“Executives are hired on experience and fired on personality.” This well known phrase in the executive search business sums up years of collective experience and the prevailing findings from executive derailment research. Estimates of the financial cost of a single failed manager range from $1,000,000 to 2,700,000. The good news is that there are ways to predict and avoid hiring a poor fit as well as being alert to and addressing early warning signs of problems.
Lack of clarity about the differences between executive/organizational consulting, executive coaching, and executive psychotherapy is confusing and can lead executives to ask for and receive the wrong services only to discover that their expectations are not being met, there is no improvement, or worse, conditions deteriorate. When the coach attempts to deal with a problem that requires the expertise of a mental health professional serious consequences and ethical issues can arise. In the end, the lack of clear differentiation between consulting, coaching and psychotherapy harms the coaching and consulting professions.
Empathy enables an intimate intuitive understanding of others. It is also an innate human capability but is often ignored or undervalued particularly in western business settings that favor logical analysis. As a result we learn to suppress or ignore cues – both internal and external – that would otherwise serve as an invaluable source of wisdom. Fortunately empathy is like a muscle that expands and grows stronger with use. What follows is a guide to increasing your capacity for empathy so in a nanosecond you can know what matters most.
Transformational leadership is a much used and widely misunderstood term. James MacGregor Burns, a respected scholar and authority on leadership, used it in 1978 to describe leaders who “engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality.” Together they shape a common purpose and use their respective power to achieve it. As they work towards this shared vision those involved discover and employ a more highly developed self. Many mis-use the term transformational leader to describe those who lead and achieve change although not necessarily on behalf of a higher moral purpose or in a way that lifts both leader and follower to a better self.
A leader’s ability to use the power of emotions is key to his/her success. Research on leadership shows that highly successful leaders have greater emotional competence than their less outstanding peers. Empathy – the ability to know and feel what others experience – is the foundation of emotional intelligence. Companies ranging from health care to high tech are realizing benefits to their bottom line by creating cultures that promote emotional intelligence in interactions with customers and employees.
Empowerment is a way to involve teams and team members as business partners in determining the degree of success that the company achieves. It makes more resources available to the company because it taps the knowledge, skills, experience, motivation and commitment of each person and of the team as a whole. Empowerment takes place in a context, most of which is set by the company’s senior leaders.