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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Leading Across Generations

By | Coaching, Communication, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Pivot Point, Team Building, Training | No Comments

Research indicates that Millennials will be 75% of our workforce by 2025, and with this, organizations are struggling to engage top talent across generations.  Often, with leaders I coach, they ask, “how can we change the millennials to be more motivated, and less entitled?” to which I respond, “they are far less likely to change for us; they are far more likely to change us.”  There are so many wonderful traits this next generation brings to the workforce:  a genuine passion for making a positive impact on the world, a desire to work to live rather than live to work, and an uncanny ability to find solutions to complex problems.  Yet, there are some distinct behaviors and expectations that do not always align with organizational values and processes.

The Pew Research Center outlines generations by birth year range as follows:

  • Millennials: 1981-1997
  • Generation X: 1965 to 1980
  • Baby Boomers: 1946 to 1964

Much attention has been placed on Baby Boomer and Millennial alignment, as they represent two ends of the spectrum, and have the most differences between them.  However, Generation X is the next generation of leaders, and represents the majority of small business owners.  They are a force to be reckoned with as well, yet often blend in with the Baby Boomers or identify with the Millennials as the pendulum swings.  Humorously, at a conference I was at recently, the speaker talked about Generation X being overwhelmed by the Baby Boomers.  Due to their sheer size, Baby Boomers made Generation X into mini Baby Boomers.  Partially true, Generation X seems to be amicable and the most flexible to each of the other larger generations.

In order to effectively lead an organization today, leaders must inspire and engage across all generations.  In this post, you will learn:

  • Understanding how “coming of age” experiences shape generations
  • Learning how to “flex” your leadership style to meet the needs of each generation
  • Aligning cultural values consistent with generational expectations

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Model the Change You Want to See

By | Coaching, Communication, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Team Building, Training | No Comments

In my collaboration with women in leadership, I find that we wrestle with our own tough expectations, and projecting those expectations on others.  We often ask the rhetorical question – why can’t this person just change?  It could be an attitude tweak, an adjustment in initiative, or improving communication skills.  It doesn’t matter.  But the change needs to start with us.

Change is hard.  People do not change for us.  We can only change ourselves.  We cannot want it for the other person, even if we see that just a few small tweaks would improve their happiness and job performance significantly.  Instead of asking or expecting someone to miraculously change – improve their attitude, take more initiative, or listen more to our ideas.  Instead, ask “what could I do differently?”  As leaders, we have to show the team what good looks like.

It Starts With the Leader

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Recognize What You Want to See Again

By | Coaching, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Pivot Point, Team Building, Training | No Comments

 One of the most important tasks as a leader is to motivate their team.  Different team members are motivated by different things.  Some like public recognition, others prefer private praise, and some need it more, and some need it less.  As humans, I would argue that nearly all of us enjoy some form of recognition.  And, it’s one of the least expensive forms of motivation.  It does not even need to cost us a dime when tailored to the individual and done genuinely.

Leaders I coach often question, “I am supposed to recognize someone for doing their job?  I do my job every day and no one recognizes me.”  The answers is yes.  As leaders, we have to take the high road.  This means that we need to prioritize the time to give people positive feedback.  And, if we invest the time, studies show that team member performance increases.

What we choose to focus on matters.  When recognized, team members are more likely to repeat these behaviors, leading to better business results associated with these positive behaviors like increased client satisfaction, productivity, and/or quality of work.

Some tangible strategies to improve your culture of recognition as a leader are:

  • Kudos boards
  • Start meetings with “tell me something good”
  • Real time recognition

Kudos boards

A simple tool to build team morale – a visual display of all the great things the team is doing as a reminder of what good looks like.  This can be done in a variety of ways – a bulletin board in a break room or common area with post-it notes to recognize freely in the moment, a recognition box where team members can privately share their praise and leaders can display with employee approval later, or a client appreciation area with testimonials showcasing great client service.  I have seen it done well in various formats.  The key is getting buy-in from the team on how they want to be recognized, and tailoring the kudos board to their preferred format of recognition.  If they are a part of the idea to start, team members are far more likely to engage with the program and participate.

Each team is different, and their recognition needs are different too.

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Manage Conflict: Demand Debate

By | Coaching, Conflict Resolution, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Positive Thinking, Team Building | No Comments

Who enjoys the “tough talk” with a peer, team, or direct report?  Chances are, it’s a dreaded conversation.  Perhaps even one that is procrastinated, hoping the conflict will just go away.

Yet, often I find with leaders, that when they have the “tough talk,” it goes far better than expected, and it results in a better relationship with the person.  Let’s discuss some of proven strategies I have found in my research and work with leaders.

Leaders that manage conflict successfully do so by:

1) Demanding debate (in a healthy way)

2) Holding the team accountable through ground rules

3) Building a culture based on trust

Demanding debate (in a healthy way)

On a high performing team, people often look at conflict as healthy.  We’re human, it’s bound to surface.  The key difference is that high performing teams deal with it proactively.  They have the discussion it in the moment, or close to the time of the conflict and clear the air.  They do not fear it, they welcome it as a chance to be better.

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Manage Your Time: Manage Your Life

By | Delegation, Employee Engagement, Goal Setting, Leadership, Team Building | No Comments

Time is finite.  We only have so much time in our day, and often feel like a victim to it.  We often reflect at the end of a day, where did all the time go?  Yet, we have choices in how we choose to spend our time.  If we focus on the mundane, easy, yet unimportant tasks, we are far less likely to complete the challenging, yet important tasks.  It’s all a matter of prioritization.

Of the leaders I coach, I often find time management is a top challenge.  The challenge of answering countless emails, playing phone tag with team members, and meetings cost us precious hours in our days.  Check out these fun facts from Cornerstone Dynamics illustrating the struggle is real.  You are not alone.

  • A manager on average spends 3 hours each day on interruptions
  • 20% of the average workday is spent on “crucial” and “important” things, while 80% of the average workday is spent on things that have “little value” or “no value”
  • In the last 20 years, working time has increased by 15% and leisure time has decreased by 33%

Tackle the Big Rocks First

One of my favorite tools to help leaders manage their time more effectively is a classic.

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Diverse Leadership Teams Perform Better

By | Employee Engagement, Leadership, Talent Retention | One Comment

Diverse Leadership Teams Perform Better

The Facts

Leadership teams made up of individuals from diverse generations, cultures, communication styles, and genders, have better business results.  Teams with diverse perspectives, often shaped by different backgrounds, preferences, and experiences, have better ideas, and make better decisions.  A recent McKinsey study sheds light on this interesting phenomenon.  Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform the national industry median, and ethnically diverse companies are an overwhelming 35% more likely to outperform their less-diverse peers.  We know correlation does not equal causation, but what this study does offer is great insight into why organizations need to focus on diversity.  They further elaborate:

“More diverse companies, we believe, are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns. This in turn suggests that other kinds of diversity—for example, in age, sexual orientation, and experience (such as a global mind-set and cultural fluency)—are also likely to bring some level of competitive advantage for companies that can attract and retain such diverse talent.”

An organization I speak and support, Integrated Woman Leaders Foundation, shared this powerful video at their annual conference this year about the current diversity statistics, and the results that organizations get with more diverse leadership teams.  For those wanting to influence more diversity in your organization, this two-minute video gives all the reasons why diversity matters.

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

How Mentoring Improves Employee Engagement

By | Employee Engagement, Leadership, Mentoring, Talent Retention | 2 Comments

The Facts

Prioritizing the right people strategies is pivotal.  Organizations now more than ever have finite time and resources to invest in employee engagement, knowing how vital it is to grow.  When I work with organizations on people strategies, we often brainstorm key strategies collectively as a team, and then prioritize those strategies based on key criteria such as ease of implementation (time, money, etc.), and ROI (impact on employee engagement, retention, etc.).  What has been so intriguing lately is a common theme I am discovering – mentoring – is rising to the top of that people strategy list time and time again.  In fact, according to a Corporate Executive Board survey, 25 percent of U.S. companies now host peer mentoring programs, up from 4-5% in 2007.

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

What Organizations are Doing to Engage Women

By | Coaching, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Pivot Point, Talent Retention | No Comments

The Facts

Let’s start with the facts.  I often make the mistake of assuming that we all know these statistics, and often find people surprised to learn that statistics on women’s equality in the workplace has barely changed in last two decades.  Engaging the other half of our workforce (women) is absolutely vital for us to increase our productivity and profits.  According to a Catalyst, an organization focused on a mission to accelerate progress for women through workplace inclusion, shares these statistics in its June 2016 report:

  • 4.2% of CEOs are women
  • 19.9% of board positions are held by women
  • 25.1% of executive or senior-level officials and managers are women
  • Women still just earn $0.79 on the dollar compared to men in similar positions

Women produce results.  The Peterson Institute for International Economics’ recent study associates a 15% lift in profitability with more women in top management positions.  When women are a part of these vital leadership roles for organizations, the results are staggering.  With a diverse perspective, and collaborative style, women round the team out, and create more innovative and successful teams.  The results from this study clearly illustrate the overwhelming need to engage women and promote more to leadership roles in organizations.

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

How to Retain Top Talent

By | Coaching, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Talent Retention, Training | 2 Comments

The Facts

The struggle is real.  With unemployment hovering nationwide around 5%, employees are back in the driver seat with where they choose to work.  Employers have found themselves with less control in finding, hiring, and retaining top talent.  Recent studies from Manpower Group has shown that there is an excess supply of skilled jobs, with a shortage of labor interested in those jobs.  Couple this study with the fact that employees, now more than ever, are looking for value and purpose in their work, more of a balance with their personal life, and the feeling that their work is aligned with their own career long-term goals.

And, with a growing millennial generation that is expected to be 75% of our workforce by 2025, this trend is very likely to continue.  What we know about millennials is true, they are self-driven, demand value and purpose in their work, and transition jobs at a rate much higher than previous generations, averaging 4 job changes by the time they are age 32.  We are not going to change them, they are going to change our workforce, and in many ways, for the better.  They saw their parents live to work, lose their retirements due to corporate greed, and have been shown very little loyalty by organizations they work for with pensions eliminated, benefit reductions, and inappropriate vesting schedules of their 401k plans.  I can completely understand why this generation has chosen to respond with choosing to work to live.  It’s refreshing.

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gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Organizations that Invest in Managers, Win

By | Coaching, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Training | No Comments

Simply put, managers drive employee engagement, which drives business results.

The Facts

Being a leadership and career development enthusiast, I naturally find myself drawn to research and strategies to improve employee engagement.  I have seen first-hand that it drives business results by lowering turnover, boosting productivity, and enhancing quality.  In fact, a recent study shared by Bluebridge, a technology company focused on tools to improve employee engagement, indicates higher engagement drives 22% higher productivity, 50% lower turnover rates, and 3x more in profit margin.  Another organization, FirstPerson, who helps organizations design meaningful employment experiences, recently shared this video to illustrate this clear need.  Other smart organizations like Gallup have been measuring engagement for years.  And, it remains stagnant in the U.S., hovering around 32% according in the most recent Gallup study.  In this report, Gallup recommends that “organizations approach employee engagement as an ongoing human capital strategy and consider all of the elements that matter in performance management – from leadership accountability and manager education to clear role expectations and employee development opportunities.”

Further research indicates similar strategies.  If you search the term “employee engagement,” you will likely get articles with a titles such as – “7 ways to engage your employees” – with similar recipes.  The ingredients go something like this:  create a team culture, require individual development plans, foster work/life balance with telecommute opportunities, provide real time feedback, hire talented managers, etc.  The list goes on.  While all of these approaches have significant merit, these one-size fits all strategies do not work.  Why?  At the risk of stating the obvious, all organizations and teams are not created equal.

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