Embracing their vulnerability and perhaps some gradualism are keys to success for disruptive, innovative leaders, writes Parissa Behnia in her new book, Modern Bad***: Tales From The Leadership Front (2023, Indie Books International)."
Behnia is one of those behind-the-scenes executive coaches who may be well known in the C-suite but not in the cubicles or on the factory floor.
Behnia sees her role as someone who helps leaders and businesses unleash their superpowers, the stuff that defines their brilliance. The task is not always easy, and she often goes toe-to-toe dispensing her advice.
"I serve clients. I don't please them," says Behnia.
High-performing senior leaders and startup founders share some of the same 14 personality traits, she writes. They don't always check to see if their teams (or clients) are strapped in for the ride, let alone interested in going to that destination.
She contents these leaders are pattern interrupters, creative change agents and innovators who usually ask, "Why not?" instead of asking, "Why?"
Modern Bad*** makes the case that these leaders can be more successful by creating ways to enroll and engage others in a shared, larger goal.
But success, the gaining of acceptance and followers, does not come automatically.
Behnia offers these five tactics for modern, bold leaders in her book:
Tell them why. Tell your clients, peers, and team what you're creating, why it's important, and why they are integral to achieving it. Your role as a visionary leader isn't solely to be a renegade. Your role also is to have a clear idea of what success looks like, recruit the best people who buy into the vision, and find the best resources to maximize your vision's impact.
Being right is never the point, but learning is. A leader tends to be more successful if they have a growth mindset because they love to learn, don't care about looking smart, and aren't emotionally attached to an outcome. According to Behnia, people leave leaders; they don't leave companies, nor do they leave jobs. If they don't feel appreciated by either their peers or the powers that be, they leave.
Leaders need courage and conviction. Courage is the ability to do something that is scary. Conviction represents a belief that what a leader is doing is right, just, and aligned with who they are and what their values are.
Sustainability is critical. This means the leader has and will devote the energy, the will, the commitment to see it through. The truth is that it is wildly inefficient when a leader sacrifices a broader strategic landscape by not inviting other people's perspectives and experiences into their planning.
Make frequent mistakes. Along with dumping that suit of armor, the leader should dump the belief that they have to get it right the first time, every time. It is mastery, not perfection.
Behnia advises C-suite and senior leaders who are high-will, high-skill and have a growth mindset. With more than 20 years of corporate, consulting, coaching, and real-life experience, she believes her key strategic difference is empathy. Empathy in business is more than being nice to one another; it's a strategic imperative. It means that leaders seek content and context to do a better job of serving their customers and engaging their teams.
She has taught entrepreneurship seminars and is a frequent speaker on strategy, leadership and entrepreneurship. She is a Certified Professional Coach and holds a BA from Northwestern University and her MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business.
About the Author
Parissa Behnia coaches C Suite and senior leaders who are high-will high-skill and have a growth mindset. In other words, they’re badasses like you who go eighty miles per hour in a forty-five mile per hour zone but don’t always check to see if their team is strapped in or interested in going for the ride. These leaders are high value to a company but their edges may start to diminish their value.
These days, leadership is full of complexities, whether you’re navigating from an audacious goal or trying to avoid that iceberg up ahead. In either case, Parissa’s clients choose her because she’s either sat in those seats or next to those seats often enough to know how it can feel to be alone in a crowded leadership room. She’s unafraid to speak truth to power and help propel you forward.
With over twenty years of corporate, consulting, coaching, and—let’s be honest—real- life experience, Parissa’s key strategic difference is empathy. Empathy in business is more than being nice to one another, it’s a strategic imperative. It means that leaders seek content and context to do a better job of serving their customers and engaging their teams. She’s so passionate about employing empathy in business that she’s developed the Sixense Empathy Model. And she wants all of us to put empathy at the forefront of how we engage with everybody.
One of Parissa’s favorite things to do is to stand in front of a whiteboard—real or pretend—to help clients imagine what the world could look like and then propel them as they navigate to that vision of success. This work enables clients to put together pieces of the puzzle to create the aha moment that ignites action. She leans into the discomfort of the unknown and invites her clients to embrace all their talents (even ones they don’t recognize or value fully) to create their own paths to success.
Parissa has taught entrepreneurship seminars and is a frequent speaker on strategy, leadership, and entrepreneurship. She is a Certified Professional Coach, and holds a BA from Northwestern University and MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business.
For more information, visit: sixensestrategy.com
About Indie Books International
Indie Books International, founded in 2014 in Oceanside, California, has released more than 125 books. The mission of Indie Books International is to serve as an independent publishing alternative to help agencies, business coaches and consultants create impact and influence. IndieBooks offers no-cost strategy calls to prospective and current author.