Rajan Chopra | Crain's Miami

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Rajan Chopra


Chopra Coaching is a leadership and development coaching firm catering to C-suite level executives, investment professionals and entrepreneurs.

The Mistake:

I wasn't being the best leader I could be because I wasn't analyzing how best to communicate effectively and respectfully.

Before I became a coach I spent 30 years on Wall Street. I worked for JP Morgan and Chase, and so I was an old hat on Wall Street. When you work in that environment, you get to see almost everything. You see all kinds of unfortunate behavior.

When you’re young and you’re very successful, it goes to your head and you think "I am God. I can do no wrong." And I think I let that get to me, and that is a very dangerous state of hubris that a lot of executives go through.

Having that kind of attitude affects how business people make decisions. We forget to ask ourselves how to inspire people that work in the company. We forget to wonder how we grow the next crop of leaders.

We all have blind spots, and I didn't recognize how I could become a better leader. Until after I realized that a large part of leadership involves interacting more with your employees and making a subtle shift in behavior and attitude. When I changed my communication style and interactions with my employees, I made a huge difference in my team's performance and the organization.

I’m open to new ideas as opposed to way back then, when I thought I knew everything...

The Lesson:

I have become more thoughtful. I have become more compassionate. I am more communicative. I value other people’s opinions a lot more. I listen to other people. I’m open to new ideas as opposed to way back then, when I thought I knew everything and that I was the smartest guy in the room.

A lot of successful traders and executive go through periods of that state of mind, until they come to the realization that they're wrong.

Today, I use that experience to help executives come to that realization and change that mindset. The kind of coaching that I do and the kind of people that I coach often fall within that narrative, and I help them become more introspective and become more of a listener. 


Follow Rajan Chopra on Twitter @Chopracoaching.

Photo courtesy of Rajan Chopra.

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