Nine Lessons from the Corner Office

Ten years ago I began my role as President of a $25 million Hospital Foundation within an 85,000 employee organization. I went to a very nice employee appreciation lunch and was able to select a special gift of recognition from an array of items. 

Mostly, I am grateful for the opportunity I have to lead and serve alongside consummate professionals I respect and under board members who trust me and have challenged me to be the best leader I can be. 

I’ve earned a number of awards from various community and professional organizations for my leadership throughout my tenure here. But nothing has meant more to me than knowing that when I get up and come to work every day, I get the privilege to make the world a little better. That might mean providing a walker for an elderly gentleman or a hearing aid for a new mother. It might be paying rent for a patient with cancer, so she doesn’t get evicted due to lost wages while in treatment. It could be as big as a $4.5 million capital campaign for a new family health clinic or as small as a bag of groceries from our food pantry for a patient returning home to an empty kitchen cupboard. 

People today often complain about their jobs. Mine surely has its challenges - no doubt. But as I look at the leader I am today compared to when I was started there is much I have realized.

 Nine Lessons from the Corner Office 

  1. When we focus on what we have to give instead of what there is to get we realize our value.
  2. When we are curious and compassionate, we become servant leaders instead of command and control tyrants.
  3. There is power in having your boss’s back. Find a way to do that or go somewhere you can. Don’t stay and poison the culture. You poison yourself worse.
  4. Good people leave organizations because of bad managers who don’t position them to learn and advance. Mediocre people leave organizations for $1 more an hour, free lunch and a pool table in the break room.
  5.  ‘A’ people hire ‘A’ people, ask for their insight and get out of their way. ‘B’ people hire ‘C’ people and micromanage them.
  6. Emotional leaders hardly ever advance. Practice a good poker face and poised self-reflection.
  7. Narcissistic leaders thrive on keeping their teams in chaos and fear so that nobody notices their ineptness. Stay off their radar screen by making sure they know you have their back, giving them all the glory and presenting your work with confidence so they can trust it.
  8. When we can look ourselves in the eye and not expect to be perfect, we give ourselves room to be human and walk in the shoes of others. When we try on a lot of different shoes, we become grateful that they are not all the same size.
  9. Executive presence is the ability to consistently observe yourself from a third-party perspective, self-regulate emotions in the moment so they don't get in the way of risk taking and efficacy, draw the dedication of others and admire what you see. It takes practice. We all need practice. If you can't do this, hire a coach. Even I have a coach.  

    If you want more executive presence and career planning tips get Mary Lee’s FREE Career and Life Planning Tool 

If you are struggling with uncertainty and feel exhausted and ineffective watch my FREE Training on Three Ways to Move to the Next Level In Your Career Right Now to 1) identify the right role for you, 2) position your transferable skills and 3) create a career portfolio that sells you before you even get an interview. If you don't know where you will be at the end of the year, you are already there.  

Your coach,

Mary Lee

P.S. Feel free to send this link to someone who could benefit from it. We are all walking down the same road in life looking for a hand to hold. Sometimes we must be the hand that reaches out.

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and 19-year corporate CEO who helps leaders have more effective careers, happier lives and better relationships with the people who matter while it still matters. 

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.


50% Complete

Welcome! Thanks for signing up!

You will be sent an email with a link each time Mary Lee Gannon updates the Executive Coach's Blog. It's great to have you with us!