How Can I Live Up to Their Expectations?

Business Leader Post, November 29, 2011

Thomas D. Davidow, Ed.D.

I work in a family business where I am expected to always make the right decisions. How can I live up to their expectations?

I deal with a lot of very smart people as a Business Psychologist. Most of them are Entrepreneurs and founders or Stewards of their Family Owned Business, with a couple of CEO’s thrown in. They are literally almost always right. They have truly been there and done that. Sometimes they forget that what comes easily and naturally to them does not come as easily to others. This is further complicated by how their mind works. They see the big picture quickly, are able to focus on the problem and design a solution quickly. Communicating their insight or vision effectively to others requires them to pause, slow down and allow for others to integrate their reasoning. The people around them need to be guided through their thought process so that the message and the thinking behind the message are understood.

This is the one skill that they are not very good at. My message to them has always been that being right is not enough. They have to be effective. When one is caught up in the merits of an idea and others do not appreciate or understand, they can get impatient. That emotional response interferes with their ability to explain, teach and mentor. The challenge is an intellectual one. It starts with awareness, and developing the intellectual discipline to execute a different skill of asking questions about what people are struggling to understand rather than simply giving answers.

You are all bright. You can do it.