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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How Can I Make it Right?

"So team, how do we support one another when one of us stumbles or falls?"

Great question! Unless, you are the CEO and you are the one who has stumbled.

Ouch.

The CEO-employee relationship has unequal power because the CEO ultimately signs the paycheck of everyone in the room. And, this creates a parent-child dynamic. And, the ice gets very thin when parents ask their kids for support. Why is that?

A child cannot be asked to provide for the emotional needs of the parent. At some level, this defines abuse, or at the very least co-dependency.

A child will always want to please the parent, even when it goes against their nature or their desire or "what is right". So, in this way we risk asking the child to step away from authenticity and into a masked character or persona. Again, not the target we're aiming for as parents... or as CEO's.

Children need to know that parents have the maturity to self-generate their own support and affirmation. They also need to know we're human. And, that we take 100% responsibility for our emotions and our actions.

So when a parent stumbles... or a CEO... the appropriate response in my belief is to clear the issue while taking 100% responsibility for it. "I did this. I see my mistake. And, I feel bad. I also see how it affects you. How can I make it right with you?"

When we first hear the question... "how can I make it right?"... we assume that whoever we are asking it of will come back with horrendous, over-the-top, or impossible demands. Not my experience. The question, when asked in a curious and "want-to-be-in-relationship" kind of way more often brings humility, mercy, understanding and connection. Wow. And... that is what I want with my kids... and my employees.

Onward!

V

(More? "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward, PhD)