A recent Harvard Business Review article, Firing Back: How Great Leaders Rebound After Career Disasters, points out the initially obvious point that a deep network is vital to getting back into a senior executive role after a career speed-bump. But dig deeper into the text and you’ll find a gem that every leader – especially those in the first few months of a new assignment – should grab.
Telling the story of Bernie Marcus, the founder of Home Depot who rebounded from a previous firing to start the omnipresent DIY store, the authors throw in this detail.
Whether they were close friends and colleagues with whom he worked or acquaintances he dealt with on a casual basis, Marcus treated others with uncommon honesty, respect, and trust. (Emphasis added)
Notably, Marcus didn’t start treating colleagues that wat when he needed them (i.e. when he was trying to start Home Depot). He just did it as a normal course of business.
I almost wrote “he just did it naturally.” But who knows if that’s the case? For most of us, it takes effort to look at our colleagues and pre-emptively give them uncommon honesty, respect, and trust. (Otherwise, it woudn’t be uncommon!) But one thing is certain – it is much easier to handle the ups and downs of your first 3-6 months in a leadership role with a store of goodwill in the bank than to repair strained relationships that never had a fighting chance.