For the past few decades, companies have put substantial effort and major investment into creating diverse cultures. But why then do we still have so much inequality in senior leadership positions? Why do we still have slogans such as ‘me too’ or ‘black lives matter’? It should be common sense by now for everyone to support fairness, whilst respecting individual differences. The problem lies in that, whilst we believe and support equality, deep down we still hold those unconscious biases that make us stereotype people into groups. Negatively stereotyping people is not a harmless joke though, it can lead to serious consequences. In this blog, I want to address some of those negative effects caused by stereotype threat and the solutions that organisations should be working towards.
As a third of the world has gone into lock-down mode, I can’t help but wonder how our ancestors survived and bounced back from so many other pandemics, wars, famines, crises, you name it. The reality is that humans have a huge capacity for survival, which leads to revival. This applies to both individuals as well as organisations. At times of crisis, it’s not the most intelligent nor the most ambitious who survive, but the most resilient. In other words, those with the capacity to be strong under a stressful and changing environment. That’s true in a war, in the coronavirus world and in the boardroom.
Who would have expected us to be avoiding mass gatherings, restaurants, be working from home and be quarantined all together just a few months ago? Who would have guessed that financial markets would plunge so dramatically and toilet rolls would become our most precious assets? Since the outbreak of COVID-19, our lives are really turning upside down, and there’s not much that we can do about it but follow the guidelines that the authorities and experts are suggesting or, in some cases, imposing on us.
However, it’s not all bad news, it shouldn’t be. If you look at things from a more positive lens, instead of being glued to the news reading about this outbreak 24/7, there are plenty of things that you could “catch-up” with, whilst waiting for this situation to be normalised.
It has been only a few months since celebrations were held around the world to mark the 50th anniversary of the first landing of humans on the moon, with Neil Armstrong’s “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. Shortly after pronouncing those historic words, Armstrong, at the peak of his fame, decided to leave NASA. Unlike many fellow astronauts, he did not swap his spacesuit for a seat in Corporate America or in Congress. Instead, he accepted a teaching position as an Engineering professor at university. Whilst we will never know the deep motivations of his choice, it is not unreasonable to think they had something to do with his personality.
Why is trust such an essential ingredient at work? We’ve all been in conflicting situations where we’ve wished we could master the art of being seen as trustworthy. Whether it’s gaining trust over a colleague, willing to gain the trust of our subordinates or imposing a company culture that allows employees to speak up, trust is the basis of effective communication and productive conflicts. The reason trust is so important is because it underpins everything else we’re trying to accomplish in an effective team. But how can we build trust in the workplace? The strategy used will vary depending on the situation. Below I’ve written three different scenarios where trust can be built in different ways.
It’s no secret that with all the economical and political uncertainty out there, the job market is becoming tougher and tougher, both for those who are out of job at the moment and for those who do have a job but not their dream job. This is not necessarily bad news, for us coaches, as it keeps the demand for some career support rather high. However, I feel that many coaches forget to set expectations at the beginning of the coaching relationship with their clients, which leads to confusion, frustration and a huge disappointment at the end of the sessions for both. Therefore, I thought I’d point out some common misinterpretations people have about coaching, which leads to unrealistic expectations from coaches: