The Executive Who Dabbled in Management
The Executive Who Dabbled in Management
There are, unfortunately, “100 schools” of management, thousands of management courses (online and in-person), and no doubt, tens of thousands of management consultant teachers. At VIM Executive Coaching, we have had clients who have attended or used all three resources. Many of these fine folks have all sorts of framed “diplomas” and certificates on their office walls. They are proud, and rightly so, that they have attended or passed tests or attended so many sessions. Yet strangely, perhaps, they will enter our Denver office, “hat in hand,” and ask for business coaching because they feel their management skills are lacking.
An All-Too Common Problem
Given the varied natures and backgrounds of our clients, the trainings they have had, and the industries in which they are involved, it is surprising to see that many of them have many issues in common. Invariably we can expect people to ask for help in being better able to communicate and really listen to what their peers and subordinates are saying to them. They also fear, that despite their many courses, training sessions and experts advising them, they are inept at helping to resolve issues.
I well remember one executive who told me, “I feel as though I have spent my entire career dabbling in coursework, not knowing which way to go, and in the end, I can’t sit down and fix anything.” I thought about his word “dabbling” for a few minutes and realized that is precisely what is wrong with many managers.
We are a nation of learners. We love to get those framed certificates and add important sounding initials after our names. We often dabble in this course and that seminar, but make the mistake of adding rather than subtracting. By subtraction, I mean that many executives fail to take the inner journey, casting off what no longer works or was not their management style, and instead focusing on what makes them authentic and responsive to the needs of their employees and peers.
I suppose that beautifully framed certificates are impressive and that they are often put up on office walls to impress or decorate (or to cover up old nail holes!) but unless the certificates also encompassed mindfulness, they invariably fall short.
Mindfulness is the opposite of dabbling. Because mindfulness requires us to take an inner journey rather than adding pieces of paper that simply serve to obscure or produce yet more credentials, being authentic in the moment and mindful in our actions as executives are difficult in their simplicity.
Where are we as Managers?
Some of the best executives I have ever encountered were not necessarily Wharton or Harvard graduates nor did they have many framed credentials nor were they rushing to this seminar or that. Indeed, they were introspective, very real and unbiased in their deeds and thinking. They took the time to listen and always responded to situations rather than reacted.
At VIM Executive Coaching, our focus is not on producing more diplomas rather to encourage mindfulness through meditation, engagement with one another, an exploration of inner-self and what makes us authentic as people.
The work environment in today’s business world in very demanding, with intense stressors and focused outcomes. The key to understanding how to navigate in that world has nothing to do with dabbling in one course or another, but in being able to be real in the moment.
It takes great skill to be an authentic manager because it takes effort for us to know ourselves. If we truly know ourselves, we can better empathize and respond to others. Being mindful is far more effective than dabbling and in fact, those we coach understand that dabbling is much more painful to our management style in the long run. In the end, we feel a pretty picture on the wall might be far more soothing than a collection of certificates!
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