How Nonprofit CEOs And Board Chairs Can Cultivate Justice, Equity, Diversity And Inclusion

This week’s article is provided by Dr. Christopher Washington as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series and was originally published on Forbes.com.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled JEDI SPACE Principles for CEOs and Board Chairs that aired on Tuesday, May 4th, 2021.

 

The pandemic lockdown of 2020 and 2021 presented (and continues to present) multiple sources of stress and associated symptoms in the U.S. population, leading the American Psychological Association to declare a national mental health crisis. Efforts to establish a new normal in the way we work have exposed anxieties, tensions and dividing lines in many organizations. Because nonprofits are often on the front lines in supporting the causes that matter and in adapting and responding to rapid social and technological changes, nonprofit staff are particularly vulnerable to stressful conditions.

An organization’s climate is how its members perceive “how things work around here.” However, an organization’s climate can change. This change can occur when the language, actions and intentions of board and staff members shift in response to what is stressing them. In these instances, leaders can focus on honing leadership traits like positive emotional energy, trust and stability. More enlightened CEOs and board chairs are deeply aware that their words and deeds can enable inclusive excellence, where human diversity, ingenuity and talent flourish.

Research by the Society of Human Resources Management suggests that companies that operate under these principles tap into a broader range of backgrounds and skill sets, are more likely to pursue fairness and morality, and may reduce the likelihood of staff attrition. Research conducted by McKinsey and Co. linked diversity and inclusion to organizational performance. For nonprofits, operating on principles such as justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (J.E.D.I.) should be viewed as essential for maintaining a healthy and sustainable organization.

Perhaps the analog astronaut and geoscientist Dr. Sian Proctor said it best: “J.E.D.I. space is the outer space I want to visit and the space I want to create and inhabit right here on Earth. It starts when we learn to cultivate our own individual J.E.D.I. voice as a force for positive change in order to create the collective J.E.D.I. space we envision for humanity’s future.”

Having served as the board chair for a number of nonprofit organizations over the years, I am quite familiar with the meaningful work of nonprofit organizations. With social and economic disruption likely to bedevil nonprofits for the foreseeable future, there is a need for CEOs and board chairs to develop a J.E.D.I. voice and to create a J.E.D.I. S.P.A.C.E. with just, equitable, diverse and inclusive environments, where community members engage in supportive, purposeful, accountable, collaborative and evaluative practices.

By working together, the CEO and chair can decide to dial up or dial down their shared authority to address toxic behavior and unhealthy conflicts, uplift the morale or facilitate the cohesion of individuals and groups, or foster more active engagement of board and staff members. Presented here are some suggested ways that the CEO and board chair can work together to create the S.P.A.C.E. principles that nonprofit board and staff members need in order to thrive during periods of prolonged disruption:

Supportive Practices

The CEO and board chair can support their teams by clarifying staff and director roles and emphasizing the importance of people and their contributions. For example, in clarifying roles, the board should know that it only has one employee, the CEO, and that everyone else in the organization reports to the CEO, as a way to prevent the confusion that can arise when multiple “managers” are leading staff. Additional ideas include hosting a new board member orientation, facilitating a review of a board policy manual, and periodically celebrating people and their role contributions.

Purposeful Practices

The CEO and chair can be a force for strategic clarity. To provide a sense of shared purpose, it is important for them to communicate the broader cause and J.E.D.I. principles. In addition, they can design an inclusive planning process that involves these J.E.D.I. S.P.A.C.E. principles and practices. Linking these ideas to how the organization creates value, the opportunities and threats faced by the organization, and the ways the organization will carry out its mission can lead to a deeper integration of these ideas into the culture of the organization.

Accountability Practices

Volatility and uncertainty have a way of bringing out both the best and worst in people. When incivility, dispiriting behavior and bullying emerge and are left unchecked it can create an unacceptable work climate. The CEO and chair can ensure that standards for acceptable behavior are spelled out and communicated and address behavior through feedback and other consequences. Having a code of conduct makes it easier for leaders to address inappropriate and unhealthy conduct. For some organizations, term limits for board members can prompt a board chair to pay close attention to board member performance. For extreme cases, procedures for board member removal can be spelled out in the organization’s bylaws.

Collaborative Practices

Leaders can structure interactions that connect people to the work and to each other. Cultivating a sense of connection can give the board and staff a sense of belonging and reinforce a shared purpose. Community building is especially healthy as more people are working remotely from one another. Collaborative activities can be used to share information, test understanding, foster compassion and engage in creative problem-solving. Collaborative activities can also aid in overcoming divisiveness and unhealthy cliques.

Evaluative Practices

The CEO and chair can lead efforts to assess and evaluate factors that contribute to the current climate. Both formal and informal assessment activities can enable transparency around purpose, J.E.D.I. values, S.P.A.C.E. practices and the perceived patterns of performance that exist. In formalizing this continuous improvement process, the CEO and chair can assure that the bylaws have an assessment process laid out and that a code of conduct serves as a criterion for evaluation and assessment.

Retaining and attracting the talented board and staff drawn to the work of nonprofits during more uncertain and stressful times will require more caring and compassionate leaders who are masters in developing supportive organizational climates. In working together, the CEO and chair can provide the J.E.D.I. S.P.A.C.E. principles the board and staff deserve in order to overcome the volatility and uncertainty that is likely to plague nonprofits for the foreseeable future.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Christopher Washington is a learning ecosystem designer who serves as Executive Vice President and Provost of Franklin University

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

7 Tips on Effective Team Management

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This article is a guest post provided by Katrina Hatchett.  It is provided to supplement the interview with Laura Morgan Roberts and Courtney McCluney, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  Their interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled DEI: Needed Conversations and Understanding aired on Tuesday, April 27th, 2021.

 

Team management is more than just being a team; it’s also about making sure that everything runs smoothly in your team. However, simply managing your team can be harder than it looks.

Now, you may remember that before you became a manager, you had to start from the ground up, taking responsibility for working with team members, and even on your own. Isn’t that right?

So, now that you’re a manager, congratulations! Now, let’s put your skills to the test, as you take on a management role. That means it’s your turn to inspire, lead, and motivate your team to accomplish numerous goals for all kinds of projects.

Now, not everything will work out the way you’ve planned; and sometimes, team members might not cooperate with either your or with each other. That’s why, as a manager, you have to be ready to tackle anything that comes in your way and do so to where it’s effective and sets a good example for your team.

With that said, here are 7 tips to follow when managing a team effectively:

Check-In Daily

“It’s important to check in on everyone on your team every day,” says Candice Leyva, a project manager at Writemyx and Next Coursework. “That means keeping in touch with everyone – in-house and remote team members. Although phone conversations and email are effective means of communication, they may not be enough for every situation.”

The good news is, services like Zoom or Google’s Team Hangouts make it easier for people to have meetings and communicate effectively, no matter where each team member is. Services like these allow you to set the agenda and provide (and listen to) feedback and resources.

Maintain Positive Work Relations

As you better communicate with your team members, this allows you to establish great relationships with them. That means knowing your team members not only on a professional level but also on a more personal level. Whether you have virtual luncheons, in-person get-togethers, etc., it’s great to have positive relations with your colleagues. Find out what they like to do outside of work – hobbies, interests, favorite TV shows, etc. That allows you to build a better rapport among the team.

Be Tech-Friendly

Nowadays, people want to stay connected in any shape or form, especially in the workplace. Therefore, it’s your job as a manager to ensure that your team stays connected. While text messages and email are now considered short-term solutions, communication tools have evolved in today’s world, with tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc. Such innovations are far better suited for collaboration and communication, which are a plus for team management.

Be A Good Example

As a manager, it’s obvious that your staff will look to you for guidance, inspiration, and direction. Therefore, it’s essential that you look and act as so. By setting a good example among your team, you’ll not only gain their respect, but they’ll also exhibit the right behaviors in productivity, presentation, and there on after. That means if you expect team members to behave professionally and commit to their work, set the example and do the same.

Be Outcome-Based

That means, focus on outcomes, not activity.

Although it’s not possible to manage every aspect of the work done by your team, it’s still imperative to focus on the outcomes of what’s being worked on. In other words, expect results from each aspect of your team, even if you can’t physically be there for every single one of them. And again, you can use communication tools to keep in touch with team members, even when you’re away. This is how you measure your team accordingly, by looking for results, not the activity or hours worked.

Resolve Conflict

“Sometimes, there will be conflict within a team,” says Evie Wyatt, a psychologist at Brit student and Australia 2 write. “And while it’s important to have team members resolve their feuds as soon as possible, you, the manager, must find ways to resolve them in a quicker manner, rather than let them continue and interfere with work.”

In addition, it’s important to educate the team on the importance of teamwork and cooperation. Should problems arise, you at least have peace of mind, as you and your teamwork quickly resolve them.

Define Solid Expectations

Finally, make sure that you define your expectations in a way that they’re both realistic and straightforward for everyone on the team. This allows you to figure out what each team member (including yourself) should do to accomplish goals. And, this allows you to set yourself and your team up for success when you clearly state both the tasks and the reasons behind them.

So, make sure you define these expectations for each task/project:

  • Scope
  • Deadlines
  • Deliverables

Conclusion

Although managing a team can be hard at times, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be hard on your team if they don’t get something right, or if other things fall apart. As you follow these 7 tips, you and your team will be more productive, regardless of any situation.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Katrina Hatchett writes and edits at Write my personal statement. She also edits for Case study help. Plus, she is a freelance writer for PhDKingdom.com. As a professional writer, she has been involved in many business writing projects.

Photo by Leon on Unsplash

Why Strong Leaders Always Put a Focus on Promoting Business Transparency with Employees

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This article is a guest post provided by Jori Hamilton.  It is provided to supplement the interview with Laura Morgan Roberts and Courtney McCluney, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  Their interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled DEI: Needed Conversations and Understanding aired on Tuesday, April 27th, 2021.

 

In a leadership position, transparency isn’t likely one of the topics you think about first. Yet, for your employees, transparency is a key leadership trait. 64% of respondents ranked trust between employees and senior management in a survey regarding what matters most for job satisfaction and engagement.

Yet, many business leaders still undervalue transparency. Amidst the COVID-19 crisis and continued economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever before to adopt transparency as a key tenet of employee-facing business policies.

Effective leadership during and after a crisis like this requires clear and quality communication. Business transparency makes such communication possible. Strong leaders will use this to their advantage, but first, it helps to understand what business transparency looks like and how it helps workplaces.

Business Transparency Defined

Obviously, as a business, it doesn’t make sense for all employees to have access to all the company’s information. Interns, for example, don’t necessarily need the details on financial accounts. Business transparency, however, doesn’t mean a complete revelation of all trade secrets and financial details.

Instead, business transparency can be simply defined as openness in communication between employers and employees regarding policy and decision-making. This simple quality can have a huge impact on employee engagement and success.

In planning your transparent approach to business leadership, it is helpful to remember that transparency is a means to greater and more effective leadership potential. New company policies, especially on a corporate level, tend to get passed down the chain with little transparency or communication involved. As many as 52% of workers say their own company struggles in providing up-front and open communication with them.

But no one likes to follow rules they don’t understand. Lack of clear communication leads to distrust. In many cases, employees even quit because of frustrations with their superiors and the way they communicate. Sometimes all it takes to make a difference is a clear memo and accessible communication channels.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we see the value of transparency in leadership even more closely. Since all kinds of businesses suddenly had to transition their processes, unclear communication has had negative effects on some businesses as employees struggled to effectively adapt.

At the same time, businesses that communicated a continuity plan with employees from the start and were receptive to ideas had the easiest time managing pandemic concerns. Even in instances where this meant layoffs, transparency and quality communication gave these workers more time to seek out the unemployment benefits they were often entitled to.

But this kind of transparency has more long-term benefits that will extend long past the pandemic.

The Benefits of Managerial Transparency

The management style you adopt can have a significant impact on the growth of your organization. Transparency can help ensure that that impact is a positive one.

The data is clear when it comes to clear and empathetic communication between employees and management. Employees in these circumstances have higher retention rates and levels of productivity. These factors can even mean all the difference when it comes to financially surviving crises like COVID-19.

Here are just some of the statistics regarding the importance of transparency in business management:

  • Transparency is the number-one factor in employee happiness.
  • 57% of employees left a job because of a manager.
  • 94% of customers are likely to be loyal to a company that offers complete transparency.
  • 39% of customers would switch to a brand that offers greater transparency.
  • 73% of customers will pay more for products from transparent brands.

With potentials like these, it is no wonder why strong leaders always put a focus on promoting business transparency. Clear and open communication with employees invites collaboration and innovation. At the same time, a willingness to explain thought processes behind decisions and policies is a huge factor in establishing employee trust.

Since trust and communication are so valuable to employee engagement and success, transparency should not be an overlooked aspect of leadership. But what exactly does business transparency look like, and how can leaders cultivate it?

Building Success Through Transparent Leadership

With so much potential available through transparent communication alone, it should be every leader’s priority to build transparency into their processes. There are several ways this can be achieved. From highly promoted value statements to open-door policies, transparent leadership is effective and achievable.

One radical example is the social media scheduling company Buffer’s approach to pay scales. Buffer keeps the salaries of all its employees on a public spreadsheet along with a formula that describes exactly why each worker makes what they do. The company claims this keeps employee frustrations low while also offering employees something to strive for, leading to greater productivity.

While you still might want to keep salary information private in your own business, you can still create a culture of transparency through a few simple actions. These include:

  • Clarify transparency as a core value of your business and promote these values in company culture.
  • Share all information about changes with employees upfront.
  • Engage in honest and open negotiations with employees.
  • Maintain an empathetic approach to leadership.
  • Explain decisions through data and clear communication.

By engaging in simple practices like these, you can demonstrate a greater commitment to your employees and customers. Doing so can also actively prevent many toxic behaviors from occurring. As demonstrated, this can offer business benefits like greater productivity and employee retention. These qualities matter even more as the world still reels from the coronavirus pandemic.

Final Thoughts

Facing a lack of certainty in the larger economy, employees deserve a transparent workplace and clear communication from their employers. This does not have to mean complete visibility of financial data; even revealing data analytics that points towards the reasoning of a specific change can be enough to generate trust and respect.

As business policies continue to shift in the course of a pandemic-stricken economy, negotiating employee needs like remote work accommodations will require a dedication to transparent communication. Businesses need transparency and empathy to thrive as they accommodate new standards of normal. As a result, strong leaders are promoting business transparency and reaping the rewards that follow.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. Her areas of expertise and topics she typically covers revolve around business leadership, ethics, and psychology. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter: @HamiltonJori

Image Source: Pexels

6 Facts about Burnout Leaders Need to Understand

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This article is a guest post provided by Bridget Hernandez  It is provided to supplement the interview with Peter Weng and Rich Fernandez, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  Their interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Mindfulness and the Benefits in the Work Place aired on Tuesday, April 20th, 2021.

 

Being an executive is not an easy position to be in. Their primary duty is to accomplish the goals of the organization while leading others effectively. They must find a balance between successfully fulfilling the goals and yet not overwhelming their employees.  Burning out employees and causing stress and anxiety to manifest within the company goes contrary to effective leadership.

According to Forbes, 96% of employees believe that empathy is a key ingredient for employee retention, yet 61% of employees feel burned out on the job. In addition, Small Biz Genius reported that 90% of employees are willing to stay on board if the company takes action on the feedback they gather. Understandably, only 28% of employees stated that their company is great in terms of coaching, recognition, and overall employee engagement.

Burnout is nothing to scoff at as it can cause severe issues for your employees and their quality of work if you manage it incorrectly. That being said, let’s take a look at some hard facts about burnout, which leaders should be aware of in the post-COVID-19 world.

 

1. What are the Symptoms of Employee Burnout?

Let’s talk about the common tells of employee burnout before we delve further into the facts surrounding the issue. The best way in which you can help your employees or colleagues deal with burnout is to simply recognize it quickly once it manifests.

We are all prone to burnout, especially with the added stress of insecure employment prospects and social distancing as prescribed by the World Health Organization. Thus, some of the most common and telling ways in which you can tell someone is burned out is by recognizing the following symptoms:

  • Complaints about physical and mental fatigue
  • Recent lack of motivation and poor mood
  • Drops in work performance and output
  • Quieter and less communicative than before
  • Loss of appetite and self-medication at work
  • Recognizable lack of sleep and twitchiness

2. Monotony and Stagnation Lead to Burnout

Inherently, we all crave a dynamic and exciting workflow. Depending on the type of work your company does, this may or may not be possible. Customer support agents or sales specialists have a set of standard obligations that need tending day in and day out.

As a leader, your job is to make the work environment as dynamic and lively as possible. Monotonous work can be mind-numbing even for experts who are fully dedicated to their careers. Find ways to mix up the workflow of your employees as much as possible by introducing team duties, brainstorming meetings, and group breaks or lunchtime.

3. No Work Can Be Done Efficiently Under Burnout

High-performing individuals on your team will only perform well for a certain amount of time. Once their “high” has passed, burnout can set in quickly. Avoid putting too much pressure on single individuals, no matter how good they may be at their work. Delegate workload based on the number of employees and duties which need tending to strike a better balance. This can mitigate the effects of pressure on your team and lower the odds of burnout.

Steven Riley, Head of HR and Content Writer at Trust My Paper, said that: “It doesn’t matter if your employees load/unload goods physically, operate support phones, or write articles online – burnout can happen at any time. An important task can wait until tomorrow if your employees are already on edge and simply want to go home for the day. If burnout sets in, you will lose time regardless of the work done under pressure – learn to take it easy.”

4. Employee Burnout Can Spread Easily

Unfortunately, burnout is contagious and can cause severe issues for your team. This makes it important to address burnout on an individual basis and not wait for a group of people to raise their voices at once. An effective way to combat burnout is to introduce one-on-one coaching and team meetings that don’t revolve around work.

Simply talk about your staff’s wellbeing, what you can improve, and how everyone is doing with the increased workload. You can also introduce a rotating “free day” for everyone on the staff to work from home for a day in order to refocus. As we’ve mentioned, proper employee engagement is oftentimes all it takes to avoid burnout in your team. Be proactive and talk to your staff about how they feel – they will appreciate the gesture immensely.

5. Remote Work Can Still Cause Burnout

Speaking of remote work management, it too is not exempt from burnout. Modern employees often have trouble separating work from private life, and remote work doesn’t help in that regard. While they lack contact with colleagues, they are also constantly sent more and more work, which needs to be done “ASAP,” or else.

Remote work is a tool to be used in order to make workflow easier – not as a means to make employees work more than before. Thus, be extra wary of remote work management and pay close attention to your staff’s mental wellbeing if you operate remotely. Help your employees separate private obligations from work-related duties, and their risk of burnout will drop off organically as a result.

6. What are the Common Causes of Employee Burnout?

Before we wrap up, let’s tackle the common causes which lead to employee burnout. Leaders and managers typically attribute burnout to employees and distance themselves from any agency in the matter.

The truth is far from that simple, as managers can cause said burnout more often than not. If you avoid the following points in your team management efforts, burnout should become less of an issue. However, every individual is a human being in and of themselves – learn to recognize your staff’s “tells” when it comes to burnout.

  • Poor recognition of accomplished tasks (reward is even more work)
  • Toxic and unsupportive team culture (multiple people are burned out)
  • Incorrect or insufficient work instructions (time wasted on fixing mistakes)
  • Outright punishment for failed tasks (minus to income or vacation days)
  • Inherent requirement for employees to multitask (one employee, two jobs)
  • Lack of care or channels for employee feedback (no bottom-up communication)

We’re all Only Human (Conclusion)

Everyone needs and deserves some time off before serious burnout sets in. If left unmanaged, burnout can have long-term consequences for your staff and cause them to leave the company outright due to poor employee engagement.

Even if you choose to shift to remote work conditions, burnout can seep in and wreak havoc in your ranks without you knowing about it. Be proactive, be responsible, and be the leader your staff deserves to have at the helm – they will undoubtedly respond to your actions in kind.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Bridgette Hernandez is a professional Content Writer at Subjecto and Chief Editor at Supreme Dissertations writing services. Her career is focused on writing, publishing, and contributions to a number of industries, including digital marketing, academic writing, and business development, among others. Bridgette is a close associate and guest writer with Top Essay Writing, where she works on academic research and term papers for students in need. In her spare time, Bridgette is a reader, swimmer, and chef.

 

The Art of Managing Time

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This article was previously published on the SIYLI blog (Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.)  It is provided to supplement the interview with Peter Weng and Rich Fernandez, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  Their interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Mindfulness and the Benefits in the Work Place aired on Tuesday, April 20th, 2021.

 

Peter Weng, the founder of the EWS Collective, worked in the corporate world for more than 20 years and was a director at Google before leaving to focus on a mission of helping others develop their mindfulness, well-being, and performance. Given his background in information and data, it’s remarkable that he chooses to limit his access to technology. His home internet router shuts off daily with a tightly scheduled timer, and his cell phone is often in airplane mode on the weekends. But by avoiding television, mobile internet access and even meditation apps, he’s found more time to pursue, in addition to work, the things he loves—surfing (when he was in his early twenties, he surfed about 30 hours a week), music (he’s been a gigging musician in several countries), dancing (he was a semi-professional rollerdisco dancer) and his own mindfulness practice. Ultimately, all of these habits have helped him learn how to be less reactive, become more patient, manage his time more efficiently and focus on what he values most.

Here he shares his views and practices on mindfulness:

How did you first learn about mindfulness?
Visiting Chan Buddhist monks from Taiwan were teaching weekly sessions at the University of Texas at Austin when I was living in Austin, Texas. I happened upon the sessions while waiting for a friend who was doing research there. The teachings from those monks were so practical and pragmatic—it just made sense to me. My mindfulness practice started at that time about 20 years ago.

 How has mindfulness shaped your life, both in the workplace and personally? 
It’s a bit frightening if I consider how mindfulness practice has shifted things in my personal and professional life. In my personal life, personal time has shifted to retreats and meditation groups. I previously served on the board of Insight Santa Cruz, a meditation center in the Insight/Theravada Buddhist tradition.

Professionally, I left my corporate career—and the interesting things associated with that career, such as being invited to attend economic forums at the White House—to focus on helping spread mindfulness practices. Throughout, I have striven to keep technology from dominating life, even when I worked in technology companies.

What’s your daily mindfulness practice like?
For daily practice, my preference is for breath-focused and body-scan meditations, both as seated practices and incorporated into moments and space throughout the day—on the bus, waiting in line, etc. I also journal at night. For journaling, I’ve been tracking my activities every day for about 30 years. It ‘s been incredibly helpful to review my journal each month to assess whether I’m living the way I would like to live. Reading the issues that I write about has also been interesting to see how my priorities have shifted over time.

The best way for me to make time to practice is to prevent myself from being online at night and morning. So, for this, I’ve set up my internet router on a timer that shuts off my at 9:30 p.m. and doesn’t turn on again until 8 a.m. on weekdays or 10 a.m. on weekends. On weekends, it’s also off from 12 to 5 p.m.  This prevents me from randomly clicking on things at night, so I can get to sleep at a decent hour, or wasting my weekend days online. In the morning, it prevents me from getting online right away and running out of time.

Why do you find it important to limit your exposure to technology?
I find technology addicting, and with unlimited access to technology I end up spending time in ways I don’t find the most fulfilling. Limiting my own access to technology has allowed me to devote more time to my passions.

In the mid-’90s, my colleagues found out that I didn’t watch TV—because I was always silent when discussions on TV shows happened—and convinced me to buy a television. I bought one that Friday afternoon. The next morning, I spent the entire morning mesmerized by the moving pictures on the TV and missed out on beautiful surf conditions. I was so upset to have missed the surf session that I returned the TV that afternoon and never missed out on surfing because of the TV again.

The weird social pressures, consumerism, and negative worldview that are carried through popular media also concern me. I read the news every day because I feel that it’s important and aligns with a mindfulness practice to be aware of what is happening in the world, but I try to obtain my news from sources that focus on reporting rather than sensationalism. I have a subscription to The Economist and, for leisure reading, The New Yorker.

In addition to time limits on the internet, I often leave my phone at home on weekends when I go out or put it on airplane mode to prevent me from reading email all the time. In a somewhat unplanned way, I subscribed to a terrible phone service that doesn’t offer reliable mobile internet service, so I don’t use my phone to access information online, except for Google Maps and email. Maps I find useful, so it’s really email on the phone that I am most wary about.

I feel that sheltering myself from the bombardment of ads in popular media reduces the clutter in my mind. There are certain things that I hear others talk about that I think are related to the influence of popular media—concerns about status, wealth, etc. Also, limiting technology allows me to actually do my mindfulness practices—because if I didn’t limit it, I might spend all my time online. I have a weakness for surfing videos on YouTube.

How do you feel about meditation apps? 
I stopped using meditation apps. Some of the apps are excellent and helpful in general. But the meditation app I liked the most gave me data about when I practiced, the length of practice, etc. I became obsessed with the data and would export it to a spreadsheet and look at my daily averages over time. It’s embarrassing to admit this, but I used to worry that if I meditated for a shorter time on any given day it would impact my daily average, which I’d have to make up later in the week. It was a striving mindset, which wasn’t a healthy or productive way to conduct my mindfulness practice. It’s better for me to not have that data.

How has your mindfulness practice benefited your leadership abilities?
The biggest impact has been around my reactivity. I’m impatient and react strongly to things. In my work history, I have often had challenges with being reactive when issues came up. Mindfulness practice has helped me improve on this, and I’ve been able to reduce the frequency and intensity of expressing my negative reactions. It’s an ongoing process, but this was a focus area of my practice and definitely an area from which I’ve benefited.

And on a personal level?
I notice many small rewards regularly, which are fun to observe. I mentioned my impatience, and mindfulness has made waiting more enjoyable. Delays are now a bonus because I can fit in some more mindfulness practice while I wait.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Peter Weng is the founder of the EWS Collective. Peter is focused on supporting individuals and organizations to optimize the balance of well-being and performance. As a corporate executive (Google, Dell) and well-being/mindfulness non-profit leader (HMI, SIYLI) he has implemented systems of well-being and performance in companies, governmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations around the world.

 

Empowering Women for the Prosperity of Nations: Findings on Gender Equality by Country

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This blog is an excerpt from The Gender Equality and Governance Index.  It is the Executive Summary and is provided to supplement the interview with Amanda Ellis and Augusto Lopez-Claros, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  It is a companion to their interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled GEGI: Empowering Women for the Prosperity of Nations that aired on Tuesday, April 13th, 2021.

 

Gender inequality has myriad faces: archaic laws that codify sexism, male control of joint income and household assets, exclusion from governance, trafficking and violence against women, denial of education and adequate health care, and gender segregation in the workforce, to name a few. The scope of inequality is vast and its costs to society are mounting.

COVID-19 has prompted new awareness around this topic, as the effects of the pandemic have exacerbated existing gender inequalities and revealed the importance of female inclusion in governance and decision-making. The evidence linking gender equality to economic and social well-being and prosperity is clear. Now more than ever, we must prioritize the role of women in fostering communities’ and countries’ well-being and economic health by developing policies that guard against gender discrimination.

The Gender Equality and Governance Index (GEGI; Figure 1 provides the index structure and its various components) was built with the understanding that indexes—despite their limitations—are tools to generate debate on key policy issues, to precipitate remedial actions, and to track progress. A well-designed composite indicator thus provides a useful frame of reference for evaluation, both between countries and over time. The GEGI analyzes data from a variety of international organizations and valuable survey data to achieve a broad-based and comparative understanding of gender discrimination on a global scale, using five critical “pillars”: governance, education, work, entrepreneurship, and violence. By breaking scores down into pillars, the GEGI allows policymakers to pinpoint specific areas for improvement.

The GEGI rankings for 2020 indicate a clear correlation between gender equality, economic prosperity, and inclusive leadership. Iceland ranks first in the world among the 158 countries included in the index, followed by Spain and Belgium. Canada (9) and New Zealand (16) are the only non-European countries to rank in the top 20. The highest-ranking country in East Asia is Taiwan (21), and Canada scores highest in the Americas. (See Appendix II for the rankings for the 158 countries included). Much further down the rankings, we find China (82) and India (100). Given that one out of three women on the planet lives in these two countries, gender inequality there is particularly troublesome. Sub-Saharan Africa makes up nearly one-half of the 50 lowest-ranking countries, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) comprise another one-third. Gender equality correlates strongly with higher levels of economic prosperity per capita, as 47 of the countries in the top 50 are either high or upper middle income. Rwanda (55) is the highest-scoring low-income country.

For the countries included in the index, higher levels of discrimination against women coincide with lower rates of labor force participation for women, lower rates of school enrolment for girls at the secondary level, lower numbers of women-owned businesses, and larger wage gaps between women and men. These findings should come as no surprise. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has argued that decreasing work-related gender inequalities can make “a positive contribution in adding force to women’s voice and agency,” thereby empowering women within both the public and private spheres.1 Countries that have integrated women into the workforce more rapidly have improved their international competitiveness.

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, which envisioned gender equality in all dimensions of life – and yet not a single country has yet achieved it. Worse still, only eight countries have a legal framework that does not discriminate against women in some way, with a body of legislation supporting women’s economic equality, which benefits everyone. Achieving gender equality requires more than simply removing barriers to opportunity. Many decades after the women’s suffrage movement, women are still grossly underrepresented in executive and policymaking bodies. For gender equality to become a reality, with all its attendant benefits, the first step is ensuring women are equally represented at the highest levels of decision-making across a country.

Gender equality in governance requires both de jure and de facto progress. The GEGI evaluates the legal framework of a country and measures the extent of female inclusion in governance. Less than 5% of countries have gender balance in political governance. Female leadership in the justice system, the central bank, and the ministerial and executive levels of government is crucial, but notably lacking. Only 21 countries currently have a female head of state or government; only 14 have female central bank governors. Only one in four Parliamentarians is female and one in five a Minister. In the private sector, despite well-documented research on the financial benefits of the diversity dividend, a third of global boards have no women at all. To remedy this, countries have begun implementing quotas, often as temporary special measures, that reserve representation for women. For instance, after Argentina saw success with a quota requiring a minimum number of female candidates in national elections, many other Latin American countries followed suit.

While attempts to solve gender inequality through legislation, inclusion in decision-making, and quotas are necessary, they are by no means sufficient. A critical prerequisite for female leadership in governance is education. Since inequalities in education artificially reduce the pool of talent from which companies and governments can draw, a direct way to boost economic growth is to improve both the quality and quantity of human capital by expanding educational opportunities for girls. Cultural attitudes against female education continue to prevail, and investment in girls’ education is still far below that of boys. For instance, the World Bank reports that only 38 percent of girls in low-income countries enroll in secondary school, and nearly 500 million women remain illiterate. Research has conclusively proven the importance of education in expanding opportunities for women outside the home and the positive multiplier impact for families, communities and economies. The most competitive economies in the world are those where the educational system does not put women and girls at a disadvantage.

Gender inequalities in employment are also toxic to economic growth because they constrain the labor market, making it difficult for firms and businesses to scale up efficiently. Globally, only 47 percent of women are employed in the labor force, compared to over 70 percent of men. This gap is most stark in South Asia and the MENA region, where just over 20 percent of women are in formal employment. Including women in the work force requires a multifaceted approach. Incentives to work, including paid parental leave and childcare services, have proven effective in increasing female labor force participation. However, many working women remain segregated in female-dominated fields that tend to be lower paid and have fewer opportunities for advancement. Women continue to be excluded from managerial positions, and no country has succeeded in ensuring equal renumeration for work of equal value.

Given that just 7 percent of women in low income countries are employed as wage workers, entrepreneurship and self-employment is an equally important avenue for female empowerment. Women entrepreneurs could contribute significantly to economic innovation and growth if given access to the same training, capital, credit, and rights as men. Women face severe difficulty accessing financial accounts and securing credit; in fact, estimates from the International Finance Corporation suggest that women entrepreneurs face a financing deficit of $1.5 trillion. Because women tend to earn less and have fewer property rights than men, they have a harder time providing collateral to obtain a loan. Restrictions on mobility and cultural disapproval of women in business further discourage women from pursuing entrepreneurship.

Despite—and perhaps in response to—the progress that women have made in governance, education, and employment, they are experiencing violence at staggering rates. Women are most vulnerable to violence in cultures where long-held customs and fundamental prejudices place the culpability for violence on the women themselves. The cost that society incurs from violence against women is high. Gendercide has become an epidemic enacted through sex-selective abortions, female infanticide, and neglect and abuse of women throughout their lives. The result is a destabilizing gender imbalance in many countries—in India and China alone, men outnumber women by around 70 million. Furthermore, abuse of women has direct economic consequences, as it increases absenteeism and lowers productivity. Domestic violence is estimated to cost the United States $460 billion annually, more than any other crime. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this phenomenon, as reports of intimate partner violence have risen exponentially under mandatory lockdowns and quarantine.

COVID-19 has shone an uncompromising search light on global gender inequality, reminding us that gender discrimination has been undermining economic growth and wasting our human and planetary resources for far too long. The Gender Equality and Governance Index provides a scientifically evidence based, objectively verifiable diagnosis—now, action can no longer be delayed.

You can read the full report here.

1 Sen (1999), Development as Freedom, p. 191.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Authors

Amanda Ellis leads Global Partnerships for the exciting new ASU Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory. Previously New Zealand Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva (2013-16), Ms. Ellis also served as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy, playing a key role in New Zealand’s successful UN Security Council bid. The author of two best-selling Random House business books and five research titles on gender and growth in the World Bank Directions in Development series, Ms. Ellis is a founding member of the Global Banking Alliance for Women and the recipient of the TIAW Lifetime Achievement Award for services to women’s economic empowerment. She serves on a number of boards, including the Global Governance Forum.

Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Professor of Law, graduate of Yale Law School, and Founding Head of the Rackman Center at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, is a family law expert in both the civil legal system and traditional Jewish law, and has recently completed three terms as a member (twice Vice President) of the UN Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). She publishes on family law in Israel, legal pluralism, feminism and halacha, and international women’s rights; is a recipient of numerous national and international grants and prizes. Professor Halperin-Kaddari serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Governance Forum.

Augusto Lopez-Claros is Executive Director of the Global Governance Forum. He is an international economist with over 30 years of experience in international organizations, including most recently at the World Bank. For the 2018-2019 academic years Augusto Lopez-Claros was on leave from the World Bank as a Senior Fellow at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Previously he was chief economist and director of the Global Competitiveness Program at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where he was also the editor of the Global Competitiveness Report, the Forum’s flagship publication. Before joining the Forum he worked for several years in the financial sector in London, with a special focus on emerging markets. He was the IMF’s Resident Representative in Russia during the 1990s. Educated in England and the United States, he received a diploma in Mathematical Statistics from Cambridge University and a PhD in Economics from Duke University.

How to Step Up as a Leader in a Post-Pandemic World

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This blog is a guest post from Rita Jordan, it coordinates with Mary Jo Burchard’s interview titled Building Trust in Uncertainty: A Personal & Professional Journey that aired on Tuesday, April 6th, 2021.

 

The pandemic has brought a lot of challenges that businesses need to overcome — from disruptions in supply chain operations to remote working policies. A report from the World Economic Forum even highlights some major business apprehensions, including:

• Remote work’s impact on productivity
• Employee morale
• An increasing reliance on technology

And even once the pandemic ends, these concerns will remain. To overcome these challenges and even thrive despite them, leaders need to step up. But what kind of leadership will the post-pandemic world need?

You need to empathize

The pandemic has been a great threat to your employees’ wellbeing, whether that’s their physical or mental health. True enough, recent studies show that at least 34% of professionals in the country admit to feeling more burned out than usual. The uncertainties brought by the pandemic will continue to persist even when the worse is over. After all, who’s to say another year like 2020 won’t arrive?

That said, a post-pandemic leader knows how to make decisions while showing empathy. For example, if your team members are not feeling well, convince them to take a sick day. Offer assistance when they ask for it. If you can check in on them at least once a week, that would help, too.

You need to trust your team

Contrary to initial worries, remote working policies have been very beneficial for employee productivity. In fact, 67% of employees testify to getting more work done at home. As such, remote work will persist even after the pandemic.

But for a permanent remote setup to work, you need to be a leader that trusts their team. For instance, if you’re an operations manager, resist the urge to micromanage your employees to compensate for the distance. As one of the top careers in business administration, operations managers are the backbone of the company’s day-to-day operations. While overseeing teams is part of the responsibility, you should be more concerned about developing strategies to increase your department’s efficiency. The case is similar for sales managers, whose primary job is planning campaigns and not implementing them. Micromanaging in these instances will only cause unneeded stress.

Trust your team members to finish their tasks at their own pace, and be ready to guide them when needed. This not only empowers your individual team members, but it also lets you focus on what’s truly important.

You need to be tech-savvy

The pandemic may have accelerated its adoption, but digital transformation has been an increasingly crucial factor in the success of businesses.

For example, more customers are active online, which makes digital marketing an increasingly necessary part of your strategy. Office tools like CRM and AI can automate some of your processes, streamlining your operations. There’s even the advent of cloud technology, which lets you host data online. This can help you collaborate with your team much easier, which is especially useful in a time of remote work. Leaders need to know which technologies can help their teams or department function better.

If you want the business to thrive post-pandemic, you need to be a leader who’s willing to adapt. Learn how new technologies work and show your team extra attention. Circumstances may continue to be uncertain, but leaders know to cut through the noise and guide their teams to push past the fear.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Rita Jordan is a freelance writer and aspiring business owner, currently taking a Masters in marketing to fulfill said dream. She likes to read books and help her sister with art commissions when she has the time.

When Trust Is Frail: Trust-Building For Leaders

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This blog is provided by Mary Jo Burchard, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Building Trust in Uncertainty: A Personal & Professional Journey that aired on Tuesday, April 6th, 2021.

 

Trust is the decision to make something cherished vulnerable to the care of another. When you and your people trust each other – more specifically, when you trust your care for each other – everything you do together is just easier. There’s natural momentum in creativity, curiosity, innovation, and engagement, because suspicion creates drag in any authentic interaction. Building an environment where trust can flourish needs to be a key focus, as leaders and as human beings. Conscious, intentional transfer of vulnerability into each other’s care is the most crucial component of building a trust environment. This exchange creates a very special magic.

Trust is multi-dimensional, always evolving, and necessarily flows both ways. The trust experience can be observed and built-in six dimensions, as observed in the ASC-DOC Trust Model:

Authenticity – “I believe you mean what you say, and you have no hidden agenda.”

Safety – “Your speech and actions make me feel safe and protected, not threatened, defensive, or insecure.”

Consistency – “Your behaviors and responses are predictable; I know what I can expect from you.”

Dependability – “You keep your promises and honor confidentiality.”

Ownership – “You carry the weight of what happens to what I entrust to you.”

Competence – “You have the skills and experience necessary to do what’s expected.”

Upon your initial interaction, you and the other person begin to determine how much you are willing to trust each other in every dimension. The trust experience evolves, growing, or straining with each interaction. Therefore, assessing and building trust needs to be constant and intentional. Here are a few tips to keep trust progressing:

Your (in)ability to trust each other is not necessarily about character or maturity. Everyone enters the trust adventure with a history. Past disappointments, betrayals, personal failures, or lack of experience may make the trust journey more difficult. Especially as a leader, you may bear the brunt of previous leaders’ shortcomings. Resist the urge to interpret negative assumptions about your character or abilities as an attack. Become aware of your contribution to these trust challenges. Listen to each other’s stories, to learn how to mitigate fears and insecurities along the way, and discover how/why this time can be different. The most important gift you can give each other in this process is to assume that you intend good toward each other, and do not intend to cause one another harm.

Power and need do not guarantee trust. If someone needs you (whether as a parent, an employer, or leader), they will do what they must (vis: comply) to get you to meet their need. You cannot assume that their vulnerability/need and your power to address it will automatically translate into a trust relationship. If trust is not built, the best you can hope for is a consistent transactional arrangement. Building trust requires more than meeting needs; it requires letting people in. Your mutual decision to let each other in begins the trust adventure. How can you forge a relationship that brings out the highest and best in everyone, when a shared frame of reference is non-existent beyond surface transactional engagement?

  1. Be the first to model trust and vulnerability. Trust is risky, but if you have the upper hand, you can afford to risk first. When a trust connection is frail, commit in advance to be the first to trust wherever you can, based on the other person’s perceived capacity to handle it. Modeling trust and vulnerability makes room for the other person to do the same.
  2. Focus on the person. How comfortable and confident are they with you? Don’t skip to a solution or directive without pausing to really see and hear the other person. Pay attention to how they are engaging with you. Are they guarded? Distant? Confident? Emotional? Gauge your current rapport with them at this moment; don’t take it for granted.
  3. Ask for input and really listen. Don’t assume that a visible lack of trust is an accusation or assessment about you. The person in front of you has a story, and that story is the lens through which they interpret your interaction. Honor that story. What are they sensing, feeling, perceiving? How do these insights inform their behavior and responses? People respond to things impacting what’s important to them. What can you tell is important to them? How is it being impacted/at risk right now? What is happening at this moment that might explain why they are angry, scared, confused, or suspicious?
  4. Discover and validate current needs. What is making them feel vulnerable right now? Ask probing questions: “It sounds like you need [X]… how can I help?” “You seem [x]… how can I help?” Essential needs include physical and environmental dimensions, but they also transcend the obvious immediate needs. More than food, more than water or air, people need connection, to be seen and valued. Don’t forget to validate the human need to belong.
  5. Affirm trust already present. You know what they need, but what do they already trust you will deliver? How can you protect, reinforce, and continue to earn that trust?
  6. Intentionally build trust. How can you address their current needs and concerns? Get good at listening for clues about current needs. Confirm you understand what you hear and observe. Get creative at addressing these needs and keep adapting as the needs evolve.

Remember, if trust necessarily flows both ways, the other person is never the only one vulnerable. To model trust, you need to let them in. You cannot be authentic without examining your own willingness and ability to trust. Belonging, care, and trust must thrive together in you if you want to create an environment where trust is the norm.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Dr. MaryJo Burchard (Ph.D., Organizational Leadership) is convinced that our greatest depth and meaning often emerge from seasons of disappointment, surprises, and loss. Her own leadership approach has been shaped by the healing journey of their son, Victor, who was adopted from a Ukrainian orphanage. MaryJo’s research and consulting work focus on helping leaders and organizations stay humane and cultivate trust, especially in times of serious disruption and profound change.

What Collective Leadership Is and Isn’t

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This blog is a guest post from Erica Sunarjo, it coordinates with Mark Shapiro’s interview titled Disruption in America’s Favorite Pastime: MLB CEO Shares Insights that aired on Tuesday, March 30th, 2021.

 

What does the dominant approach to leadership research assume? It assumes that a single individual embodies all aspects of the leadership role within a team.

But does this approach fit the reality of the modern business world? No, it doesn’t. The vast majority of fast-growing modern companies are led by multiple individuals (both formal and informal leaders) who make strategic decisions altogether and motivate the team.

Today, we will discuss the basic aspects of collective leadership and compare them to traditional leadership. Let’s dive into the topic.

What is collective leadership, exactly?

In a nutshell, collective leadership can be defined as a group of people with diverse talents and expertise working together toward a shared goal. Collective leadership is associated with strong external and internal motivation. Sharing the same vision, collaborative leaders work enthusiastically and focus on achieving both short-term and long-term success.

In contrast to traditional leadership, collective leadership recognizes that accomplishing ambitious goals is impossible without diverse perspectives and contributions.

View of organization

Collective leadership is viewed as a process. An organization is viewed as a living system rather than a machine.

The success of the project is defined by the relationships among the parts of the system. Working together and taking advantage of each others’ expertise, collective leaders develop unique, innovative solutions that are unattainable for traditional leaders.

Structure

Traditional leadership is based on a pyramid organizational structure. In contrast to it, collective leadership represents a connected network structure.

Collective leaders do not obey each other. They don’t have a boss. They work together toward a shared goal, discuss their ideas openly, and don’t experience excessive pressure.

Marie Fincher, a leadership book writer and editor at best essay education website, shares her thoughts about collecting leadership: “In 2020, hierarchical organizations are doomed to failure. They lack the flexibility to adapt to fast-changing markets and technologies. If you want your company to thrive in the long-run, you should create a connected network structure and promote collective leadership.”

Decision making

Traditional organizations use a “top-down” approach to decision-making. Decisions are taken at the top of the pyramid and permeate down through layers of management.

Organizations that employ collective leadership make decisions in another way. Team members discuss various solutions with each other and greatly rely on the opinions of the experts in the niche.

Imagine there are four collective leaders: web designer, product manager, marketer, and customer support expert. They need to decide on building a new landing page. Who will be responsible for decision-making? All four of them. Whose opinion will influence the final decision the most? Opinions of the web designer and marketer because the landing page design relates to their field of expertise.

Assumptions about people’s capacity

Collective leadership has such an assumption about people’s capacity: people are inherently capable and can be trusted to complete the tasks. People don’t need to be told what to do.

Qualified professionals can do their jobs without supervision and without directions from the boss. A marketer can calculate the cost of an upcoming ad campaign. A writer can choose a topic to cover in the blog. A web designer can pick a font for the home page.

Talented marketers, writers, and web designers don’t need a leader – they can be leaders by themselves and make their project a success. They have enough skills and knowledge to deliver outstanding results, and the absence of the bossy leader only boosts their internal motivation.

Beliefs of how success is created

The traditional approach to leadership teaches us that one person has the skills or talent to create success. Collective approach makes us look at the success of an organization from another angle. Collective leadership shows us that success comes from the diversity and skills of many.

Let’s face it. There is no person in the world that knows the answers to all questions and can find solutions to any emerging problems. But there are teams of experts who can find the required answers and solutions really fast if they work together.

The collective approach to leadership is growing in popularity and for a good reason. Since the modern business world is getting more complex and fast-changing, it’s important to empower experts and give them more authority to adjust strategy.

Benefits of collective leadership

Collective leadership is beneficial for modern organizations:

  • It helps to enhance the decision-making process
  • Boosts motivation
  • Allows to realize the full potential of each team member
  • Helps to increased engagement

Are you ready to revisit your business strategy and change the approach to leadership in your organization? Write a new strategy that employs collective leadership principles, and you will lead your company to success. Feel free to use ClassyEssay or SupremeDissertations if writing help is needed.

Wrapping up

In the coming years, collective leadership will become a common practice. So don’t waste your precious time.  Become an innovative leader today – take a free leadership assessment and enroll in an online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Erica Sunarjo is a professional writer, translator, and editor with a Master’s degree in Marketing and Social Media. She writes thought-provoking articles for publications in a variety of media. She is a regular contributor writer at Subjecto. Even though she is an expert in numerous fields of business, Erica is always dedicated to learning new things. She actively visits conferences and takes online classes to keep her mind open to innovative ideas.

Photo by Kylie Haulk on Unsplash

The Power of a Learning Culture and How It Fits Into a Competitive Sports Environment

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This blog is provided by Mark Shapiro, President & CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Disruption in America’s Favorite Pastime: MLB CEO Shares Insights that aired on Tuesday, March 30th, 2021.

 

As I reflected back on this pandemic year, I came across an email I wrote to Blue Jays staff while I was on the unexpectedly early flight home from Spring Training in March of 2020, part of which read, “If only I could just pass on some wisdom or insight from experience that would provide simple guidance for navigating this challenge. But there is no past experience for any of us. We are in uncharted waters.”

Together – players, coaches, staff alike – we were facing an entirely new situation with no playbook. And yet, the Toronto Blue Jays prepared for and attacked a season at two (now three) different home ballparks, overcoming uncertainty, external doubt, and constant change, to compete against the best in the world, going from a 95-loss team to making the expanded 2020 playoffs.

How do you prepare an organization to perform at the highest level during a once-in-a-generation crisis scenario?

There is no playbook for something no one has experienced, but by fostering an organizational culture of learning, open-mindedness, and intentional growth, leaders can lay the groundwork to make their team an unstoppable force when adversity arises. The ultimate competitive advantage.

Our leadership team has strived for many years to create a learning culture, where regardless of where we each individually show up to work – whether that is a player walking on to the field, a coach working with a hitter in the cages, a baseball operations employee looking for competitive advantages by analyzing game data, or a ticket rep fielding phone calls from fans – we listen to those around us with an open intent to learn and improve.

There have been few moments where I, or one of the many talented people I work with, have an immediate answer to a problem we are trying to solve. As issues and important decisions have arisen, we bring different people and opinions together to listen and collaborate. I take great pride in knowing and believing that no matter how many experts we contact to help us solve a problem or learn something new, I will walk into Blue Jays stadiums, offices, and fields across North and Latin America with the confidence that I am just as likely to learn from members of our organization – at any and every level – as I am from professors at elite universities.

That commitment to keeping an open mind leads us to have the ultimate competitive advantage – a learning culture.

Our Blue Jays catcher, Danny Jansen, recently told a story on a podcast about doing game recall when he was a young prospect where a coach would ask him why he called each pitch, “as soon as you stop learning from this game, and doing things to better yourself, it’s going to spit you out; as a catcher, you are always learning.”

When a pitcher is struggling to develop a new pitch, seeking out feedback and analyses from different resources might spark a tweak for success.

When a marketing employee is stuck on a concept for a fan initiative, collaboratively inviting people from other parts of the organization might bring around the next big idea.

When an amateur scout is speaking with a high school coach, their curiosity might uncover an overlooked prospect.

Our shared commitment to learn, get better, trust, and respect those around us, helps bring competitive advantage opportunities that might have been lost in a fixed mindset.

From border restrictions to COVID-testing protocol, I could spill a lot of ink sharing the unfathomable number of challenges that needed to be solved for this year. Like every other public facing organization, the list of questions was significantly longer than we had solutions for, with fans, players, families, staff, partners, media, and so many more, needing answers.

But to be a competitor, to be the best at anything you do, is to be constantly looking for ways to learn and improve. And by fostering a learning culture, our players and people already had the tools they needed without a playbook, to rise to the challenge at the highest level.

We have all been forced to live outside out of our comfort zones and to adapt to a new way of working this year. It would be easy to throw in the towel or use the overwhelming challenges as excuses for underperforming. But by taking ownership of a situation and approaching each moment as a growth opportunity, we can collaboratively find solutions and get better incrementally.

Even outside of a crisis, the competitive advantage gained by pulling together and building upon our experience, intellect, and skillsets enables us to bridge any resource gaps to compete against the best in the world.

An open mind and learning culture are better than any road map a leader can provide.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Over a career that spans 28 seasons, Mark Shapiro is one of the rare executives in Major League Baseball that has had the opportunity to lead and impact baseball, business, and league operations. Widely considered one of MLB’s top executives, he was appointed as President & CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays in November 2015, following 24 seasons within the Cleveland Indians organization.

Following both the 2005 and 2007 seasons, Shapiro was named the Sporting News “Executive of the Year,” at the time the only active GM in MLB to win the award twice. In 2005 he was also named “Executive of the Year” by Baseball America, and after the 2006 season, the Indians organization was named “Organization of the Year” by TOPPS for the first time. In 2007, Mark was named to the elite “40 under 40” by Sports Business Journal, as well as being listed on Baseball America’s “10 to Watch” list.

Photo by Mike Bowman on Unsplash