Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How to Be Assertive (Without Losing Yourself) - Amy Gallo - Best Practices - Harvard Business Review

How to Be Assertive (Without Losing Yourself) - Amy Gallo - Best Practices - Harvard Business Review:

'via Blog this'

While recently discussing CISO Jobs with a client, I heard something from a human resources leader that continues to ring in my ears.  I was being brought in to get this client's CISO search on the right track.  Before my arrival, this company had interviewed numerous candidates who for one reason or another were not the right fit.

As I probed more and more deeply into the reasons why previous candidates were not working out, I heard one answer that summed it all up.  The HR leader told me that several candidates were guilty of "bad behavior".

I probed more deeply to find out what "bad behavior" meant in this context and what I learned lined up perfectly with research I've been doing since the beginning of 2012.

I've been conducting research with business leaders who regularly interact with security leaders to find out what kinds of experiences various business leaders have had with their security leadership.  The feedback I've collected has been fascinating in that nearly all of the issues that create the gap between what the business wants and needs from the security profession and what the business is actually getting or what the business perceives it is getting from security leadership shows a clear gap.

The gap isn't technical skills or subject matter expertise.  The gap is behavioral.  This HBR article touches on a behavioral trait that can make or break a security leader.  For someone who is naturally hard wired to be assertive, knowing when to be less assertive and more patient can often determine success or failure.

My client who is hiring a CISO is looking for some who behaves well.  I won't explain what that means in great detail today other than to suggest that part of behaving well is knowing when to be assertive and when to back down.

Assertiveness is a critical trait for security leaders to possess.  This is a trait that frequently requires behavioral change through the Security Career Coach side of

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