To expand the structure of how he made sense of leadership would have asked him to challenge the construct of leadership and executive presence that he had embodied through many years of hard, well intentioned effort and a good dose of innate charm and poise. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine that deeply ingrained cultural, historic, and systemic influences informed his picture of leadership.
To change his sense-making about leadership might have required deep soul inquiry and pushing beyond beliefs and values that had long defined him, his world, even his family experience.
To expand that structure of sense- making would have asked him to notice the impact of his presence on others and to challenge his own assumptions about what others needed from him, further challenging his sense of identity. Tuning into how he was feeling would have given him access his own empathy, not simply his idea of what others were feeling, and enabled him to attune to what others needed from his leadership as things became more uncertain. Softening his physical mannerisms to appear more human and vulnerable, might have invited others to connect in a more real and open way, which might have led to easier sharing of new ideas.
Consider the following as you work with leaders (or yourself) to expand the structure of interpretation in all the ways it shows up.
⦁ What are the assumptions that are embedded in your definition of success and failure?
⦁ What continues to be true for you about those assumptions? What no ⦁ longer fits? (See Keegan & Lahey’s Immunity to Change)