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Leadership with wobbly knees

Sarah McGill | Articles

Recently Lime was working with an executive in a global bank. His organization had been beaten up by market change and gone through several rounds of layoffs and restructuring. People were scared, confused and disconnected at exactly the time he needed them to step up in performance. Talking with the leader, he would often put his head in his hands, clearly pained by what his people had been through. Fast forward a week of interviewing people in the organization…. We learned that he had, recently, moved his office to the senior executive floor to be near the CEO, but away from his direct reports. He couldn’t resist the opportunity to be on the “prestigious floor”.

Here’s the rub. This executive was as scared and unsure as his own people. In the politically charged culture of this bank, he could not resist the chance to position himself as a “player”; even as this very action put another nail in the coffin of his business unit’s performance.

Every action you take as a leader has a magnified impact on your organization. You are a role model and message carrier, like it or not. How can we support leaders to be authentic and courageous at times when they, themselves, most want to fade into the background?