I was horrified by the decisions I saw them take that weren’t right for the company, or it’s people. As a result we were crippled by grievances, employees frequently in tears, high levels of sickness due to stress, resignations, failing services and ultimately the organisation ceasing to exist.
At any point in the decline of the company, things could have been turned around if decision-makers had had the capacity to own mistakes without being blamed, and instead, learnings could have been harnessed to move forward and do things differently.
Perhaps somewhat naively I moved into the Renewables sector, hoping things would be different. However, once more, I found myself working alongside pioneers at the top of their professional game for their technical skills and knowledge. However, their learned management style alienated their teams and displayed behaviours that could be interpreted as bullying, whether they were aware of it or not. The hierarchical structure meant these behaviours couldn’t be constructively challenged and in the end, some of these key people left the organisation.
There was one more experience I needed to have to fully understand the extent of the leadership gap amongst senior decision-makers. This time it was in the charity sector where I witnessed long-serving charity professionals moving into senior roles without having the breadth of experience of running an organisation. Unfortunately, the company culture meant they weren’t supported to gain the additional skills required for the role, they didn’t feel able to acknowledge where those skills were lacking, or even understand fully what skills were expected of them in the first place.
Having experienced both the worst and the best of what is possible, I made it my mission to help senior decision-makers engage in new ways of working so that they can become excellent leaders.