As you may know from previous postings, my graduate students and I are currently conducting a study on Courage and HR. A fascinating theme we have encountered is "Honest Challenge": The idea is that HR professionals (and, in particular leaders) need to be ready and willing to tell the truth. HR professionals are courageous when they go against the flow, when they honestly express their ideas, not only to leaders but also to peers. In this quick "flash learning" video, Dr. Wildermuth explains the problem and asks two questions:
Next week, I'm honored to speak at the Iowa SHRM Conference in Des Moines, Iowa (October 9-11, 2019). My topic: Effective Intercultural Development Practices. In the video below, I offer a brief preview of my presentation.
I hope you can come to the conference, though, as I'll go far more in-depth "in person!" If you are coming to the Iowa SHRM Conference, please come say hello!
Is HR courageous?
This is the question I ask HR professionals this week. With the invaluable help of two Drake University students, I am currently analyzing hundreds of responses on the importance of courage for HR professionals. I will present the findings at the International Leadership Association Conference in Ottawa, Canada, 24-27 October.
I go to the ILA every year and get a lot of energy from my colleagues in leadership. I have met fellow researchers, learned new models, and enhanced my teaching through the ILA. I am super excited to go and feel honored to be presenting! If you are also attending the ILA conference, please let me know, I would love to meet you while I'm there.
For more information on the ILA Conference visit THIS PAGE or click on the image below.
In the video below, I share our preliminary findings on the importance of courage. I also share an elegant moral behavior model by renowned moral psychologist Dr. James Rest.
Have you ever felt at a "dead end job"? By "dead end," I do not necessarily mean a job where you could not get promoted. I mean a job where you stopped learning.
As I conduct research for the book I plan to write on The Meaningful Leader® I often ask people to think of their "moments of disengagement." The way I refer to these moments is the time in which "you lost the light in your eye." It may not surprise you to hear that many of the stories I hear are about lousy managers - people who overreact to mistakes, lose control, ignore the needs of their employees and, even more commonly (and sadly) expect employees to leave their integrity and values at home.
A common theme, however, has to do with the loss of growth and hope. People feel like they have nothing else to give, nothing else to fight for. A common theme is boredom.
Helping followers grow is a key part of a leader's job. So can you help your follower grow? Here are a few ideas:
A final consideration as you help your followers grow: Avoid the control trap. Micromanagers, by definition, do not support their followers' development. When you micromanage, you send a powerful message of lack of trust and fear of failure.
Here is the question of the week: Think of a leader you had who helped you grow. You may consider a leader from your personal or professional life. What did this person do that was so powerful? What can you learn from your experience?
This week, our topic is Leading for Fit - helping our followers reach the best possible match between their jobs and their unique characteristics: talents, experiences, values, personality, etc. Watch the video, below, introducing the main concept. Then, enjoy some of the resources for further learning below!
The question of the week is: Does your organization include alternative routes or paths for success?
Last week, I discussed the problem caused by silos in the organization. When we work in silos, we fail to cooperate and fall into a competition "default." A related topic is information sharing.
Why might people not share information at work? There are various possible reasons:
Engaging or meaningful leaders do not leave good communications to chance. Instead, they:
I recently analyzed data from one of my own engagement surveys. The data set included 683 responses. I found positive and significant relationships between all components of engagement and answers to the items above. The overall correlation between the average of those items and engagement was .453.
In other words, leaders perceived to be good listeners, openly share information, encourage employees to do the same, and overall promote a culture of transparency were more likely to have an engaged team. I measured the following components of engagement:
A caveat: As you may remember from the last course you took in Statistics (even if you took it many moons ago), correlation does not mean cause. I am not saying that open communications cause engagement - instead, my data suggest a relationship between a culture of transparency and open-communications environment and the employees' energy, focus, passion, role expansion, and pride. Here are a few possible reasons:
This week, therefore, I have two questions for our community:
Try assigning a task to two or three teams in a training room. The task does not matter. You could ask people to build a structure to protect a city from (enter whatever catastrophe you can think of), solve a puzzle, or answer a set of questions. Whatever the challenge, teams are not likely to collaborate with each other. At most, you'll succeed in inter-team collaboration - and that is, if you are lucky and engage in some reasonable preparation.
Human beings are wired to prefer members of their teams. We feel comfortable inside our boxes, even if said boxes are recent (for example, even if we had not met the members of our team before). The problem: Members of effective organizations must work towards a common purpose. Meaningful leaders, therefore, are able to break silos. They encourage their team members to work well with their team members and to collaborate with others.
Here is my question this week: What are some effective interventions to encourage collaboration? What have you seen that works?
We often dicuss the importance of trust in the workplace and for good reason. Without trust, everything would need to be double and triple checked. Efficiency would disappear - and so would innovation.
Trust, however, is not blind. You should not trust me, for example, to handle the financial health of your organization - not because I lack integrity but because I know nothing about finances and would be the world's worst CFO. It's also perfectly reasonable to double check on the work of a very inexperienced intern learning the ropes of something new.
In this brief video, I share five components of trust: Benevolence, authenticity, reliability, fairness, and competence. This video is the first in a series of discussions on Meaningful Leadership - a collection of competencies that help forge an engaging environment for all employees.
Please share your experiences! Have you observed the five components of trust I mention in the video?
In the wake of the heartbreaking mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, I asked Linked:HR members to follow Dr. Margaret Wheatley's advice and create an "Island of Sane Behavior." Watch the invitation below and share your comments. How can we create an environment of trust, safety, and acceptance, when the world around us is going crazy?
In this very brief "flash learning style" vlog, I explain why personality at work matters and what it has to do with psychological safety, the feeling that one can bring one's whole self to work. I hope you enjoy it! Please comment! In your experience, does understanding personality enhance psychological safety?
One thing that occurs to me as I review my video is that there could be a "dark side" to the use of personailty in organizations: When personality testing becomes a weapon rather than a tool for success. Please:
Dr. Cris Wildermuth
Dr. Cris Wildermuth is Linked:HR's Community Leader and an Associate Professor at Drake University, where she directs the Master of Science in Leadership Development. You may find out more about Dr. Wildermuth's leadership development, ethics, and intercultural development consulting practice at THIS PAGE.