Have You Ever Thought: What Would It Be Like to Work For You?

If you lead a team for an organization, and have courage, here is a great question to ask you: ‘would I want to work for me?’ Now step into the perspectives of those with whom you work closely. What would they say if given the opportunity to participate in a 360 review about you?

Before I dive into interviews for a 360 leadership study, I always meet with the person the study is about and ask him, what do you think people will say about you?  I have been surprised to discover that they are always right. We already know, deep inside, what we do well and where we can improve. But saying it out loud makes it real and scarier. And before I facilitate organizational health off-sites for teams I prep the leader of the team to be prepared for getting beat up a bit; because they almost always do.  When team members, aka employees, know that they are participating in an offsite meant to constructively build out HOW they can get their jobs done more constructively, they will inevitably speak up…eventually. They need to feel safe to do that.  An online team assessment that measures how the team is performing in the areas of trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results brings the reality of their work together into the room.  From there a meaningful discussion about what has been and what can be begins, and trust starts to grow. The discussions that follow are powerful often because the elephant(s) in the room, the un-discussable(s) is revealed even if obliquely so.  There is no better antiseptic than the light of day, as they say.  But it can be hard for leaders to hear.

So leaders often feel beat up a bit.  I tell them to prepare for this and then ask them to do a few things: listen, don’t argue, listen, take it, and then say thank you.  I ask them; ‘think about if you would like to work for you?’ The truth is that if what everybody says is true, that leadership matters, then team feedback matters too and can be quite revealing.  Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say” is what we are talking about here and it is the powerful evidence of great leadership.  It’s easy to SAY the right things but people are LOOKING for the actions that go with the talk; it’s about alignment.  This isn’t new or revelatory until you put it to the test and say the truths out loud.  Then you can’t hide.

The good news is that for leaders who really do want to see their organizations be better, and want for their own leadership to be better, they can absolutely get much better if the leader invests the time, is willing to hear what’s hard, and then lead their team to the better, more constructive place.  It can be done but it takes resolve, courage and a willingness to listen to the answers to very challenging questions, like would they want to work for them?

Tania Fowler

Tania grew up in San Francisco. She went to college at the University of California at Santa Barbara where she received her BA degree in Geological Sciences. Tania worked with Shell Oil Company in Houston, Texas in the early 80’s during the oil energy boom. She hit the ‘pause’ button on her work life to become the mother of three sons, thankfully not all at once, but one at a time. After staying home for twelve years and taking care of her precious, if not raucous brood, she received her real estate license and worked as a realtor for seven years in Sacramento, California, quickly reaching the select level of Masters Club. While selling real estate, she honed her communication, coaching, and people skills and decided that she was more interested in helping people realize their work dreams than their dream homes.

Tania has worked with hundreds of business executives and their teams, managers, and educators since 2005. She has received an Executive Coaching Certification from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Executive Ed Program. Additionally she trained with CTI (Coaches Training Institute) and NLP of California (Neuro-linguistic Programming). Tania has coached with internationally known business coaches Robert Hargrove (Masterful Coaching) and Mark Rittenberg (Corporate Scenes). She is also a certified Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator consultant specializing in Temperament and Interaction Styles. Tania has worked with numerous organizations including: CGI, Seagate Technology, EDS, California Public Utilities Commission, UC Berkeley Haas School of Executive Ed as well as many nonprofits and individual executives.

Interplay Coaching brings years of experience focusing on unbeatable performance by working with executive leaders and their teams to create a work environment obsessed with aligning their actions, communications, and leadership with their business purposes and objectives; essentially helping to build healthier organizations. Whether working with businesses or individuals Tania’s focus remains the same: to recognize and stand in the belief that the potential of an organization or an individual is even greater than what you see before you at any given time. If you want to be better she wants to help get you there.