Diane is a hard charging, mid-career, 38-year-old. Since finishing her MBA at a top business school 10 years ago, she’s had nothing but success. What people love most about Diane is her ability to make decisions and deliver results. She’s energetic, engaged and focused on getting things done.
Diane takes a lot of pride in her leadership style, which reflects the Passion, Self-confidence, and Candor that have served her well in her climb to the executive suite. But things hit a speed bump last week when Diane found out she was not going to get the vice president’s job she was sure she had a lock on. Once she got over the initial shock, she sat down with her boss, Ben, to have a candid talk about it.
Ben told Diane that although she was doing a great job overall, some concerns with her leadership style had surfaced during the vetting process. Somewhere along the way, Diane got a reputation for being too blunt at times and a little self-absorbed (Thoughtfulness). While she was usually seen as a great leader, she could turn inward and become autocratic when the chips were down (Poise). When that happened she would stop listening and become cynical, dismissing the suggestions of others with flippant remarks (Openness). The reports made the executive committee uncomfortable, and they began to question how she would handle herself on a larger stage. They concluded that she needed more time to iron out some wrinkles before advancing further.
Like many leaders blessed with Diane's combination of charisma, intelligence, and drive, the challenging dimensions tend to be about poise and relationships. She is accustomed to getting her way, and for good reason. But for others to continue to see Diane as top level executive material, she needs to work on the about us dimensions, showing more consistency with her poise when under pressure, her openness to conflicting ideas, and thoughtfulness when engaging others..