“So how are things going with your new executive vice president?” I asked Taylor, a senior vice president.
“Well, considering 10 minutes into our first meeting with her – which mind you, was virtual – she said, ‘I don’t like looking at myself’ and turned her camera off, I’d say I’m not feeling very comfortable.” replied Taylor.
“Wait. What?! Your new EVP turned OFF her camera 10 minutes into your first meeting with her because she doesn’t like looking at herself?” I asked incredulously.
“Yep. We spent the next 90 minutes looking at a black box with her name in it.” Taylor shared.
I know you’re probably thinking I made this scenario up. A Senior Vice President wouldn’t do something like this, right? Sadly, it really happened. Rude, self-centered, and damaging behaviors like this happen in all types of organizations: private or public, large or small every day. What’s frustrating is that 9 times out of 10 the leader is a well-intentioned individual who wants to be a good leader, wants to get things done, and wants to do good work. However, they are completely unaware of how their focus on themselves is negatively impacting their team members and severely damaging their relationships.
They are completely unaware of how their focus on themselves is negatively impacting their team members and further damaging their relationships.
Though to some, something as ‘little’ as turning off your camera during your first virtual meeting with your new team may seem inconsequential, the long-term ramifications shouldn’t be underestimated. In Taylor’s case, my conversation with her occurred three weeks after her first meeting with her new EVP. Three weeks after it occurred, and that scenario is the one Taylor chose to share to describe the EVP. Regardless of her vast experience, new perspectives, and expertise the new EVP had demonstrated after that first interaction, that first, negative interaction still has the strongest impact on Taylor. So what does it mean for her new EVP? She now has to work twice as hard to earn Taylor’s respect and that of her other SVPs. She has to work to undo the damage that that one interaction caused to just get back to a neutral position with them before she has any chance of gaining their trust and respect.
She has to work to undo the damage that that one interaction caused to just get back to a neutral position with them before she has any chance of gaining their trust and respect.
In leadership, we get ourselves into trouble when we lose focus. When we focus on what we want instead of what our team needs of us, we trip them up and none of us succeed. Let’s keep the focus on them and we’ll all succeed.
Copyright MMXXIII – Liz Weber, CMC, CSP – Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!