In a conversation with a C-suite executive from another firm, we brought up the theme of respect in corporate environments. Every individual deserves respect, and no one, irrespective of his or her position, can choose to take that away from anyone.
Often there are instances where leadership has its aberrations. In such situations, they have to guard against not losing their calm and composed posture. However difficult a mistake or problem may be, a calm head remains the basic fundamental for any resolution.
Often time-critical interactions between the boss and subordinate leads to aggressive stances. It is unwarranted, though many seem to see it as natural in the corporate world. Even comparisons or corrections need to adhere to specific protocols and any deviation from it is a mistake that corporate cultures have to guard against.
Anger or aggression by a boss in dealing with colleagues is unnecessary. It takes away the very impact of respect, a value that any organization stands for.
The CEO needs to build a medium of engagement with its C-suite colleagues or others, where corrective outcomes are sought without loss of patience. Where mistakes are diagnosed, not dissected, the CEO can indeed express his disappointment with a tone of assertion.
Unexpected results or wrong outcomes do come under the scrutiny of bosses, but what matters is the conduct of the CEO to manage these situations. Whilst it may be frustrating, nothing positive can be achieved through adverse reactions.
Restraint gets results
Respect for the CEO does increase among colleagues if he chooses patience and correctional engagements with a sense of decorum. Leadership roles require clarity of purpose and loftiness of vision… but also compassionate communication.
One must prevail on a corrective approach that seeks positive outcomes. Punitive actions such as threatening job security, financial penalties or personal attacks are disastrous. Always take the opportunity to engage to let the other person know their mistake and embark on the correction.
In my journey as a CEO, anger and intense reactions out of my frustrations did haunt me, and these I had to work on. Changes to that behaviour did help me later. There remains a lot of work in progress, but this process requires perpetual introspection.
- Tariq Chauhan is Group CEO of EFS Facilities Services Group.