By CLIFF HIGHTOWER
Jillian came to Dr. Debra Fish a few years ago with a problem.
Jillian, a hard-charging corporate executive, was good at her job. Very good. But perception was about to cost her a shot at a promotion.
“Your personality is a very huge factor in your effectiveness as a leader,” Fish said.
Fish spoke to Williamson, Inc. Tuesday during a business luncheon, giving a talk called “Don’t Let Your Strengths Become Your Weaknesses.” Fish is CEO of Fish Executive Leadership Group and a psychologist who helps corporate executives to improve outcomes.
Fish told the story of one of her former clients, Jillian, a corporate executive who was brilliant at her job.
Jillian worked as the CFO of the company and stood in line to become CEO. But, unknown to her, the board had reservations about promoting her because of her personality. She was seen as aloof and distant.
“The woman was an ice cube,” Fish said.
Fish began working with Jillian. She said Jillian knew how to interact with people, but just didn’t do it. During the next several months, Jillian began hosting events and building relationships with co-workers.
She said Jillian now heads the company as the CEO and also hosts the annual chili cook-off.
Fish told the audience that it can be easy to turn strengths into weaknesses. For example, self-confident can be seen as arrogant, hardworking as a workaholic or high standards as a perfectionist.
“Often, we don’t notice when they begin to hurt us,” she said.
So, how do we change these behaviors? The first is to figure them out by asking a spouse, significant other or good friend, she said. Then you can start making the changes.
Cliff Hightower can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.