‘The importance of Gender Diversity at workplace’ is one of those issues that are often spoken about in conferences, reiterated in survey findings, and yet seldom are a priority unless there is a mandatory obligation for companies to comply with.
With the exception of a handful of countries such as Norway, New Zealand, Iceland, Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, Philippines, women are generally under-represented in the corporate sector in a large number of countries all over the world.
Even in the Tech companies that are known to promote employee friendly culture, diversity remains an issue. Google admittedly has a gender gap, so has Facebook. LinkedIn, too would like to improve its gender diversity numbers says the company’s Vice President of global talent, Pat Wadors. Twitter was criticized for filing the I.P.O. without a single woman on the board, subsequent to which it appointed Marjorie Scardino as the first woman director to its board.
What impedes gender parity at workplaces?
Among the factors that hinder gender parity at workplaces, ‘Cultural Inertia’ emerges as a predominant reason that holds back the adoption of gender diversity practices.
‘Mostly leaders are born. Some inherit leadership. Some come by default.’ These statements coming from an acquaintance on social media induced me to write this post.
When we think of leadership, traits such as charisma, authority, courage, oratory skills easily and instinctively come to our mind. These qualities are associated with great leaders or inspirational figures such as Margaret Thatcher, M. K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr.or Churchill and most these seem to be inborn qualities.
It goes without saying that not all of us can have the style, presence or oratory skills of these great historical figures. Just like some people are gifted singers, while many others struggle to strike the right notes, some people are naturally bestowed with a charismatic persona, while others are not.
Does it mean that in absence of inborn leadership traits, one cannot be a leader? Let us dig into it a bit more. Here I list down 8 key traits of leaders, in an attempt to identify which of these leadership skills can be developed. . .
1. Clarity of Purpose
A purpose can change a life from ordinary to extraordinary.
Only an individual with clarity of purpose can inspire, motivate and align people with his vision. This key leadership quality can be attributed to a great extent to the situations that a person is exposed to and how one reacts to them. Some people, albeit a few, find their calling at a young age. However, for most of us, it may take ages to figure out what the purpose in life is and many of us may never find it at all.
This, however, is not a reason to fret about. Read more
Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.
If you can improve your decisions by observing the bad decisions made by others, you are gifted beyond doubt!
However, the fact remains that out of all the decisions that we make at each and every stage of our life and in our career, only some are good choices. We are all likely to make bad decisions at some point or the other.
Well, it is more definitely more comforting to know that you can put your bad decisions to good use by learning from them. Enhancing your ability to make better decisions should go a long way in improving your personal life as well as your efficiency and productivity at work.
Let’s have a go at how to learn from the bad choices that you may have made in the past.
The first step towards learning from your past decisions is to realize
Not all your bad decisions are mistakes.
Differentiating between a bad decision and a mistake
At times, you are faced with situations where you do not have a clue what the best choice might be. You may have to respond very quickly and may not have enough time to gather information. In such situations, you bank on your intuitions to arrive at conclusions and take the necessary actions.
But then, intuitions are also hardwired with cognitive biases, which substantially influence your thinking. While the use of intuitions certainly helps you to make your choices quickly and rather implicitly, it can at times, lead to errors in your decisions.
Alternately, there would be situations where you would have made the wrong choice in spite of knowing that it is not really the right thing to do, but you took the risk believing that you will get away with it.
Continuing the discussion from my last post on how Employee Engagement can create business value, here I will write about how organizations can implement a range of workplace strategies to increase the levels of engagement. In this post we look at some best practices relevant to all types of organizations, though the nuances and implementation will vary from setting to setting.
Meaningful work and clarity of objectives
Having a meaningful job is the most important factor that affects levels of engagement for all employee groups. Employees, who are able to relate their tasks to a broader context and feel that they can make a difference have positive perceptions about their work. Where employees can see the impact of their work on the organization or on the customers or on society in general, the level of motivation and engagement are higher.
Work can be made meaningful by
Assigning jobs to individuals based on their ability and attitude.
Communicating to the employee how the job adds value to the organization and fits into the overall objective of the organization.
Senior management communication style and vision
Senior Management can achieve higher levels of engagement by linking the desired organization outcomes to measurable performance drivers. The manner in which a firm’s management structure the organization, shape up the culture and people practices, and create incentives for their employees defines the firm’s ability to use its people to differentiate and compete.
Communication from senior management about organization’s vision and objectives helps employees to understand the overall purpose of the organization and see a bigger picture in their daily work.
Employees’ level of engagement and other work responses are affected by their perceptions of management style. Read more
What prompted me to write this post was a discussion on a Linked In group about the role of ‘Chief Inspiration Officer’ in an organization in inspiring employees and creating an engaged workforce. The fancy title caught my attention and I followed through the discussion. As always, the discussion had people with different viewpoints. While some thought that this is absolutely the ‘wave’ of the future, others were not very optimistic about the prospect for such a title. However the objective of writing this post is not to elaborate on the role of ‘Chief Inspiration Officer’. I will instead talk about the need for employee engagement at work.
It is a well accepted and often reiterated statement that for any business to be successful, it should be able to successfully execute its business strategy, not only once, but over and over again. To be competitive in the long run, every business needs to repeatedly do something that appeals to its customers. It also needs to possess some unique resources that continue to give the business an edge over its competitors. Such competencies and resources that are valuable, rare and inimitable render a sustained competitive advantage to an organization.
Though most organizations claim that their people are the source of their competitive advantage, but we know for a fact that only a few organizations succeed in effectively leveraging the intellectual capital and unique abilities of their employees to achieve extraordinary results. Creating and delivering value on a sustainable basis, calls for the presence of engaged workforce in an organization.
What does ‘Employee Engagement’ mean?
Employee engagement is defined as: ‘employees willingly contributing to the work while putting in intellectual effort, experiencing positive emotions at work and making meaningful connections to others at the workplace [[i]]. Read more
Collaborative attitude vs. individual brilliance has always been a matter of debate. The subject elicits different responses depending on the socio-cultural context.
Countries like Japan,with team driven culture, have made remarkable progress in technology, thanks to their collaborative attitude. The American system and the European systems have been able to drive innovation with the help of their educational and legal frameworks that allow for collaboration between various people, encourage out of the box thinking and risk taking.
In the Indian society though individual brilliance is highly admired, but team working skills do not receive the desired consideration. Read more
Very few people will dispute the fact that managing expectations is critical to the success of any relationship, be it a business relationship, a professional relationship, or a personal relationship. A business that manages to balance the customers’ expectations with its product/service emerges successful. On the other hand, a business that fails to live up to the expectations of the customers, loses its customers to the competitors. At work, employees are rated on how often they exceed expectations, meet expectations or fail to meet expectations.
Managing expectations does not imply giving in to all the wishes of your clients or managers which you may think of as unreasonable, but it is about being objective, subtly putting across your views, setting the right expectations, communicating those expectations, and meeting the expectations. At work people need to manage expectations at different levels to ensure that their efforts are directed towards the desired outcomes and their performance gets noticed. As such those who can manage expectations well are often more productive at work.