Working with career minded, talented women Catherine J. Woodman has discovered three common internal challenges: confidence, finding voice, and fatigue.
Every April I’m awestruck by those tough little daffodils appearing amid snow and slush. Seemingly fragile they break through the harsh, cold winter earth and emerge with yellow smiles and spirited vibrancy. What comes to mind is resilience. Resilience – ability to quickly recover and maintain positive functioning despite stress and change.
Resilience is tenacity, fortitude and agility. Thoughtful parents strive to instill these characteristics in our children knowing they’ll be needed during inevitable harsh, cold life challenges.
For years, employers have been hearing that three generations in the workplace is a recipe for disaster. We’ve been told they all have different requirements and approaches to work, particularly Gen Y, otherwise known as Millennials. And woe to those organizations that are unable or unwilling to understand and address those needs.
Employee engagement has headlined top business blogs and articles for over a decade and although we are making some inroads, many employers and managers still don’t understand what engagement is—let alone how it can impact their bottom line. Top 500 firms in North America do, however, tend to be more in tune with the benefits of an engaged workforce; namely decreased turnover and significantly increased client satisfaction, revenue, earnings per share and profit (up to 2.5 times that of competitors with low engagement).
The role of women in the workforce has changed dramatically over the last 40 years. Yet challenges exist for aspiring female leaders, as women are persistently underrepresented in the highest levels of organizations. A study by Catalyst suggests that among the Fortune 500 Executive Officer positions, only 14.6% are held by women. And, rather than continuing to grow, this number has stagnated in recent years.
There is almost always a palpable sense of fear when an organization decides to conduct an employee engagement survey for the first time. What if my employees are unhappy with the leadership of the organization? What if my employees feel under compensated or overworked? Employee engagement surveys, if developed appropriately, should assess a host of different areas across an organization, including leadership effectiveness, career development opportunities, work-life balance, and job design.
Providing coaching to high potential employees has come to be seen as a must in many high performance companies. Many leaders who want to differentiate themselves and enhance their contribution to the organization enlist a coach to help them achieve their potential and make their mark on an organization’s success.
Leaders often see the end of the calendar year as a time of planning and fiscal review. This comes naturally to most leaders. However, what does not, or is often not welcomed, is the most dreaded component of the talent cycle – annual performance reviews. It harbours fear in some of the most seasoned leaders, offering relief only when it is ‘finally over.’ On occasion, I have met leaders who have embraced and mastered the talent management agenda.
Leaders often preach the importance of constructive feedback but do we practice it? Corporate communications, job descriptions, engagement surveys, and even corporate values all point to the significance of feedback and yet we rarely provide it and when we do, it is often not done well. We even go so far as to let someone go so we don’t have to give them honest, constructive feedback. So what makes it so hard? In countless sessions I have given on feedback the overriding concern remains the same – “I don’t want to hurt them.” Sadly, not giving feedback will hurt them even more.
Insights for enhancing CEO succession through a stronger board leadership
By: Courtney Pratt, Chairman, Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions and Audra August, Principal, CEO Succession & Advisory Services