One of the biggest challenges facing leaders today is meeting fatigue and the epidemic of unproductive meetings. When you ask any leader about their calendar these days, the response is often, "My calendar is unmanageable." It's not just back-to-back meetings, but sometimes two or even three meetings happening at a time.
Some leaders find themselves juggling multiple screens and logins, taking multitasking to the next level, but is it really?
In my own corporate experience, I spent hours upon hours in meetings, but I had an executive assistant who could help protect some small slivers of time each week on my calendar.
With the ever-increasing speed of change and the rising expectations for urgency, how can leaders be at their best? They plow through the day, switching contexts like crazy, leaving little room for actual work…or leadership!
As companies require their leaders to bring new thinking to the table, keep up with emerging trends and technologies that significantly impact strategy, and lead differently to meet the new expectations of a post-COVID workforce, leaders struggle to find a moment for a bathroom break or lunch.
Of course, we all have the opportunity to hold ourselves more accountable for our own time, our most precious resource. I've recommended and walked leaders through tools like the Eisenhower matrix, "start/stop/continue", and time tracking. These excellent approaches enhance focus, prioritize tasks, and manage time better. However, we've reached a point where companies need to more actively support their leaders in these efforts and in breaking the meeting culture.
We can delve into what's holding us back from setting boundaries or saying no. Still, it's less effective if leaders aren't provided with encouragement or examples of how to do this.
I've spent the last three weeks with three different clients in three states, discussing various leadership topics. The common theme that emerged across all these leaders' experiences and occupied the minds of everyone I spoke to was TIME — specifically, finding time on their calendars to do more: more of what's expected, more of what their teams need, and more of what makes them feel fulfilled and alive.
How can I find time in my day to lead ...and lead like I really want to? The desire to lead with intention is there, but stepping off the hamster wheel and making that desire a reality is incredibly challenging.
Shopify recently confronted this problem head-on by installing a calendar app to track the number of hours spent in meetings and their associated costs. By simply being aware of this data, they are on track to save $322,000 in meeting time costs in the first year alone.
During a discussion and facilitated brainstorming session about strategic priorities this week, one of my clients decided to focus on meeting and email overload as a strategy in itself!
Sometimes, awareness is all that's needed to drive change. Leaders are crying out for help as they feel conflicted, unprepared, and unsupported in giving their best in today's workplace. If we ask leaders to lead differently in this ever-changing world, organizations need to do something different to support them and their teams in this endeavor.
Support them in pushing back, support them in changing the trajectory of where we're headed, and support them in prioritizing the true value they bring to the table.
Here are four actions to consider in the fight against meeting fatigue at your organization:
What other ideas do you have to help leaders dig out of the meeting culture of today?
If you are ready to navigate these challenges and invest in your leaders, let’s connect.
A new era of female leadership in a post-pandemic era is dawning!
The pandemic disrupted economies and livelihoods, impacting women disproportionately and leading to what became known as the ‘She-cession’. But now, women are returning to the workforce with unprecedented determination, according to the latest statistics from the Labor Department. June marked a historic milestone in the United States, seeing the highest number of women actively seeking jobs. Statistics have increased vs. last year for women holding board seats and women CEOs, as well.
This progress is inspiring, but there's still more to be done. How do we further advance these statistics and help develop female leadership in a post-pandemic era to even greater heights?
The answer lies in executive leadership coaching, a powerful "secret weapon" that can transform the trajectory of female leadership. Coaching provides a tailored and focused approach to unlocking a leader's true potential in an era where authenticity and impact are differentiators.
The journey of development begins with clarity. Coaching helps women leaders connect with purpose-driven goals, clarify what they want, and feel confident about their action plans to get there. Whether it's attaining a board seat or becoming a CEO, setting precise goals provides a roadmap for success.
Leadership is an evolving skill set; coaching provides a unique platform for honing these abilities. Through personalized guidance, women leaders can identify areas of strength and areas for growth. Whether it's effective communication, strategic thinking, or decision-making, coaching supports skill refinement that's tailored to the individual.
Confidence is a cornerstone of leadership impact, especially female leadership in a post-pandemic era. Many women face internal barriers like imposter syndrome or self-doubt that can hinder their progress. Coaching addresses these challenges head-on, fostering self-assurance and helping leaders step into their roles with unwavering confidence.
Challenges are inevitable on the path to leadership. Women leaders encounter various obstacles, from navigating complex corporate dynamics to addressing biases. Coaching equips them with strategies to overcome adversity, build resilience, and maintain a sustained focus on their goals
Coaching also extends beyond one-on-one interactions. It creates a support network, connecting women leaders with like-minded individuals with similar aspirations. This sense of community can be invaluable in providing guidance, sharing experiences, and celebrating achievements.
The re-entry of women into the workforce post-pandemic presents a unique opportunity to reshape leadership landscapes. By empowering women through executive coaching, we can amplify the impact of women leaders, ensuring their voices are heard and their contributions are recognized.
Are you ready to harness the power of coaching to develop and empower female leadership in a post-pandemic era in your organization?
If so, I invite you to reach out to me to explore the right development opportunities for your organization.
It is incredible how leadership has evolved over the years. Gone are the days when dominance and intelligence were the most commonly used words to describe leadership. In 2023, we are witnessing a shift towards qualities like empathy, collaboration, and adaptability, which are redefining successful leadership. As someone who has experienced the corporate world firsthand, I understand the importance of developing caring, effective leaders who can drive both personal growth and business results. Let's explore gender differences in leadership styles and how inclusive leadership is the key to creating a thriving workplace and a desired culture.
One striking manifestation of gender differences in leadership communication is the phenomenon known as "mansplaining." Many men assert dominance and power through their speech, while women typically communicate to build connections. A study conducted at George Washington University found that men interrupted women a whopping 33% more often than they interrupted their fellow men. Additionally, 46 out of 48 interruptions came from the man in one-on-one conversations between a man and a woman.
These aren't the only studies that shed light on how gender can influence leadership behavior in the workplace. Women have been found to downplay their abilities when their achievements are made public, while men seem to consistently rate their performance similarly in both public and private settings. Even more recent is the research done by Dave Dunning at Cornell University that found when experiencing failure, men have a tendency to respond using external attribution, while females use internal attribution, often blaming themselves.
In the book "STFU: The Power of Keeping Your Mouth Shut in an Endlessly Noisy World," author Dan Lyons examines the differences between men and women in communication styles and provides practical strategies for leaders to become better listeners.
It is essential that we become more aware of these dynamics and foster a workplace where everyone's voice is respected and heard and inclusivity thrives.
Here's the deal: if we want to foster inclusivity and create a thriving workplace, we must invest in leadership development. It's our responsibility to equip leaders with the skills and knowledge to navigate the complex workplaces of today.
By understanding gender differences in leadership and implementing strategies to address them, leaders can create a more inclusive environment. Here are three key strategies:
By moving away from outdated male traits and behaviors, such as dominance and 'mansplaining,' and embracing care, empathy, and inclusivity, leaders can foster an environment where every voice is valued and heard. Leadership development plays a crucial role in cultivating inclusive leadership.
I invite you to reach out to me to learn more about custom leadership development workshops tailored to your organization's unique needs. Let's invest in our leaders today to create a brighter, more inclusive future.
I don’t know about you, but this Thanksgiving was the first time since 2019 we could have the extended family together. Our celebration included 50 family members – aunts, uncles, and cousins – together in close quarters, sharing stories, laughter, and hugs. We were all in a room together… without masks! It felt like a renewed spirit of family and connection.
Because so much time had passed since our last gathering, it did take some time to “break the ice.” We had to intentionally work to increase the comfort level and rebuild the connection with extended family we hadn’t seen in a while.
We all needed time and space to symbolically remove our (COVID) masks and create space to step into our authentic selves. Reflecting on this experience highlighted the importance of authenticity and reminded me of how often this topic has come up in my work recently, especially in my work with self-aware leaders.
I recently asked a group of leaders – “What do you believe builds trust most quickly within a team?” Their answer? Authenticity.
But when it comes to being authentic, we often get it wrong – thinking “being authentic” always equates to “feeling comfortable.”
HBR published information about the authenticity paradox – digging into how feeling like you’re “faking it” can signify growth. Contrary to popular belief, genuine authenticity is about vulnerability and self-awareness, often requiring leaders to step out of their comfort zone.
What does the authenticity paradox look like in practice? Navigating the desire to be your “true self” when at the office while also recognizing that you are a work in progress that can (and should) grow and evolve to meet your organization's and team's changing needs.
As their careers advance, many leaders are challenged to elevate their leadership contributions in expanded or new roles. It’s at this moment that we must fight the urge to retreat to familiar behaviors and styles that feel authentic but are actually a step back. Growth often requires leaders to live in discomfort, being willing to create a new authenticity that reflects their expanded skills and responsibilities.
So many of us buy into the myth that authentic leaders have unwavering confidence in who they are. We believe it’s a sign that we are not authentic if we show signs of weakness, self-doubt, or discomfort. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Authentic leaders commit to learning more about themselves. They are vulnerable in sharing their mistakes and humble in their willingness to learn as they go.
I’ve noticed the importance of self-aware authenticity even more lately. These days, the new normal includes hybrid work schedules with remote teams and physically disconnected colleagues. With the leaders and teams I work with, on the rare occasion that teams come together in person, they need time to “remove the mask” and step into their authenticity. Everyone needs a little space before they are prepared to let themselves be seen and connect with one another.
Removing the mask takes courage and intentionality.
Leaders need the space to recognize the disconnect and the courage to stay open in the discomfort, so we can ultimately bring our best to the office and the teams we lead!
Interested in helping your leaders remove their masks and understand the crucial importance of self-aware, vulnerable authenticity?
I work directly with leadership teams to develop the soft skills required to succeed in the ever-changing landscape of today’s modern workplace.