There is no steeper learning curve in leadership than your very first frontline leadership position. Perhaps the only comparable experience in terms of needing to hit the ground running and quickly close skills gaps is in parenting. Many first-time management experiences parallel first time parenting. Here are 10 of my favorite similarities:
As the first wave of Gen Z graduates from college and enters the workforce, it seems as though the discussions about how we’ll deal with the entitled millennial generation is dying down. Are the needs of millennials old news or are have we just grown tired of making the whole generation a scapegoat for every bad encounter we have with new entrants into the workforce? My hope is that we’re just tired of the same tired rhetoric, because if we’ve forgotten about the core needs of this cohort, we’re set for a rude awakening.
If you Google the phrase “a Bachelor’s Degree is…” the first two autocomplete options are “…is worthless” and “…is not enough.” While these two choices seem mutually exclusive, the truth is they’re not. And they’re both accurate. I worked my way through grad school as a recruiter and experienced first hand how often hiring managers overemphasize the need for a Bachelor’s Degree. More often than not, there were no work tasks that required any higher education whatsoever, let alone completion of the degree. When I pushed back on the requirement, what I often heard was that managers were looking for … Read More
Last week I attended a local networking group for leaders from various industries. At each meeting, they invite a speaker to kick off the meeting by sharing their thoughts on a specific aspect of leadership. There was nothing particularly earth-shattering or edgy about the presentation. It was mostly about how leaders must spend time cultivating relationships, developing trust, and maintaining a healthy workplace culture to drive higher performance and engagement from team members. It was all pretty basic and universally accepted, but the speaker did have some unique ideas about specific things a leader can do to create connections, so … Read More
As we near the mid-way point for the year, many organizations are conducting employee engagement surveys to address satisfaction, productivity, and retention issues. Ironically, the employee engagement survey experience is typically less than engaging. Employees receive an email from Human Resources asking them to answer 10-15 minutes worth of questions that inquire about everything from workload to leadership’s vision. And in the end, most employees feel like the survey was a waste of time. It’s not that the employees lack opinions, they just lack trust that their responses will drive change.
When most individuals envision what it would look like to assume a leadership role, they imagine the freedom to define a strategy that will garner success, the authority to make decisions, and the opportunity to develop and mentor others. Those are the exciting aspects of leadership that are often appealing to individual contributors. But the other side of that coin is the incredible responsibility that comes along with the title. You can’t have one without the other. But the issue of responsibility and accountability goes even further.