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  • Writer's pictureReeshemah Davis

Navigating the Leadership Conundrum

I recently talked with a potential client about their senior leadership team seeking a consultant to help with a stalled DEI initiative.  As I listened to the person describe the culture and environment, they hesitated to say that leaders needed to engage more with all staff.  If you’ve been reading any of my content, you know that I believe this is a leadership misstep. 

Leaders must foster a culture of support, adaptability, and growth within organizations.


In the dynamic landscape of organizational leadership, a prevailing challenge often goes unnoticed — senior leaders hesitate to seek assistance and advice. A recurring theme has emerged through market research my team conducted and testimony from client interactions: senior leaders appear reluctant to ask for help. This reluctance stems from various factors, ranging from a perceived need to know everything to a resistance to perspectives from non-senior leaders.


Let’s look more into these areas of reluctance for leaders.


The Fear of Vulnerability:

Senior leaders often operate under the assumption that they must have all the answers. This fear of vulnerability can hinder their professional growth and limit their ability to lead effectively. Acknowledging that continuous learning is a sign of strength rather than weakness is crucial.


As a consultant specializing in DEIB strategies and implementations, change management, and executive coaching, I encourage leaders to embrace vulnerability and view seeking help as a strategic move toward organizational success. This may range from asking a team their insights to pulse surveys to small focus groups or even more personal, small meeting times with various levels of the organization to hear their thoughts. 


Is it time-consuming? Yes!

Does it have to be done all the time? No.

But when you do, it’s amazingly effective.


Breaking Down Barriers to Input:

One significant challenge senior leaders face is the perception that advice or perspectives from non-senior leaders may need to be more welcome. Organizations must actively break down these barriers to create an inclusive and collaborative environment. Promoting open communication channels, fostering cross-functional collaboration, and showcasing the value of diverse perspectives can help senior leaders recognize the wealth of knowledge within their teams.  


Cultivating Flexibility and Adaptability:

Flexibility and adaptability are vital traits for effective leadership in today's rapidly evolving business landscape. Senior leaders who are open to new ideas and are willing to adapt their approaches demonstrate adaptability. It is imperative to work with organizations to instill a culture that values innovation and continuous improvement, emphasizing that flexibility enhances, rather than compromises, leadership effectiveness.


Setting Expectations through Role Modeling:

Senior leaders play a pivotal role in setting the tone for organizational culture. By being role models and demonstrating a commitment to learning and growth, they create an environment where seeking help is accepted and encouraged. This is the key to effective teams.  As an executive coach for individuals and teams, they are setting realistic expectations and emphasizing that acknowledging areas for improvement is not a sign of incompetence but a demonstration of leadership maturity.


Balancing Confidence with Empathy:

Senior leaders often need help balancing wanting to be respected for their decisions and recognizing the importance of empathy. Striking a balance between confidence and empathy is essential for effective leadership. DEIB strategies and implementations should integrate training and coaching that helps senior leaders understand the significance of considering diverse perspectives, fostering a culture of inclusion, and ultimately contributing to more well-rounded decision-making.


Building Transparent and Conversational Environments:

As team leaders, creating environments that support transparency and open conversations is essential. This applies not only to interactions between team members but also to how leaders engage with their teams. I work with organizations to implement processes, policies, and innovative communication strategies that promote transparency, making it easier for senior leaders to engage in open dialogues without the fear of judgment.


How does this resonate with you? How might you be your team and organization's best leader when seeking help? 


I encourage you to reflect on those questions as you seek to create environments supporting senior leaders' growth and development.


Let’s connect to explore how coaching can help you and your team.

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