Can the resiliency of a leader impede them from connecting with their teams?

In an article with Harvard Business Review, IOC Founder and renowned coach Carol Kauffman speaks on the topic of resilient leaders needing compassion. What could resilient coaches risk if they are not compassionate: an attack of contempt. Dr. Kauffman describes a contempt attack as when one feels as if the person you are working with to be wasting your time and holding back the overall team.

What does a contempt attack do to a team? Due to the lack of empathy a leader would experience high contempt for those around them, Dr. Kauffman warns about how this can corrode a team’s morale and push the leader away from the collaborative space. This issue would make even the most resilient leader largely ineffective.

How can you prevent a contempt attack? The first most important step for leaders is to be aware of their emotional state. Dr. Kauffman talks about how one can easily be aware of themselves reaching an impeding contempt attack, and hitting the reset button is key. Not judging others by the metric to which one holds themselves, along with pushing to be empathetic in the moment is highly important for leaders to do when they feel themselves becoming contempt.

What does this mean for coaches? Talk to your clients in leadership roles about empathy. By perspective taking and being aware of what others may be experiencing around oneself, judgement can be reduced and contempt can be avoided. Effective leaders meet their teams where they are at, rather than blindly leading and expecting everyone else to keep up.

IOC's Tips of the Week are authored by Austin Matzelle