09 Dec

Three little words

I’ve mentored exactly thirty B-Suite leaders this month. I like things to be tidy, so that number pleases me disproportionately (is that weird?).

The leaders I work with are weirdly in sync with each other too – like they’re being tidy to make it easier for me to spot the patterns. And there are always patterns. If one is expressing a particular emotion or concern then the chances are I’ll hear it from multiple sources that same month.

Are they all in the same industry? Nope. Same job type? No. It’s the B-Suite – they are in sync.

So what are they saying? What are the keywords floating around the inner working of B-Suite leader brains right now?

Exhaustion

Unless you’re the lucky few living in ‘the unscathed territories’ (you know who you are) then this is the first thing I am hearing. Not ‘busy’, not ‘burned out’, not ‘unsustainable’; exhausted. 

They are deeply and grimly exhausted, and so are their teams. And it’s playing out across organisations in examples of reduced decision-making and risk-taking, limited coping mechanisms and emotional flare-ups.

It’s also manifesting in an increased number of conversations about throwing in the towel – with their current employer or with leadership entirely.

Frustration

They’re not the only ones exhausted – so is their boss, and that means decision-making and risk-taking at the top may also be affected. Whether that’s true or not, it’s certainly being perceived that way.

B-Suite leaders are becoming frustrated with delayed decision making, lack of transparency or the perceived lack of influencing going on at the top. 

Many are putting their foot down for the first time in a long time (if ever), so their C-Suite leaders better be ready to be held to account.

Confidence

After the upper of frustration, there’s a downer on confidence.

Confidence has always been on the B-Suite agenda, and is something we work on regularly, but right now, it’s a bigger issue and it’s manifesting as paranoia, hesitation, passivity, paralysis and emotion. 

Managing that is exhausting, and right at a time when B-Suite leaders don’t have much more in the tank.

So what can we do about it?

If you’re a B-Suite leaders’ boss, communicate in overdrive. Tell them where their issues are at, what you’re doing about it, and how great a job they are doing. Be specific, transparent and consistent with this communication. Right now, they need this from you.

If you’re a B-Suite Leader, cut yourself some slack. If you’re avoiding doing something that you don’t like or feels challenging, maybe don’t do it unless you absolutely have to. Now may not be the time to be stretching yourself. These times are stretching you anyway. Conserve your energy for the essentials for the time being.

Regardless of whether you are B-Suite or C-Suite, take some time out for self-care. Take meetings sitting in the sun instead of at your desk. Put your alarm back 30 mins to get more sleep. Get your endorphins flowing with some exercise or some chocolate (or both!). Don’t neglect the restorative power of simply doing something different intellectually or creatively, and maybe schedule in some fun to give yourself a circuit breaker.

Or call your mentor, of course 🙂


The B-Suite in the Media this month


Rebecca is Australia’s pre-eminent advocate for B-suite leadership – the expert in developing hi-impact B-Suite leadership at both a team and individual level.

Speak to Rebecca about:

  • Individual and group coaching
  • Team effectiveness and training
  • People & Culture Advisory

You can reach her on rebecca.houghton@boldhr.com.au

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