"The hardest thing about being famous is that people
are always nice to you. You're in a conversation and everybody's
agreeing with what you're saying - even if you say something totally
crazy. You need people who can tell you what you don't want to hear."
When I came across this great quote from a great actor, my mind was
instantly triggered to relate it to the lives of leaders and CEOs in an
organization, who are not exactly famous or celebrities in their own
right, but who by virtue of the influence , authority and power they
wield , are many a time rendered devoid of an honest critical feedback
about their own strengths and weaknesses. How difficult and lonely it
becomes to so often hear the “Yes” from most of their colleagues and
teams , and to be subjected to only false praises, not being able to see
through ,as to exactly what’s working and what’s not.
In fact this entire syndrome of many influential senior most leaders,
the so called mighty occupants of the C-suite, especially in
traditional companies nurturing their own flock of admirers, their
indispensable left hands and right hands - only backfires, simply
because this coterie most often only serves their own purpose of
affording favors from the Bosses by diplomatically flattering or
boosting their ego and not really letting them see through their own
Few days back, I had invited a discussion on a favourite quote by Peter Drucker,
“While the leader of the past knew how to tell, the leader of the future will know how to ask.”
It attracted diverse views and it won’t be wrong to say that, while
most leaders wish to play safe just telling others what to do, it pays
well in the long run for them to pause and “ask”. Ask others about what
they have to say about the inputs coming in from their Boss!
Modern day leader is the one who inspires and motivates his team
towards higher accomplishments- he values his own need to continuously
learn and grow, he cannot be a person who feels threatened to receive
harmless suggestion or critical opinion.
While it’s understandable for subordinates to feel reluctant at times
in suggesting that their emperor is wearing no clothes, it’s for the
organization and for the leaders to have a circle of reliable critics
who genuinely care for them and for the organisation’s wellbeing. It’s
not about a formal appraisal or a 360 degree performance review but a regular dialogue with someone who has the ability and who is well positioned to help leaders see both their strengths and weaknesses in the right light!
Precisely, one of the sole reasons why any organization today would like to invest in hiring a Coach for their “ C -suite occupants : CEO, CFO, COO,
Directors”, - to afford for them a person who helps them see for
themselves ,the critical aspects of their own functioning, and helps
them establish an honest opinion about themselves - setting the tone for
improvements on key areas.
It may take years of solid decision making to reach the boardroom,
very often it only takes one bad decision to fall. In today's
high-pressure environment, leaders need someone they can trust to tell
the truth about their behaviour. And though many boards still do not
find value in seeing feedback for performance improvement as important
as other things, such as financial results, increasingly smart
CEOs and progressive organizations now realize the value of a good CEO
coach who enables constructive feedback in an atmosphere free from
fears, and anxiety.
I wish to sum up by voicing another piece of ancient wisdom coming
from none other than the great Indian poet and saint, Kabir , translated
here in English –
“Keep your critic close to you; give him shelter in your courtyard.
Without soap and water he cleanses your character”
Commentary - You get to know your fault if someone criticizes you,
and you will have a chance to correct them. Listen to the criticism
without annoyance, because the critic is not your enemy. He is helping
you to clean the rubbish from your own life.
Thankyou for reading my post and I welcome your comments!