If you have been told that you are an abrasive leader (or maybe the term used was “a bully”), this letter is for you.
You may have gone through a workplace investigation that resulted in negative findings about your interpersonal style. Or maybe your manager called you in for an exceedingly frank discussion, where you were told that you are expected to change (and quickly). Maybe your job was put on the line if you don’t change. Maybe you were relatively lucky and a softer approach was taken.
Right now, you might be experiencing shock, anger, upset, fear, pain, confusion, betrayal, anxiety, or rage. Or all of the above.
If you recognize yourself in these descriptions (and even if you entirely disagree with the term “abrasive”), please know that there is help. In fact, I am here to help you. If your organization decides to invest in helping you change by offering you participation in our REAL™ Program for Abrasive Leaders, you and I will work together closely to help you develop the skills necessary to get out of this predicament and move forward, confident that you will not face such problems again. And, if you are motivated to do this and willing to work hard, we can accomplish our joint task in a relatively short period of time. Several months, in fact.
How will we do this?
Actually, it’s surprisingly simple (but not necessarily easy).
The main challenge facing you at the moment is that there are negative perceptions out there about your management and interpersonal style. Whether they are justified or not is irrelevant right now, because the undeniable fact is that these negative perceptions have come to haunt you and interfere with your career and possibly even livelihood.
Should we work together, you will engage me as a co-researcher of sorts. In that role, I will go into your workplace and obtain very detailed and reliable data about the exact nature of those negative perceptions and what is causing them. I will then bring this data to you. Yes, only you will see the data—not your company, manager, or Human Resources.
It may not be pretty, and chances are that you will have a bit of a rough time when we review the data. But rest assured, together we will analyze the information carefully and then develop strategies to make those negative perceptions go away, never to come back again. I will be by your side throughout this process, helping you figure out what’s going on and how to change in ways that will get you out of the mess in which you find yourself.
The program will require you to work hard and try new behaviours, but the result will be that you will become an even more effective leader than you are now, and the people who work with you will experience you very differently. And even though your employer will be footing the bill, the program’s clear confidentiality guidelines will protect our working together in ways that will enable you to face what needs to be faced, once and for all.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly to discuss whether and how the REAL™ Program for Abrasive Leaders might help you.
Here are reflections from clients who worked with me and were successful in turning things around:
“The day my staff had a mutiny while I was on vacation was the worst day of my life. Now I think of it as one of the best things that ever happened to me.”
“I don’t know how I became like that—I didn’t start out this way. I guess it got worse and worse over twenty years and no one had the guts to stop me.”
“It was managing by osmosis, I managed others the way I had been managed. I just didn’t know anything different or better.”
“It was really tough to see how people perceived me, and how much distress I was causing. I had no clue. But after the pain of seeing what people said, I had something to really work with. It all becomes better from there.”
“Every morning before I leave the house I stop right at the door, focus, and say my mantra: “Be kind.” So simple. It reminds me of who I want to be and the kind of dad I want my kid to be proud of. Before I get out of my vehicle and into any work site, I do the same.”
“I keep the summary of findings from the interviews on my desk. It reminds me that I never ever want to be that person again. I tell myself: Never forget. Be more humble.”
I’m here — happy to speak with you and do my best to help at this time.