Executive at Risk of Losing His Job and the Corporation was at Risk of Losing Millions
A senior executive, “described as a bull in a china shop,” was causing major disruption in the department and putting the company at risk for a major law suit. The HR department assessed the situation and found the executive to indeed be pushy and alienating, but determined legal action wasn’t warranted. Even so, the potential for litigation was still a viable threat and could still cost the organization a significant amount to settle, along with the potential embarrassment and disruption to the organization.
The HR department assessed the situation, trying to talk sense into all involved. Patience was beginning to wear. They tried to calm those involved in the complaint, and there was discussion about getting rid of the exec, or sending him to a leadership training course. All of these ‘make nice’ or ‘get rid of’ approaches weren’t working.
During and After
Brains value trust at the core, our neural circuits for trust light up when we first meet people, evaluating if they are safe and trustworthy. In the jungle when there was movement in the bushes we had to know immediately if it was safe or not, and if we should trust the person walking towards us or not.
Brains also value status and if you threaten someone’s status it spells trouble down the road. Status is also important for credibility and being a credible source is imperative to persuade others. With status influence goes faster, without it everything slows down. The exec has lost trust, threatened their status, lost his own status and had almost zero credibility with his people. It was a big hurdle to transform his own neural circuit for how to lead and for him to transform the neural circuits in the brains of his people to lead again.
Steven designed a customized assessment for this sensitive situation. Working with the executive, the department members, and the head of HR and legal, we designed a plan that would address the concerns of all involved; the corporation, the department members, and the executive in trouble.
Steven worked with department members and with the executive to re-establish trust and improve performance. The manager realized he was shooting himself in the foot, and needed to create powerful relationships with the people on his team, instead of using his position as a point of power. He learned to frame his arguments in more compelling ways. He made a bold apology, and learned how to achieve different results without being a ‘bull in a china shop.’ Remarkably, his team moved from thinking, “Let’s get rid of this person,” to, “He’s a great boss that we really want to work for.”
Years later when he did leave the company for a bigger opportunity and position the exact people who complained about him asked him to bring them along!
They really liked working for him, that’s building powerful relationships.