Confiding in your board, or your senior managers, about your worries or anxieties about a new market, a fellow director or even the business direction is often seen as a mark of weakness and will get pounced on just like a hungry T-Rex spying a tasty morsel.
And yet, we’re only human, we need someone to talk these worries through with.
Someone we can trust to not dig the knife or start to stir up a worry with the intention of undermining us.
What about when we “know” in our water we should be in a new market and everyone else around us has their own agenda and doesn’t want to “chance” it?
Maybe they’re worried it could affect their own shareholding, or make it harder for them to jump ship if they need to. Or it might entail a lot of hard work that they don’t want to do!
Different Viewpoints Are OK Too
And there’s actually nothing wrong with different viewpoints. However, it’s better for the chief executive to be able to use a sounding board who has no company agenda and simply wants to help the business grow.
And as I’ve been going round doing my executive coaching I’ve noticed there are CEOs who are looking for the opportunity to sound out what they’re thinking, without it being a career limiting move.
In reality that sort of confidential sharing can’t happen until the CEO and mentor have reached the right level of trust. And of course the CEO must know that those confidences are held strictly against the chest of the mentor and never divulged.
CEOs Are People Too!
I’ve discovered that the managing directors or CEOs who’ve used me as a sounding board or as “old and wise counsel” (hopefully wise!) have really come up with very interesting points of view. And they themselves can be very different to the perceptions of them held by others in their own company.
So, my recommendation, is for you to look out for someone who you can unburden yourself to, someone who won’t share the confidence with anyone and who has a good understanding of business. That way you can thrash out ideas and worries before they become too entrenched or bothersome and before fellow directors, or owners, are presented with them.