Women, Don’t Be Too Busy to Lead!

Three Ways Women Can Rise to the Challenge of Leadership

In her speech at The 2018 Golden Globes, Oprah said that things are changing. Girls have more women role models, and there are more examples of leadership to follow. Actors like Reese Witherspoon and Elizabeth Banks have created and head film production companies, knowing that their roles are limited if they leave up the casting and directing up to others. Michelle Williams brought #MeToo founder, Tarana Burke, with her to The Golden Globes, and Meryl Streep brought Ai-Jen Poo, the founder of The National Domestic Workers Alliance. Geena Davis heads an institute focused on gender bias in the media, continually reminding us where our blind spots are with regards to gender equality.

After hearing the powerful messages delivered around the world by leading women in Hollywood last week, I believe we’ve turned a corner on gender equality. The issues are out, they’re being talked about, women and men are taking action. Hollywood has been turned on its head, and I think other industries will follow.

Don‘t be too busy for leadership. Women leaders work hard. We are perfectionists. We believe the value we bring is in a job well done–that is when we’ve led our employees to complete their tasks efficiently and effectively. We even work alongside our teams. And those are all excellent qualities.

The problem is, many men approach work differently. Male leaders will spend more time delegating, networking, self-promoting, making deals. They are hard-wired to think more high-level. They don’t mess with the nitty-gritty as much, trusting others to get it done. And if a task is only 80 percent complete, they see it as better to move on than waste a lot of time and energy on it.

Men see women who are very busy, who stay in the weeds, striving for perfectionism, taking on projects that are for the good of the team or company instead of their immediate sphere of influence (or themselves!) as… I don’t know how else to say it… “icky.”

In my workshops on gender balance in leadership, men tell me that they don’t understand why women are so “hectic” and “busy.” One man actually said, “She kept her head down in her laptop so much I didn’t even know she wanted a promotion!”

Always be looking for opportunities. I hear from many women that they are simply too busy to look for opportunities. Too busy to network, too busy to look at job boards, too busy for social media… This has to change! We have to get our heads out of our laptops and start making time to network. We have to think about what we want in our careers, decide on it, and start asking for it. We have to create and use every coffee corner, company event, meeting with our boss, or extended team as an opportunity to let people know who we are and what we want. Now, I know that may sound “icky” to some women. But the truth is,

If we don’t promote our own self-interest, we can’t truly promote our team or organization

So keep your head up and look around, that’s where the leadership roles lie.

Ask for more money. Recently, I was chatting on a plane with a CEO of a construction company. Using the opportunity to do some research, I asked him what he sees as a big difference between men and women in the workplace. He said, “Men ask me for more money, women don’t.” He went on to say, “I always give them [the men] more money just because they asked me. It might not be all of what they want, but at least 50 percent.” I then asked, “So if women don’t ask you for more money, what does that mean to you?” Without skipping a beat, he said, “They’re not leadership material. If they can’t advocate for themselves, they can’t advocate for the company.”

I shouldn’t have been stunned, but I was. It made total sense.

Advocacy. That’s really what Hollywood said at The Golden Globes, and what the #TimesUp movement is all about, and what I’m saying here.  As women, if we don’t advocate for ourselves, and our own self-interest, if we don’t strive for more leadership roles, we can’t make the change that’s needed. So go for it, whatever “it” is.

If your head is up, you can see it.

For more on my coaching program exclusively for women leaders, click here.

A version of this post was first published on Inc.com.

5 Best Reads for Leaders in 2018

Best reads for Leaders

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to read more. Leadership development is a demanding field, and my list of “must read” books for 2018 continues to grow. In fact, thought leaders like Simon Sinek, believe that individuals who read at least twenty minutes a day are more successful than those who don’t.

But finding those extra twenty minutes? That can be challenging for many of us. It will require things like forgoing that extra episode of Survivor, not checking emails first thing when you wake up, and possibly using some of that lunch hour to read books instead of updating your social media.

It will be worth it! I know this because I always use what I read. Sometimes I integrate it into my own tool-set, and sometimes I speak about what I’ve learned at work, at home–even at cocktail parties. If you, like me, decide you’re going to spend more time reading, you’ll look, seem and actually be a little smarter. And there are lots of advantages to that.

Since my expertise is in growing leaders, bridging cultures, and empowering teams,  I’d like to offer my list of the top five leadership development books to read in 2018 (not a ranking):

1. Lifestorming: Creating Meaning and Achievement in Your Career and LifeAlan Weiss and Marshall Goldsmith

Weiss and Goldsmith have written hundreds of books out between the two of them. They are considered two of the best leadership coaches out there. Now, after long careers in business consulting and coaching they have teamed up to write a book about “meaning,” which is very relevant today. Many leaders struggle to inspire and motivate their teams globally, and the Gallup polls show that the number one reason why people stay in a job is that they feel like they’re making a difference.

2. Reach: A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Rise to the Challenge and Build Confidence, Andy Molinsky

Andy is a colleague in the intercultural world. He’s written quite a bit on cross-cultural communication, and I enjoy his writing style. This time he’s come out with a book to help leaders feel more comfortable in uncomfortable situations. That is, he examines what it means when you’re managing or leading outside your comfort zone and need to react quickly to solve a problem or negotiate with others.

3. The EQ Leader: Instilling Passion, Creating Shared Goals, and Building Meaningful Organizations through Emotional IntelligenceSteven J. Stein

Although the concept of Emotional Intelligence has been around since 1989, the Emotional Quotient or EQ is simply the most important skill any leader can possess. Particularly in today’s digital age, technical needs will be more and more automated and what managers will have left is people interaction. We see EQ when it’s there, and we feel it when it’s not. What I find fascinating is that EQ can be taught and learned. Leaders can practice it; it’s not only innate.

4. Quiet: The Power of Introversion in a World That Can’t Stop TalkingSusan Cain

The Power of Introversion is a well-known book at this point, but if you haven’t read it yet, it is a must, particularly if you self-identify as an introvert. Susan is reassuring and has lots of practical advice on how to navigate in an extroverted world. She makes it clear that it is a question of energy, not a ‘shy’ problem. Introverts recharge by being alone; extroverts source energy from being with people. It’s crucial to know how to interact and manage those with a preference for introversion and extroversion.

5. Radical Business Model Transformation: Gaining the Competitive Edge in a Disruptive World, Carsten Linz, et al

These days, pretty much everywhere you turn, there’s talk of digitalization–in how we travel, the products we buy, and how we pay for them. The trend is sweeping the world, many industries at a time. Linz breaks down the complexity of digitalization, disproving myths and making sure the reader truly understands its significance and application to the business world. This book will eliminate fear and prepare individuals and organizations for what’s to come.

There are so many books to support great leaders out there–but my preference is to follow leading concepts in managing diversity, practical business advice to motivate teams, and cutting-edge data on true developments making a difference in the business world. I have found each of books listed above invaluable, and I hope you will too.

If you decide to join me in reading more, give me shout and let me know how it’s going. What are you reading now?

A version of this post was first published on Inc.com.

Image Credit: Sam Greenhalgh, CC 4.0

_________________________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melissa Lamson is the CEO of Lamson Consulting, Founder of the highly popular leadership program for women, Advancement Strategies for Women, and creator of award-winning management programs for SpaceX, LinkedIn, and SAP. As an author, consultant, and speaker, Melissa accelerates the business expansion goals of today’s most successful companies by developing a global mindset, refining leadership skills, and bridging cross-cultural communication.  More About Melissa Lamson

How to Become a Thought Leader in Your Organization

Image-of-Yield-Sign-Caution-Future-World-And-local-Leaders

In today’s work world, leaders need to define their areas of expertise—and stand out. I’m seeing a growing trend for individuals who are creating their own niche inside their organizations. By doing so, they are standing out as thought leaders; pioneers and advocates on particular topics, which builds their visibility, their reputation as experts, and attracts opportunities inside and outside their company.

As Daniel W. Rasmus writes, for Fast Company, “Amid the cacophony of corporate voices, those found to be additive to the dialogue, rather than distracting, can be considered thought leaders.” These thought leaders have become known for something—hopefully a passion of theirs—and this perception of them helps open doors, and provides career and job security.

“The best thought leadership helps people in an industry, or more likely, in a role within an industry, do something better or gain insight that helps them better understand their market or their job,” writes Rasmus.

I’ve been following, interviewing, and coaching internal thought leaders for a long time now and realize there are common strategies that make these leaders successful. Employing these strategies in your own life can help you ascend to the next level in your career, and become a leader yourself. “Becoming a thought leader isn’t just a process. It requires a passion for and a commitment to spreading ideas that can help others,” states Ned Ward, vice president of Sterns & Associates, in an interview with says Inc. editor-at-large Leigh Buchanan.

“Thought leadership is commonly discussed in the business world, and to the average person, it may sound like another annoying corporate buzzword,” says Nicole Fallon, of Business News Daily. “But behind the jargon is the honest and admirable ambition of being viewed as a credible industry expert, one who cuts through the “noise” and offers something worth listening to.”

How You Can Become a Thought Leader

You may be wondering how you can become a thought leader. You’re in luck. I’m sharing these special secrets in a webinar on February 9th at 11 am PST/noon MST / 2 pm EST for 60 minutes. This webinar will analyze those who have successfully become thought leaders in their organizations. It will also deliver a step-by-step guide to creating a plan for your own thought leadership.

During my webinar you will:

  • Decide on your thought leadership topic
  • Design messaging and create a brand for your subject
  • Develop a step by step plan to launch your own thought leadership campaign
  • Learn how to expand and sustain your thought leadership reach both inside and outside your company and your professional networks.
  • Discover how to leverage your network to support your topic

After this information-packed, one-hour session you’ll leave with:

  • A topic of focus, passion
  • Clear branding and messaging around your topic
  • A plan for creating broader visibility for you and your subject
  • Unique ways to promote yourself and your topic
  • Ways to speak, write and use social media to promote your topic

What do you want to be known for? How high do you want to climb in your career? The thought leadership tips and coaching you will receive in my webinar will help you answer those questions—and more.

Remember, being perceived as a thought leader is an excellent form of career insurance; one that will open doors to new levels of professional opportunities and job satisfaction. Join us for my thought leadership webinar on February 9th at 11 am PST/noon MST / 2 pm EST. Register today!

Header Image: Wesley Fryer,  CC 2.0

_________________________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melissa Lamson is the CEO of Lamson Consulting, Founder of the highly popular leadership program for women, Advancement Strategies for Women, and creator of award-winning management programs for SpaceX, LinkedIn, and SAP. As an author, consultant, and speaker, Melissa accelerates the business expansion goals of today’s most successful companies by developing a global mindset, refining leadership skills, and bridging cross-cultural communication.  More About Melissa Lamson

 

 

3 Tips for Launching Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility

As the holidays come to a close, many companies all over the world are doing two things: Reviewing their 2017 performance and selecting charities to receive their official nod to holiday generosity. It’s worth asking how many of them have connected the two in developing their 2017 strategies. Corporate philanthropy isn’t just an obligation, after all; along with helping others, corporate social responsibility (CSR) offers an opportunity to inspire employees and attract new customers.

A few decades ago, no one expected companies to play the Good Samaritan. But in today’s era of “compassionate capitalism,” it’s almost de rigueur for companies to demonstrate some level of altruism, whether it’s promoting green initiatives, improving their local community, or lending their support to a global cause. Corporate social responsibility has become so hardwired into our business culture, in fact, that enterprise brands can look stingy and uncaring if they lack a robust program.

Of course, there’s something else typical of big corporations today, and that’s global expansion. And the intersection of global market entry and CSR can be a tricky one to navigate, given the different cultural priorities regarding these programs. Leaders often follow the saying “people, planet and profit” when it comes to investing in CSR but that can be a bit too simplistic on an international scale. To launch an effective program, global leaders must consider the following factors in their approach.

Figure out which buyers care about your initiatives.

While there’s been some debate on how profoundly CSR programs influence buyers, one Neilsen report showed in Italy Millennials, and Generation Z would pay more for products that were organically grown and ethically produced – And this is the trend globally. While retail slows down in Europe and North America, consumers are looking towards those products which focus on personal wellness and sustainability. In the developing world, it is still essential to ensure research and development, manufacturing and other production considers the community’s needs. Government officials and locals can block the success of global entry if specific environmental and societal criteria are not met.

Design a strategy that will ignite your workforce.

The Gallup Report for 2017 shows only 15 percent of the workforce engaged and actively engaged— a disheartening statistic. The data states that manufacturing and production are the primary cause of a lack of morale. A Corporate social responsibility program may interest your customer base, but it could indeed act as a morale booster for your workforce. The importance of a sense of meaning at one’s job has been proven time and again – and participating in a global mission can be even more galvanizing. This sense of meaning is extraordinarily powerful for remote teams, as sharing the same purpose can deepen connections between far-flung colleagues and dispersed offices.

For instance, each region might contribute toward a different local cause, such as rebuilding from a natural disaster in a struggling community – everyone will post photos and updates to the same internal site to educate and inspire others. Another option is having everyone adopt the same internal initiatives. Going green is obviously a popular one; offices can hold contests on reducing waste and packaging materials, exchange ideas on setting up carpool systems or show off their new energy-efficient lighting. Employees in Hong Kong who ordinarily might never interact with employees in Toronto will enjoy common ground that ultimately fosters deeper engagement for everyone.

Shift from CSR to Social Impact.

Particularly in today’s political and environmental climate, we need to ensure our efforts are not abstract. In touting CSR as making a social impact, everyone can relate. Leaders become advocates; employees care about making a difference. Alice Korngold wrote, “A Better World Inc.,” where she talks about how companies can make a positive social impact where governments cannot. We’ve seen this recently with the Paris Accord Agreement where hundreds of corporations have said they will uphold its principles even during the political debate.

Sometimes companies must commit to CSR that holds a personal significance for their partners. Ultimately every global company should consider the impact of corporate social responsibility initiatives on its workforce, its customers, and its communities before making a significant investment. The wrong program can go ignored by both employees and customers.

But the right program can put a halo of appeal around a brand image, inspire your workforce—and make a real global impact at the same time.

For a list of the top 20 CSR programs in 2017 and the companies they belong to, see here

Image Copyright: trueffelpix / 123RF Stock Photo 

A version of this post was first published here. 

8 Ways Women Can Win the Game

businessmen and women

Men and women “play” differently in the workplace. By knowing how to use different leadership styles, women can win the game.

Women–how many times has this happened to you? You’re sharing an idea in a meeting when suddenly you’re cut off–by a man.

According to participants in my women advancement workshops, it happens A LOT. The women view this behavior as a sign of disrespect and obliviousness where the men think it’s reasonable behavior and healthy competition.

This is one of many ways in which men and women “play” differently at work. And, these different styles can create friction and hold women back. But, if women learn the game and switch their leadership styles when necessary, we may be able to start taking up more space in the C-suite.

Here are eight ways women can play like women and win like men:

Pat yourself on the back.

A lot of women feel uncomfortable drawing attention to their accomplishments. They’ll say “we” when it’s really “I” or say nothing at all.

Gail Evans, the author of Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman, says because the workplace is run by a game where winning is the apparent objective, self-promotion is a way to show power. She advises not to be afraid to toot your own horn. If you don’t, no one else will.

Don’t be afraid to say “no.”

Men often have no qualms about turning down a project while women take on more and more.

Many women fear saying “no” is a sign of weakness–a sign that they can’t hack it. But Christopher Flett, author of What Men Don’t Tell Women About Business, says it is exactly the opposite. He says, “No-one promotes a ‘pile-on'”–a term he uses for someone who takes on more and more, never saying “no.”

I advise the women in my workshops that it’s okay to prioritize. “Work less and get promoted” is the statement I use over and over again. It’s getting women to think differently.

Speak up.

In the new book The Influence Effect, released this week, the authors from coaching firm Flynn Heath Holt reveal research that shows about half of women have significant difficulty inserting themselves into crucial meeting discussions. That’s while half of men say the most important thing women should address in meetings is being more confident and direct, less equivocal and apologetic.

Not speaking up in meetings is a tremendous missed opportunity to sell your ideas and yourself. Don’t be cowed by louder or more aggressive colleagues, or wait to be invited into the conversation. Force yourself to speak up more and defend your point of view. The authors of The Influence Effect share this advice–arrive early, speak early and ask questions.

Be confident.

In The Confidence Code, co-author Katty Kay says that research shows confidence is more important than competence–and women tend to focus firmly on the latter.

Don’t be afraid to take on something new and then figure it out. See it as an opportunity for growth–and believe that you can do it, even if you’ve never done it before.

Get to the point.

Men are generally conditioned to act, and so their communication style tends to be more solution-oriented and to the point. When communicating with men, women should aim to be succinct, direct and use declarative statements as opposed to finishing sentences with question marks.

Be specific with feedback.

If you’re leading men or collaborating with them, be specific in your directions–and especially your criticism.

Many men are hard-wired to let criticism roll off them. Rather than generalities, offer specific action items for them to act on.

Hit the water cooler.

The women at Flynn Heath Holt see “networking” or “schmoozing” as using the “power of the informal.” That means women can gain influence by working behind the scenes and using informal networks to strengthen relationships and get the support they need.

So, circulate the office or stay late at a meeting to find common ground with your male colleagues–talk about your kids or mutual interest in movies. This bond will extend to your working relationship and help you in the long run.

Don’t take things personally.

Because men and women communicate differently, often men’s way of doing things can be off-putting to women.

Remember that men aren’t likely trying to insult, offend or alienate you. And if they are, it’s even more important to put it back on them. You can use it as a coaching moment for yourself–and for them.

Working across gender in the workplace is more of an art than a science, but knowing these gender differences may quell some misunderstandings and even help more women get into the C-suite.

A version of the post was first published on Inc.

Take a Stand Like Elon Musk in Your Workplace

Act Now

In the current political climate, corporate leaders are standing up to take a stand for what they believe in–and we can all learn from them.

Elon MuskRichard BransonRoger GoodellGeena DavisElizabeth WarrenBonnie Crater.

The list goes on and on.

No matter the politics, many people in the business (and sports) world are dismayed by the (mis)behavior of President Donald Trump.

His lack of sensitivity, empathy, professionalism, emotional intelligence, politeness–you name it– leaves many to believe his actions are anything but presidential.

For that reason, corporate leaders are stepping up to take a stand for issues they believe in like free trade, climate change, immigration, healthcare, and free speech, to name a few.

Elon Musk, the Tesla, and SpaceX CEO, quit the president’s advisory boards after Trump left the Paris climate accord, and tech mogul Mark Cuban spoke out about Trump’s criticism of NFL players taking a knee, for example.

These prominent leaders can serve as an inspiration to you, no matter your position in the corporate latter, in a time when many feel powerless and hopeless. We can learn from them how to be outspoken and make a difference in our world today.

Here are five ways we can do this:

Take a stand.

If you personally believe in something, then share it with your team–even if they might not agree with you. They will find it inspiring, and it may be a catalyst for your team to act for a cause they’re passionate about, too.

Also, people like to know that a leader has a point of view and will take a stand. Being with a flip-flopper is unsettling. Working under someone with conviction can give a sense of security and clarity.

Talk with your team.

Collectively, your team may be passionate about a cause and want to act. Brainstorm ways your organization can help whether it be writing letters, donating money, or volunteering. Then formulate a plan and get moving.

The shared experience may even strengthen the bond of your team.

Use your clout.

With your organization’s approval, extend your leadership role into the community. Use your notoriety and speak at community organizations, schools, and institutions to bring attention to important issues.

Join forces.

Dave Matthews, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell, and Ariana Grande joined together to host a Concert for Charlottesville following the deadly white supremacist riot in the Virginia town last August.

You can do something similar–get together with other business leaders to amplify your impact, Which lends itself to more hands, heads, and hearts–and more attention to what’s important to you.

Get involved with other events.

You don’t need to create your own event–other groups are already acting and would welcome your support. So, get involved and tell your team what you’re doing. They may want to tag along, too.

Some national groups like the ACLUAnti-defamation LeagueHuman Rights Watch, and Greenpeace, may have chapters in your area. You can find a list here.

And to support your efforts in making a difference, you can find your local representatives here.

Instead of feeling dismayed and hopeless, take action and stand up – peacefully and compassionately – for what you believe in. If we all do that a little more lately, we’ll help create a better world for all of us.

A version of this post was first published on Inc.
Image: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

How To Avoid Being A Jerk In The Workplace

have a nice day

Recently, I’ve had several clients come to me with the same problem–their co-workers think they’re jerks.

These revelations have come to light in 360s, performance reviews, and regular feedback sessions.

And the thing is, these people aren’t jerks. But, they’re doing everyday things perceived as jerky– stuff you may be of guilty of doing, too.

So, to better your reputation and play better with others, stop doing these four things–right now!

1. Don’t steal other people’s ideas.

Don’t take other people’s ideas and call them your own. People who are more autonomous by nature are especially in danger of doing this. They may express ideas without realizing they were expressed initially by someone else.

If this could be you, put yourself on notice and be aware if someone else expressed the same thought already. And, give credit where it’s due.

If you don’t, others will notice and assume you aren’t collaborative. Or worse, they may think you’re out to get them by stealing their ideas.

So, instead, listen and add on to others’ thoughts and ask for input on yours.

2. Don’t spew criticism.

Being direct is probably not a bad thing, but it can be off-putting or offensive when it’s about something negative, including constructive criticism.

Instead, learn the art of the compliment sandwich. That is, say something positive. Insert the criticism. Then, end with another positive.

And, make sure the compliments are related to what you’re concerned about. I’ve had people tell me I look nice, then follow up with apprehensions about my ideas. That doesn’t cushion the blow. Instead, show appreciation for people’s time and participation.

3. Don’t be a time suck.

This is for those people that monopolize meetings, launch marathon chat sessions, and delegate time-intensive tasks.

Don’t.

Be aware of how much air space you’re taking up and how much of another’s time you’re consuming. This is especially true for those of you who have a habit of pontificating or complaining. Collaboration is key.

4. Don’t blow others off.

People who don’t respond to emails, stay on mute on conference calls, and never say hello in the halls, are perceived as jerks.

Instead, be responsive and communicative. Always say hi virtually or face-to-face to everyone–from janitors to managers.

Over email, don’t forget the greetings–that’s a “hi (name)” and “best regards,” or something of that ilk. Otherwise, you come off as rude.

These actions are really very simple. You can start them right now and turn your reputation around! If you don’t, well, no one wants to work with–or for–a jerk!

A version of this post was first published on Inc.

5 Traits That Make Women Better Global Leaders

More and more women are rising up the ranks to lead countries and global organizations worldwide. In fact, according to a Pew Research Center study, published in 2015 and updated in 2017, since 2005, the number of world leaders who are women has more than doubled. A fact that is not surprising since women possess certain traits that make them better global leaders.

Having said that, a lot of work still needs to be done. In the U.S., women hold less than 5 percent of the C-suite top spots. And, in regions like Latin America or Asia, women leading large organizations is pretty uncommon.

But, in my work helping women around the world develop advancement strategies, I’ve noticed traits, unique to women, that set them up to be influential leaders–particularly in a global environment.

Here are the top five traits women possess that make them strong global leaders:

1. Women empathize.

Being able to wear other people’s shoes is very important when leading in a global environment. Leaders need to try to understand different perspectives and empathize to be effective.

While I’m always the first to teach the premise that agility and empathy are not exclusive to either gender, it’s hard to ignore the research. An in-depth white paper by Caliper states:

Women leaders also were found to be more empathetic and flexible, as well as stronger in interpersonal skills than their male counterparts.

“These qualities combine to create a leadership style that is inclusive, open, consensus building, collaborative and collegial,” said Herb Greenberg, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Caliper.

2. Women communicate.

Communication is key to effective leadership, particularly when it comes to communicating across cultures, write Deborah Blagg and Susan Young in an article for Harvard Business School’s (HBS) Working Knowledge. And, according to HBS professor Nitin Nohria, author of Beyond the Hype: Rediscovering the Essence of Management, communication is the real work of leadership. “Great leaders, he notes, “spend the bulk of their time communicating, and they know how to employ all three of Aristotle’s rhetorical elements.”

Multiple studies over the years have consistently indicated that women are better communicators than men. Some suggest that women use many more words than men (anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 words a day to a man’s 5,000 to 10,000). One study, by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, attributes this to female brains possessing more of the “language protein.”

3. Women listen.

The female leaders I’ve worked with seem to have an innate skill for listening. When one woman is sharing a problem or challenge, the others seem to give their undivided attention instantly. They listen, ask some questions, and then share their thoughts.

Listening is a skill that’s necessary and appreciated across all cultures and particularly useful when leading teams of people from different backgrounds.

4. Women collaborate.

When managing cross-cultural teams, leaders need to understand that team members work, assess problems and come up with solutions differently.

Women seem to genuinely enjoy working with others. They enjoy learning new perspectives and coming up with solutions together. The women in my workshops always ensure each person in the room has a voice and is a part of the conversation. This means that everyone’s opinion and skills are included, allowing for stronger and more creative outcomes.

5. Women learn.

As I mentioned, women enjoy learning about other’s perspectives. They’re also very interested in discovering new ways to improve upon themselves and sharpen their skills. This focus on development makes women self-aware–crucial for both improving leadership skills as well as emotional intelligence.

McKinsey and Catalyst found that more gender balance at the top produces better financial results than those with the lowest representation of women board directors. However, there are still many challenges that keep women from leading global teams and companies. But as we continue to chip away at these barriers, both internally and externally, our organizations will only become stronger.

Do you need help creating gender balance on your team? Or, are you a woman who is hoping for a leadership position in your organization? I can help. Contact me.

 

A version of this post was first published on Inc.

Photo Credit: Elwynn/123RF

3 Simple Skills Every Spectacular Leader Masters

three simple skills leadership

Even though being a leader today is complicatedthere are just three simple skills you need to master. Leadership today is complex, in part because our teams are global and virtual. Our hierarchies are flatter. Our environments are more collaborative.

And, there are so many different models of leadership to consider. Should you be compassionate? Should you be a serving leader? What’s the difference between the two?

It can be overwhelming to think about all the different ways one can lead and how to pick the best fit.

But there are three simple skills that all spectacular leaders demonstrate and you can too.

Be observant.

All fantastic leaders are able to assess the different ways their employees work and thrive. They look at their teams’ personalities, cultural backgrounds, even gender, to identify what approach will be most effective in engaging, motivating and bringing out the best in an employee.

For example, in the case of differing cultural backgrounds, if a team member is from Mexico or Japan where there’s commonly a distinct hierarchy, then a leader should know that he or she might need to ask this person if they need support or have issues. This is because in these cultures it’s often seen as disrespectful to bring up problems to a superior.

Alternatively, if a person is from a country like the U.S. or France, they’re most likely used to working in a flatter organizational structure and are accustomed to having autonomy in their work.

Create a feedback loop.

Leaders often cite giving feedback, especially the negative kind, as one of the toughest parts of their jobs. They don’t want to make their teams feel uncomfortable, hurt feelings, or impair relationships.

The way around this is to create a culture of feedback where the team views the practice as a positive for both the individual and the organization rather than something to be feared. Give both constructive and positive commentary on a regular basis.

But keep two things in mind–first, make sure you’re clear in your intention. Tell the recipient the purpose of your comments, whether it is to grow, improve their image, or protect them. Second, don’t talk about hearsay or feelings. Stick to observable facts.

Be an empowering coach.

Be a coach who empowers the team to better themselves. Ask questions, listen, and help your staff re-frame their answers so they can come up with solutions.

I like the GROW (Goals, Reality, Options, and Will) coaching model because it helps someone refine their goal, define their current situation, discover the different options of what to try, and then commit to a particular action. The coachee owns the answers and therefore is more engaged and committed to the outcome.

This strategy works especially well in flatter hierarchies and collaborative environments. The best coaching is used to empower and serve team members. It allows them to find answers themselves that might even be better than what you would have directed them to do.

While these three simple skills are seemingly basic, there are many different approaches and methods along with various workshops and programs.

But what it comes down to is the ability to be observant, listen, and have those effective and critical conversations in feedback and coaching. If you master these three simple skills, you’ll have a strong connection with your team and see them be more productive and successful. And, if you need working with your team, or developing your own leadership skills, contact me.

 A version of this post was first published on Inc.
Image: RClassenLayouts/123RF

3 Ways to Know Who You Are as a Global Leader

International Leadership

No matter if you lead in Tokyo, Paris, Moscow, New York, Buenos Aires or Sydney, these are critical questions to answer if you want to make a difference as a leader and stand for something:

1. Who are you as a leader?

2. What is your legacy?

3. What is your impact?

Paul N. Larsen, author of Find Your Voice as a Leader, shared his thoughts on the answers to these questions in this post.

To read the complete article, please click here.

International Leadership

Image Credit: Leung Cho Pan/123rf