Loddie Foose shares an experience that illustrates how a disempowering executive interaction can lead to a key moment in learning how to look at an issue from a different perspective to gain understanding.
I felt my stomach drop as I looked at his face. “Mr. VP” had invited me into his office to provide feedback for my development, but his face showed deep aggravation and tension. I had asked a question during a group meeting about how our numbers compared to those of our main competitor, a standard strategic benchmarking question. He was unprepared for the question and as a result became angry with me after the meeting. And through his demeanor and language as we sat in his office, he demonstrated to me both his disapproval and his power.
And I did what generations of women and minority groups before me have done. I did the magic metamorphosis of survival, transforming before his very eyes from a thoughtful leader into something small he wouldn’t have to feel insecure about.
By the end of this conversation in his office, Mr. VP said in a moment of self-awareness, “Sometimes I get a little worked up.” This was his version of an apology as he began to calm down and more clearly see how he was interacting with me, a colleague several levels more junior. Despite his apology, I left feeling emotionally drained and violated.
This incident was not my best moment as a leader, nor was it Mr. VP’s. Both of us were operating from unconscious drivers that obscured our view of what was really happening (i.e. the “veils” shown metaphorically in the cover art for this article). As I spoke with other women in our organization, I heard similar stories about disempowering executive interactions. It had developed into an accepted norm in our workplace culture. Let’s consider together in the next few minutes how these types of interactions impact a business, how we can dissolve the veils that keep us from our greatest potential, and how this journey can be applied both at individual leadership and enterprise leadership levels.
Key points include:
- Addressing veils at an enterprise level
- Powerful differentiators
- Netflix’s new culture paradigm
Read the full article, Un-Veiled: How to Dissolve Illusions and Achieve Our Greatest Potential, on LinkedIn.