I have never offered to provide a testimonial for anyone. In fact, Tracey Burns, was surprised when I suggested it. It was my emotional response to what began as practical business training and quickly became the genesis of a self-awareness I wish I had achieved years ago.
I have been a successful leader of multi-million-dollar organizations for the better part of 30 years. I have enjoyed moments of celebration with a variety of teams and realized fiscal success for several companies. I had this “management thing” down to an art… or did I? Were my conclusions and my ego both ill informed?
In the fall of 2023, I met Tracey Burns who was commissioned to help address what appeared to be cultural issues inside our company. What we didn’t know was how far reaching those issues might be. Most importantly, how was I as the leader stewarding our culture or was I an unaware contributor to those same issues through my tactics and style, all be they well-intended.
I learned quickly (although Tracey may disagree on how quickly) that a leader is not “the fixer”. Leading others to acquire knowledge, focus, awareness and execution skills was/is my role. The “fixer” as I perceived myself was doing two things. First, I was disempowering my teammates, and it largely was behavior born out of service to my own ego.
Over a period of several weeks Tracey, through insight, honesty and directness was able to help me see the impact of my actions, moreover, to recognize who was “really” served by my leadership methodology. Yes, I was helping the company, but I wasn’t helping grow the team, which ultimately would have a greater impact.
The trust-based relationship that Tracey created allowed me to see myself and begin to understand my motivations. Ultimately, the role became more difficult as it was largely directive and not consistently collaborative. Throughout our time together, we discussed a great many things about human behavior (mine and others), leadership, emotional intelligence and the willingness to share responsibility for a solution-based culture.
I couldn’t be more grateful for Tracey’s time, candor, compassion and clarity in bringing this leader to a new level of understanding of my role and myself.