The Power Game

You must notice when you get into those mind games with yourself and others. It’s the warrior you. The one that won’t let the bully win in the schoolyard. The one that wants to show the world that you have backbone and courage. So you start to plan the war. At night when everyone else is asleep. At work, pretending to listen. But all the while planning your next move. With friends asking their help and advice. This is war, you say, and I am doing it not for me but for my people. For my organization. For humanity. For the betterment of mankind. For my family. Oh really? Seriously? Is that where your obsession comes from? Or is it yet some unresolved issue dating way back to those other days that have little to do with current realities?


If you think that this scenario is rare or not your issue, think again. In my work with leaders, it is the rare leader that does not carry this cross on his or her back. More typically, leaders routinely confuse the realities of the current situation with dated occurrences or with surface-level resemblances to the here and now.


A senior woman leader who had to survive the male-dominated family and societal culture she was reared in, reacted with disbelief when other women in her organization gave her developmental upward feedback. Her reaction was “how can a sister say that about another sister…”


Another leader, shaped by his training and experience by the SEAL Special Forces, dismissed a coach assigned to him, even prior to giving his coach a chance to work with him, on the premise that no civilian can ever understand him or help him. Even though the challenge he wanted to work on was how to best transition from military life to a civilian career.


The inner voice is shaped by years of habitual behavior, and unsupervised, it can wreak havoc. The consequences are more significant when leaders exhibit this mindset. Their decisions affect many with devastating consequences.


So here is what you ask when we talk about this.  “Look, I am xx years old. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.  Or, “I am not aware when I go into autopilot. So what can I do?” When you took the mantle of leadership, you promised all of your followers that you will never stop growing. You pledged that their interest will come before yours and you will do what it takes. You committed to changing your stance with new information and checking your ego at the door. And, you took a stance for role modeling behavior that others should emulate. Step into your promise or hand over the mantle to someone else. If you commit and need support to get there you will be amazed at what the universe will unleash.


Questions for Online Conversation

  1. Can you see your self-deceptive self?
  2. What is it whispering?
  3. What can you do?

About Kaveh Naficy
Kaveh is the leader of Heidrick and Struggles executive coaching practice in North America. Kaveh focuses on working with leaders placed to make transformational and creative changes in their organizations. Kaveh has a proven record of success in harnessing the strengths of these leaders to achieve accelerated business solutions. He is able to create significant insights through reflective thinking, presence, and disciplined follow-through. Executives who have worked with Kaveh say that his strengths are his deep insights into the realities of the current and future business world, accelerated scanning of the environment and competition; creative out of the box thinking, and leveraging the collective intelligence of their teams and creating the organizational culture to support and foster the appropriate organizational design and strategies. They also point their deep trust and personal connectivity with Kaveh, his coaching approach, and style.

One Response to The Power Game

  1. Kathi Love says:

    I liked this post. We all carry our wounds, often scarred over, but scarred none the less. Thank you for your writing.

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