No matter who he’s talking with, no matter the situation, Tom keeps in mind: humility and empathy. It takes down barriers, he said.
A senior vice president with a Global 500 company, he readily acknowledged that he doesn’t know all the answers. But he does know how to work with all kinds of people. Bingo! That’s the magic that comes from his mindset. He’s made a life-long practice of learning what others think and what’s behind their thinking.
His genuine-interest questions and attentive listening open others up. Whether working toward a goal or dealing with a difficult negotiation, Tom encourages putting thoughts and feelings on the table, out in the open. It enables getting to the crux of issues, understanding where everyone is coming from and heading. They all learn, including the why behind his decisions.
Tom also believes empowerment and trust go hand in glove. He commits to meeting with each of his direct reports for an hour each week. Just talk, no slides, they can bring up anything. He recommends they use this time to discuss, explore, ask him to remove barriers. He doesn’t tell them what to do. They agree on key targets and own the solution.
He’s a committed coach and mentor for those who work with him and many others. His preference for this approach comes from having leaders who took an interest in him early on and to this day. It’s hugely impacted his views of what works and doesn’t in leadership and life. And has broadened his network considerably.
He encourages his people to broaden and nurture their networks, connecting with people they naturally gravitate to as well as those they don’t. Don’t ignore anyone. Don’t hold a grudge. He knows from experience how valuable that is.
Tom’s perspective is refreshing and clearly requires commitment. To ensure he maintains it, he builds in refueling breaks from work. Although he has many good friends, his most precious and protected time is with his family. His team knows not to expect a response during certain times, morning and evening. Home is his refueling station where his core values are replenished.
Tom’s superpower is his genuine humility and empathy. Combined with his warm, unassuming confidence, ambition and commitment to help others grow – his positive energy is boundless
What’s your superpower?