How do I change management’s perceptions?

Not unusual to find someone who has great self-belief and finds it hard to get that across to the business management. Getting noticed isn’t always for the right reasons and can constrain job opportunities. Even harder if you are in a specialist role and are trying to break out into the wider environment.

On this occasion the client had a repeated history of being turned down for senior roles for which she was evidently qualified. It was almost as if she was faceless and treated as part of the infrastructure of the department. What to do? She turned to us for some coaching to investigate what might be getting in the way and to unlock the potential.

Am I really faceless?

Initial work focused on what actually happened at work. Who were the key players and what were their styles of operation? It was quickly apparent that the underlying issue was one of communications.

  • An immediate boss whose own style was widely different from the client and who was therefore not naturally picking up on the existing messages
  • A superior whose attitude was somewhat egotistical, manipulative and, not to put too fine a point on it, mysogynist
  • An organisation that is so huge as to make it easy to be a small cog in a very large machine
  • Promotion tightly controlled by individual managers who were often protective of their own “empires”
  • Customers (suppliers) who have their own agendas that the client had to translate into worthwhile propositions for the consumer.

It wasn’t going to be a quick fix but we did identify a variety of mechanisms to change the perceptions of her superiors in the immediate organisation. This, combined with a sabbatical, allowed her to step away from the predispositions of the management and return both refreshed and with a new set of behaviours that would encourage more positive responses.

Reinventing oneself in a big company is a real challenge. On this occasion the initial results were encouraging and our client is able to look forward in a more positive light. The improved self-understanding and techniques for understanding others will also help should she decide her future lies elsewhere.