Moving from a reactive to a proactive mindset, based on conscious choice

Conscious choice
Senior leaders have a significant impact on the business performance, the organization and the culture (how people behave) either directly by their actions or indirectly by how they themselves model behaviours. Ensuring they are fully self-aware and making conscious, deliberate choices is important.

Leader effectiveness is greatly enhanced when leaders consciously choose to create a space for thinking about how they can leverage innate skills and achieve the impact they want to make. It brings significant benefits to increase self-awareness and associated techniques.

  • Leading from afar or remotely may require us to adopt a quite different approach to how we behave as a leader to be effective. This process will help the leader identify what may need to change and how.
  • Greater self-awareness of own leadership behaviour and it’s impact and ideally a personal plan for becoming even more effective as a leader.
  • For those in a senior leadership role, create a powerful symbol for the whole organisation of the importance of leadership behaviour and engagement for the success of the business.
  • Inspiring similar leadership development thinking and action throughout the organisation.

The routes to greater self-awareness

  • Reflection – how did that go and what could I do to make it better?
  • Self-challenge – that was a less than optimal outcome, what could I do differently to produce a better outcome the next time and what support do I need from others to make this happen?
  • Feedback – objective and honest feedback from others that give more information to balance against my own subjective opinion.

The value of a coach is to have an expert sitting in non-judgement and without agendas to help the leader work through a path to navigate these routes, guide objective understanding and ask the right questions as well as provide the right amount of challenge.

“Discussing scenarios is very powerful” says James Mcleod, executive coach and facilitator.  Having access to a neutral and objective voice with whom you can have unguarded and open conversations is very liberating. In the normal course of work senior leaders are highly visible and on show and may not feel that they are at liberty to share their thinking freely even with trusted colleagues or reports. There may also be a question about how comfortable people around them are in providing them with feedback and how selective the feedback is. It can create an ivory tower sensation for many executives. Engaging in a coaching process can liberate the executive from these constraints and help to unlock new thinking and approaches.

This short video, the value of executive coaching, provides you with an insight into how a typical coaching assignment plays out.

Disruptive change
The covid 19 pandemic has challenged leaders with disruptive and immediate change. One of my colleagues called it VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) on steroids. This can be extremely challenging for a senior leader as many people are looking to her or him to provide direction and answers when neither may not be immediately clear. Having the opportunity to explore scenarios in a psychologically safe and neutral environment with the guidance of a coach brings valuable insights and understanding. Quite often this can help to relieve the anxiety for a leader around change. Here is a short video describing such a process.  

About the Author

Gerry Buckley

Gerry Buckley

Gerry Buckley is a Managing Partner of Performance Plus International (PPI) and a founding member of the PPI Network. He has a depth of experience in management development and training built up over many years, initially in Ireland, then in Africa and for the last 25 years in Europe based in Belgium.