I’ve recently been working with an organization where the CEO has a very demanding Board full of Fortune 100 CEOs. They regularly grill him and treat him in a condescending manner. This is certainly a challenge for any individual, but this CEO then compounds it when he returns to the office. When he works with his staff, the then “kicks the dog”. He vents all his frustrations from his poor treatment from his Board onto his staff. He is demanding, condescending, dismissive, and regularly humiliates the staff. One of his vice-presidents, with whom I have been working closely, in turn, shares his frustration with me. This vice-president is, in fact, extremely loyal to the CEO, and feels betrayed by the CEO’s treatment of him and the other staff members.
What could be different about this situation?
This little vignette illustrates two very important points. The first is that no matter how poorly you are being treated as an induvial (e.g., the CEO), you do not have to in turn treat others poorly. In fact, many times there are those around you (e.g., the staff) who want to help you. The second point, which is even more powerful, is that any individual in any situation has the opportunity to be a creator, as my friend David Emerald so elegantly describes. David describes the role of a creator as someone who always has options to shape their experience and their life. So we all have a choice. Do we “kick the dog” or become a creator?