How a leader’s best intentions can fall flat and have the reverse impact.

Coaching Irene was a sheer pleasure. She was unusually reverent and her humanness came through with her calming tone and peaceful nature. Irene was a director of nursing for a major medical center.

Not surprisingly, Irene’s key strength was as a mentor and in supporting others. She went out of her way to help everyone – the patients, nurses, physicians and even candy stripers. She was a true servant leader and her humanitarian focus consumed her and propelled her to unmatched success in her job.

In fact, Irene was so well thought of by all of her nursing staff, the physicians and administrators that an unexpected surprise was bestowed on her one day at work. When she told me the story, she became strangely somber.