I’ve coached a lot of CEO’s and Executive Director types over the years. However, I’ve also coached many people in “second” positions. “Number One’s,” as Jean Luc Picard of the Star Trek Enterprise called them, are people who are senior leaders in the organization with significant responsibility for day to day operations (and often staff), and report to the most senior leader or CEO of the organization or company.
These people face, as does anyone in the organization, unique issues that flow out of their job responsibilities. One of these “issues” is the need to lead their leader. Let’s face it, the most senior of leaders in an organization may have enormous capabilities, but also have some fairly common blindspots.
Blindspot One: Many (not all) CEO types have attention deficit disorder. They can’t stay focused on anything for very long, particularly if it’s a perplexing operational issue. Their eyes glaze over and they move the conversation to future vision.
Blindspot Two: Many (not all) CEO’s are rather insecure people. Aren’t we all. Yet, we don’t think of these people as insecure. But, many are. This insecurity can make it difficult to challenge them.
Blindspot Three: Many CEO’s are impulisive. What I mean by this one is that many CEO’s are lured by the possibility of the future (which is what makes them good CEO’s) to the detriment of the realities of the present.
When you mix these three “challenges” you can find yourself, as a Number One, in a pretty tough spot.
How do I engage my leader in daily work, when he or she doesn’t enjoy operational focus and believes his/her role is to “forge” the vision?
How do I tell my leader the truth about him/herself, when he/she might either become hurt or angry over the news?
How do I help my leader keep both the need for new vision and the realities of the present in mind as he/she moves through her day and executes his position?
And the questions go on…
So throw some of your own ideas out and I will be talking about these questions/issues in the next couple of posts.