BLUF: I've received feedback that I could improve my assertiveness when dealing with seniors and the suggested that there could be confidence issues wrapped up within that. It's not MT feedback but it is profoundly insightful. I'd greatly appreciate some guidance on how to address it.
I'm a generally confident, openly dyslexic/dyspraxic project/programme manager with a DISC profile of 6342 (interesting peak in S to counter my D). I was promoted about 3 years ago to the bottom rung of senior management. I'd had a successful career and a successful year. The programme I am currently leading is a corporate priority and consequently has a lot of senior attention. I am regularly working with the folks at the very top of the organisation - 3 and 4 levels up from me. I have found it challenging developing proposals that meet the diverse needs of these stakeholders. I'm new to top of the house politics, I know agreements are being brokered at the top that impact on my programme and for various reasons I only see the decisions and not the supporting discussions. As a consequence I have not always pushed back when things don't make sense. Hence the assertiveness comment.
I think there is something in the confidence aspect. While I am projecting confidence in leading the team I am not feeling it sat around the board room table with the seniors. I am more comfortable with them 1-1. At the board room table complex social dynamics come into play as the seniors consider the matter in hand in the border context of their wider set of objectives and the compromises they may need to make to maximise their success. It's hard to be confident when I know I don't have the whole picture.
I think our standard offerings on confidence and assertiveness are aimed at more junior levels of the organisation (though that might just be my pride interpreting it). I think being more comfortable with top level seniors is critical to my continued success and promotion aspirations. And I am not sure how to address it.
Does anyone have suggestions for improving confidence and assertiveness when dealing with seniors?