Executive Insights: Susan Docherty (General Motors)
In previous posts, I shared brief excerpts from interviews of CEsenior-level executives conducted by Adam Bryant that appear in his “Corner Office” column that appears in the Business Sunday section of The New York Times. Here are a few insights provided by Susan Docherty, head of U.S. sales, service, and marketing for General Motors.
Bryant: What lessons have you learned about managing people?
Docherty: One lesson was from my father. I was in my early 20s and working as a buyer in a women’s fashion company. I would talk to him about work, and he said to me: “Susan, I think you’re really bright, and I think you can do and be anything you want. But the one thing that will hold you back in your career is that you’re bossy.”
I was a little offended at the beginning, but he was dead right. Because I remember having conversations with people, after he had said that to me. I said to them, “Hey, do you think I’m bossy?” And they said to me, “Yeah, you are.”
From that moment, I knew that as a leader, the best way to counteract coming across as being bossy would be to ask others what they thought. I may have an opinion, and I may already know where I want the decision to go. But I ask my team members, “What do you think? What would you do?” I often get new insights from people who are looking at things with a fresh set of eyes.”
* * *
To read a longer version of this interview and of several others of prominent CEOs, please visit nytimes.com/business.
No comments yet.