Picture this: I am just finishing a coaching session with a senior manager with whom I have been working for two months. We are setting the date for the next session with his PA when I sense a change in the atmosphere, and the CEO of the organisation rips open the office door. Stepping into the path of a very surprised employee, the CEO launches into some performance feedback.
Hands on hips, red-faced, nostrils flaring (well, maybe not the nostril thing, but you get the idea, although I am positive I saw spit flying), the CEO shouted a tirade of abuse and swear words at the now incredibly embarrassed manager. At least 30 other staff looked on nearby, while doing their best to pretend they werent watching. The reason for this confrontation? The staff member had used the established system to provide feedback about a process (very professional, well-thought-out feedback, I later observed) and had mentioned the CEO by name.
Hang on, folks: we havent got to the interesting bit yet. After what I would assume felt like hours for the destroyed employee, the CEO dismissed him. The CEO then spun on his heels, instantly returned to a calm state, and with a look of contentment and a smile spreading across his face, returned to his office, closing his door gently on the way in.
Keep in mind that this was the person who had engaged me to assist his management team. My first thought was to wander over for a little chat with the CEO. I thought it would be wiser if I waited until our next meeting to revisit the chat we had earlier about emotional intelligence.
So why am I telling you this story?
On reflection, it wasnt the actual conversation that I witnessed that concerned me the most; it was the lack of understanding that the CEO had for the ripple effect. I have no doubt that a destructive tidal wave would eventually return to the CEO.
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