My mood was upbeat, but this conversation with Nathan was not lifting his spirits. His team was not on a mutiny, but they weren’t paying much attention to him.
“So, you have had a bit of difficulty getting out of the gate with your team. As you think about yourself, as a manager, who comes to mind, from your past? Who is that person sitting on your shoulder, whispering in your ear, giving you advice?”
Nathan looked stunned. “That’s weird,” he said. “As I go through my day, I have this silent conversation in my head with an old boss of mine. Whenever I have a decision to make, he pops into my head. It’s like he is watching me and I still have to do it his way. That was years ago, but he still influences me.”
“Was he a good boss?” I asked.
“No, everybody hated him. That is why it’s so weird. I think he was the worst boss I ever had and I am acting just like he did.”
“So, why do you think he has such an influence on you, today?”
“I don’t know,” Nathan said slowly.
“Would you like to be a different manager than your old boss?”
Finally, Nathan smiled. “Yes, absolutely,” he replied.
“Well, that is where we start.”