Five Friday Highlights: Hubris, Humility, and Stress

Work Stress

As I have traveled to Germany recently, conducted workshops for LinkedIn, and continued developing my exclusive coaching program for female executives, I have been thinking about gender diversity, work stress, living conditions, and the difference between success and failure. These five posts each touch on those topics from various angles.

Why VC’s Aren’t Funding Women-Led Startups from Knowledge@Wharton raises realistic and honest questions about how women can have a more equitable share of VC funding. It’s sad to note that in 2016 I can attest to the fact that the male hubris/female humility effect is still asserting itself throughout the tech world. A quote from Ethan Mollick: “If entrepreneurship is based in part on hubris, [the] male hubris, female humility effect tells us something about why women are less likely to do start-ups.”

Topics like “humility” and “confidence” lead me to ponder what talent acquisition specialists really focus on when looking for a perfect fit for their organization. 7 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence Is One Of The Fastest-Growing Job Skills from Fast Company contends that emotional intelligence is more important than IQ! The article outlines seven reasons emotional intelligence is considered so valuable. One of my favorites is the fact that emotionally intelligent people are more open to feedback.

14 Inspiring Habits of Successful Digital Entrepreneurs from Cox Business’s Blue was quite the thorough inventory of what it takes to be a successful digital entrepreneur. These “inspiring habits” apply to success outside the digital realm as well. My favorite (of course) is think globalDigital entrepreneurs have a mindset that isn’t restricted by geopolitical borders. They understand that the noise is greater but the niches are larger. Because they are global.

I also try to keep my finger on the pulse of what workers of all generations are doing to survive. Where are they living? How are they spending their disposable income? How do they integrate work and life? This one reflects a trend that speaks both to values and the current economy: For First Time in Modern Era, Living With Parents Edges Out Other Living Arrangements for 18- to 34-Year-Olds from the The Pew Research Center. The category “share living with spouse or partner” continues to fall, according to the study, which states, “This turn of events is fueled primarily by the dramatic drop in the share of young Americans who are choosing to settle down romantically before age 35.”

Finally, no matter what generational demographic you fall into, stress at work has to happen to you at least occasionally! There was a great suggestion and a fresh angle in Want to Decrease Your Stress at Work? Encourage Your Coworkers from Forbes. Citing research that demonstrates how encouraging coworkers can reduce stress, the article continues, “In addition to the brain benefits and reduced stress that result from supporting your colleagues, doing so will help create a culture where your coworkers can lean on one another and encourage each other in stressful tasks.”

And who doesn’t want less stress and more encouragement? I encourage you to let me know what reading has made a difference for you recently. Email me with your recommendations!

Image Credit: 123rf/Ion Chiosea

Five Friday Highlights: Hours, Wages, and Interculturalism

Global Working Conditions

When choosing this week’s highlights, I was reminded of the wide gulf in global working conditions. Some workers in Sweden are getting an opportunity to work 6-hour days with no cut in pay, while exhausted workers in China sleep at their desks (with permission) and others in Russia have not been paid in months. The last two articles are broader: a primer on how to disagree in other cultures and thoughts about the impact of female leaders on emerging markets. I hope these selections give you deeper insight into the world around us.

By traveling throughout so many countries, I am fortunate to have a front seat to many workplace experiments, such as manipulating the number of hours per week employees are required to work. In The Six-hour Workday Works in Sweden. But What About in Workaholic North America? from the Financial Post, I was most intrigued not by the specifics of the way the government-funded experiment to shorten workdays would increase productivity, but by the rigorous data collection and investigative integrity. Without outcome data, no decisions will be made that benefit the Swedish workforce as a whole (or workforces in other countries).

It no longer surprises me to see images of workers asleep at desks or in designated rest areas as described in China Tech Workers Asleep on the Job – With the Boss’s Blessing from Reuters. I was intrigued not just by the accommodations made for issues related to work conditions (employees who sleep at the office to avoid hours-long commutes two ways each day), but by the potential productivity benefits (“For technology, it’s more of a brain activity. Workers need time to find inspiration”) and the pitfalls (“My kid misses me, I get home and he lunges at me like a small wolf,” Liu said, speaking about his three-year-old son who he only sees on weekends. “That makes me feel a bit guilty.”).

Work hours and rest accommodations are one labor condition related issue but an utter failure to be compensated is a different and more harmful problem. In Russia’s Car Workers Who Struggle On No Pay from the BBC, the author profiles employees whose salaries are being withheld by hundreds of small and large companies. “The explanations may differ: mismanagement, bad economy or plain criminality,” explains the article, “but for workers the end result is the same.”

Taking a higher level view of working globally, I found The Secret to Disagreeing With People in 20 Countries from the Washington Post both accurate and thorough. The featured chart “combines two different scales. The first scale looks at how emotionally expressive people in that culture tend to be.” The second scale “measures how confrontational people in a culture tend to be.”

Finally, as an interculturalist who also specializes in gender work, Women in Leadership Dominate Emerging Markets … And It Pays Off from Forbes was a perfect dovetailing of my two interests! The author shares, “In my global search for quality investments, I stumbled on a trend that should be good for everybody….as competent women take more leadership roles, it should raise the bar for everybody, and provide a fresh – and profitable – prospective.”

Have you read something this week that gave you deeper insight into another culture or way of doing business? Email me to let me know!

Image Credit: 123rf/Kirill Cherezov

 

Five Friday Highlights: The Power of Shared Experiences

Gender Equity

There’s something really powerful about … shared experiences. People might be skeptical about their ability to change if they’re by themselves, but a group will convince them to suspend disbelief. A community creates belief.- Charles Duhigg

Today’s highlight selections all tie back, in one way or another to shared experiences. From Sheryl Sandberg’s revelations after becoming a part of the single parent community, to women who still are subject to unwanted touching at their employers, it is shared experiences which catalyze action. It is my hope these actions create a richer, more equitable world for everyone.

Acting on shared experiences can result in a richer, more equitable world for everyone! {TWEET THIS}

Sheryl Sandberg released a Mother’s Day message on Facebook about how her interpretation of “Leaning In” has changed over the past year, after her husband passed away and she became a single mother. In addition to sharing the evolution of her personal viewpoint, she says, “We need to rethink our public and corporate workforce policies and broaden our understanding of what a family is and looks like.” I agree!

Sheryl Sandberg’s change of viewpoint was brought about by a change in her life circumstances. After her spouse’s death, her pool of “shared experience” had broadened. Shared experience, writes Georgene Huang, founder of Fairygodboss in Forbes, matters. Read more in Your Gender Matters at Work and That’s a Good Thing.

Some industries move more quickly toward gender parity than others, and Sydney Ember shares in The New York Times how advertising is not blazing a trail. In For Women in Advertising, It’s Still a “Mad Men” World, Ember writes “…in interviews with more than a dozen women, mostly executives, who work in advertising, many said they found it hard to believe how much their particular business still remained a white man’s world.”

Who is going to make a measured, mature contribution to the hard work of rethinking public and corporate workforce policies referred to by Sheryl Sandberg? I have to think the people willing and capable of doing that will exhibit the characteristics discussed in 7 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence is One of the Fastest-Growing Job Skills from Fast Company. Like the article states regarding the emotionally intelligent, “…with the rates of change and pressures in the workplace rising, they’ll become even more sought after than ever.”

I believe those emotionally intelligent people can make a difference in the changes that will help bring about more fairness and, in all honesty, more profits! In Why Inclusive Hiring Practices Help Bottom-Line Earnings for Savvy Companies from Sharp Heels, guest contributor Heather Ready provided examples such as, “…investments in companies with at least one female founder performed 63% better than … investments in all-male teams, according to a report released last year.”

Success in business is not, of course, all about monetary profit However, I don’t see why we can’t do both: be richly diverse and rich in the conventional sense. Who wants to help me try? Email me here with your ideas!

Image Credit: 123rf/gajus

Five Friday Highlights: Gender, Candor, and Keeping Your Word

Gender Equity

This week, I am sharing recent posts which deal with executives who demonstrate progress in the right direction toward eliminating discrimination in the workplace and some who are quite the opposite. Whether it is parental leave issues, age discrimination, or other ways in which bias can play out, we have to talk about it in order to effect change. A few of today’s posts suggest how to do that.

Although it is exciting to see that Melissa Harris’s employer made arrangements for a consultant to cover her duties during her maternity leave so that she could be assured that the work would get handled and she would retain her job security, it is even more refreshing to read how he kept his word about the arrangement. Such a fundamental quality, yet one that is lacking in many corporate environments today. Read the full story in Executives on maternity leave: Help has arrived by Jane Hirt with Melissa Harris.

Sometimes the simple act of keeping your word is profound progress toward #genderparity. {TWEET THIS}

I don’t know if Melissa Harris’s boss had a women’s cultural coach like Bonnie Marcus discusses via Forbes in The Real Reason Male CEOs Commit to Diversity, but he clearly “gets it” on the topic of actively engaging with what a female in his workforce needs to continue making a professional contribution.

In contrast to Melissa Harris’s experience, Dan Lyons writes that his supervisor at HubSpot didn’t have any commitment to fairness in the workforce, at least where age is concerned. In When It Comes to Age Bias, Tech Companies Don’t Even Bother to Lie, Lyons shared the HubSpot CEO’s statement to the New York Times that “age imbalance was not something he wanted to remedy, but in fact something he had actively cultivated.”

Like Kimball Scott, in Thoughts on Gender and Radical Candor, I am positive change is not going to happen without significant shifts in how we communicate with one another in the workplace (and especially in the C-Suite). This lengthy read is worth your time. Scott explores why progress slows to a crawl or even reverts when people “fail to care personally and challenge directly.”

In my travels around the world, I have met thousands of people, each of whom has a personal success definition. Sallie Krawcheck’s My Metric for Success? It’s All About Impact posed the success question in a unique way. She has a dual goal of helping women advance in business and working to close the gender investing gap. It is her statement about why she had to try that most resonates with me, though, and I believe applies to all of us trying to make business more equitable for women:

And why me? Because shame on me if I don’t go after this. ~ Sally Krawchek

What difference can you make in gender parity? Have you personally faced an inequity at work? Was it resolved satisfactorily or in a way that prohibited your productivity? Email me by clicking here to let me know!

Image Credit: Fotolia christianchan

Five Friday Highlights: Powerful Women and Leaning in Together

“Women are good for business” is the lead sentence in one of today’s highlighted articles. Of course they are! However, the path for powerful women (i.e., ALL women) to contribute their talents, energies, and intellect can still be rocky. This week, a look at the role of creativity in STEM education, and then a look at how creativity is being applied to open doors for women. To close things out, a post with thoughts on balance once the doors have been opened and the women are fully exerting their power in the workplace. What happens at home?

Much of my work is in technical industries, so I encounter women who utilize STEM skills routinely as part of their work. I agree with The Importance of Adding an “A” for Art + Design to the Famous Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Acronym in Sharp Heels. Young women (and men!) who are receiving a STEM-centric education still need to have their creativity nurtured and encouraged. As the article’s closing line states, “you can’t have science that truly means something to the mass of humanity if it lacks art, or art without some aspect of science.”

I was fascinated to read in Empowering Women Veteran Entrepreneurs from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that the number of veteran women-owned businesses in the U.S. has increased by nearly 300% since 2007! The SBA’s efforts on behalf of women veteran entrepreneurs includes resources such as loan programs, technical assistance, and V-WISE (Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship), a three-phase program which “enables women veterans to find their passion and learn business-savvy skills to turn ideas or businesses into growth ventures.”

Why isn’t there more female participation in the workforce? asks Want Double-Digit Growth? Hire Women from Fortune Magazine. As the piece outlines, a report from Citi’s Global Perspectives and Solutions reveals two reasons: policies and the outcome of these restrictive policies. Take the time to read the report; its insights are thought-provoking.

“This new era of women’s leadership development is no longer about struggle but rather about focus and balance” claims Louise A. Korver for Talent Management in Best Practices for a Different Kind of Women’s Leadership. Of the seventeen suggested best practices, two that stand out to me are “focus on career development” and “get women on boards.” Which of the seventeen do you think would have the most impact? (Tweet me at @melissa_lamson1 to let me know!)

Even once we women put together the intelligence, strategy, and communication skills to contribute our substantial assets to the world, we still have “home.” After all that Leaning In, how do we create an equitable distribution of time and energy to those who matter most? As the people quoted in Mark Zuckerberg Posts Baby Picture to Encourage  Active, Loving Fathers from Mashable, perhaps the Lean In equation needs an addition: TOGETHER. Read the #LeanInTogether quotes from high-powered businesspeople and tell me what you think!

Once women are fully exerting their power at work, how can families #LeanInTogether at home? {TWEET THIS}

Image Credit: Fotolia Sergey Nivens