The Corner Office – “Pick A Face”

(c) estherase

Am enjoying dipping into Adam Bryant’s book, The Corner Office which summarizes the learnings from his regular column in the New York Times where he interviews senior leaders.

Each chapter summarizes a leadership lesson and quotes from the leaders who have interesting insights on it.  One good chapter is called “The Surprises that Await You”:

“…the intense scrutiny, the weight of responsibility, the amount of work, the challenge of managing new layers of people, the way employees assume the boss has both superhuman knowledge and power.”

Some CEOs spoke of the weight of realizing that decisions ultimately lay with them and not someone else – one woman asked for a review of some material from her boss and he said “I don’t buy a dog and bark for it.”

And as Bryant notes, the scrutiny is intense “All eyes are on you. Every shrug of your shoulders, every stern look…will be subjected to obsessive scrutiny for clues by your employees.”

Some good notes as well that were echoed at one of the panelists at our Departmental leadership conference – when you are thinking aloud, people will take your words as a directive – speak with caution.

Lastly, some interesting advice that it would be best to “pick a face” – not sure I agree but here is the premise.  Decide if you are going to be serious or friendly and have that be your work persona so that employees are not on a roller coaster trying to re-calibrate to your every emotion. For me this strays close to the bigger question of to what extent you get to express your humanity as a leader as I have written about here, I do agree is trying to moderate given the inflation effect of your emotions.


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