top of page
  • Writer's pictureAmii Barnard-Bahn

It’s Not What You Say, It’s What They Hear

I was recently coaching an executive who had received some tough feedback about his commentary in his virtual company town hall meeting. In speaking to employees all around the world from his home office, he believed he had displayed strength, confidence and hope about the future.

However, some employees felt he had not acknowledged the pain and challenges many were experiencing. There had been job loss. Hiring freezes. Supply chain problems and unhappy customers to placate. Their comments suggested that he needed to exude a touch more empathy in his communication so employees felt he understood the world in which they were operating.

As my mentor and colleague Marshall Goldsmith has said, “It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear.”

That pretty much sums up so many of our important life conversations in relationships, and navigating your career. Many times, we have an intent that is misunderstood. And even more frequently, we don’t know whether we are even heard at all.

As we start to have hope around returning to more in-person and hybrid working scenarios, I’ve been thinking about how critical self-awareness is to success in career and life. It’s also the basis of authenticity - a leadership quality we crave after being physically distanced for over a year.

I spoke about the importance of leadership authenticity in leadership in a recent CEO World interview. In a time when we are still mostly remote from our teams, clients and families, ensuring effective communication and impact is critical. When a leader is authentic, it means they are genuine, accurate, reliable. This is why authenticity is a critical personal characteristic for leaders who aspire to spark change within their organization — and there is less chance of being misunderstood.

Whether you are an executive or an aspiring leader, we all have work to do to be more self-aware and brush up on the skills that bring out our best selves, whether in person or remote. I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my new book, The PI Guidebook, that will bring insights on how to develop these qualities for you and your teams.

I’m excited to reveal the cover to this group first. It’s been an exciting process with some of my own growth moments and I want to thank so many of you that provided feedback and your own experience in helping this come to fruition.

Launching late this month, the Guidebook is a companion to the free Promotability Index® assessment I created in early 2020, which thousands of leaders and professionals have already taken. As one of my CEO clients recently said, “I wish I had this ten years ago. As someone who sits on the other side from people who want to be promoted, this is really helpful.” And Sally Helgesen graciously endorsed the book by saying, "Amii demystifies what makes The PI Guidebook one of the most useful workbooks I have seen. Highly recommended for individuals, coaches, professionals, and teams. I'll be using it in my own work."

I believe so much in the work of this Guidebook. I have seen incredible results from organizations that adopted the PI as part of their employee development programs. Because I am so confident that any team or organization can benefit from the teachings this Guidebook offers, for bulk purchases of 50 or more copies (hardcopy or interactive ebook) that are ordered by June 30, I will provide a one hour virtual Promotability session exclusively dedicated to your organization or team.

Your session can be used to kickoff how key learnings from the Promotability Index assessment and The PI Guidebook can be leveraged to accelerate your team and organization's leadership growth, or as a dedicated "Ask Amii" webinar on career development planning based on the 5 Key Elements of Promotability.

To be eligible for this special opportunity, bulk orders may be placed starting May 20 but no later than June 30 (don't wait!). We can schedule your exclusive event to take place whenever you like through Q1 2022. Email me at, and we can talk about the details.

106 views0 comments


bottom of page