25 Sept 2018
What we say and how we say it affects the culture at work. I recently went to collect an order at a furnishing store and the staff could not find it. When the manager came over to apologise, he said: ‘I don’t know what’s happened. Maybe one of my staff has done something they shouldn’t, and I need to slap them.’
I don’t think he meant it literally, but the image of management by ‘slapping’ was enough to tell me why the store seemed an unhappy and inefficient place. Delivering a verbal slap would be sure to shut off the recipient’s cooperation. It would send their brain into ‘fight, flight, freeze or appease’ mode, and the willingness to learn and do the job better next time would be lost. Continue reading
25 July 2018
The very notion of leadership is shifting. Where once leaders behaved as individualistic ‘heroes on the rock’, none can now pretend to do it all alone. The pace of change and the complexity of global challenges require leaders at every level of society. The democratisation of work in the digital age also means that the young can jump into leadership without serving years in an organisation.
What qualities, then, make for effective leaders in this new world of work? Here I focus on four that are interdependent, and increasingly important: inclusiveness; openness; self-knowledge; and inspiring communication. Continue reading
13 May 2018
Women are often given the message that, if only they were more assertive and confident, they would be able to grab those leadership roles more easily. But, as I explain in this column, new research shows that encouraging women to mimic alpha male behaviour is not the way to propel them into top jobs, and that organisations need to adopt a different approach.
18 March 2018
A century after the start of women’s suffrage in Britain, we still cannot take women’s hard-won rights for granted. I explain why, and what the implications are, in this column.
26 January 2018
What can we do to change how ‘power’ is perceived? The question is made even more urgent in the face of widespread accusations of abuse by men in positions of power – the latest being the repugnant antics revealed by the FT at the men-only Presidents Club charity dinner in London. These follow a spate of revelations about abusive behaviour from Hollywood to the Houses of Parliament.
Here’s my column on Seven ideas to change how power looks
14 Nov 2017 As recent events have highlighted, the gender divide at work is a continuing concern, and one that holds back economic progress. Does the future of work signal positive change? Will digital transformation narrow the gender gap in pay, the representation of women in key economic sectors, and women’s access to leadership roles, or could it have the opposite effect? I explore the potential on either side in this column, first published by IWE, and look at what measures should be taken.
24 Oct 2017 Newsweek has just published a thoroughly researched and readable report, Achieving Results: Diversity & Inclusion Actions with Impact, by specialist consultants Veronika Hucke and Lisa Kepinski. There’s a section on flexibility at work, and an interview I gave them on ‘Agile Work as a Business Enabler’ (page 32). The report provides an excellent perspective on the strategic (instead of piecemeal) approach needed to make corporate cultures more inclusive and enable businesses to draw on the strengths of all their people.
17 Oct 2017 In this column I write about the importance of humility in leaders, and why, despite being out of fashion, it is a key ingredient for long-term success.
First published by IWE, September 2017
24 August 2017 The devastating Grenfell Tower fire in London revealed ignorance of the vast divide between rich and poor in Britain’s ‘advanced economy’. If we know little about the everyday struggles and dangers of people in our neighbourhoods, what does that say about our knowledge of life in other parts of the world? And what can we do to overcome our blind spots to put greater pressure on policy-makers to close the divide?
You can read my full column here.
11 May 2017 In my latest IWE column, I write about the continuing discriminatory practice of obliging women to wear high heels at work, and some useful ways of tackling it.