follow my lead” post. It’s a “Look what HE did, and OMG do we need more of that in this world!” post. If
I’ve never met an executive who said, “My team’s just too strategic. I just wish they would focus on the day-to-day work.” Nope. In fact it’s quite the opposite concern. “How do I get my team to think more strategically?” “Karin, I just don’t think anyone on this team is ready to take on my role…. and I can’t get promoted until I find a