Categories
Personal development

Attractive Challenge

Girls should be taught that sexism in the workplace is an “attractive challenge” rather than developing a “hostile attitude” towards men, the former head of one of the country’s top schools has said. The article finished by saying “concentrate on the positives” of the future rather than on “putting on your armour for a battle”. Food for thought.

http://www.landoeducation.com/blog/2019/11/20/the-telegraph-girls-should-be-taught-that-sexism-in-the-workplace-is-an-attractive-challenge-former-top-head-says

I was sent this article by an amazing mentor. I read with intrigue, as over the decades in business I reflected on my own behaviour, what it was that triggered the hostile versus the attractive challenge. Working in software and now telco sales predominantly male industries, I have developed a hostile attitude to the “boys club”.

As an example the attractive challenge approach gives support when a male is hiring, offering up a list of female candidates from your network, offering an introduction, or call them to see if they would be interested in the role. Offering to be on the interview panel. This approach is far more supporting and helpful to your unaware male colleagues, than being hostile over their behaviour.

The attractive challenge when facing a bias situation: I am often told I am passionate, a male would be called courageous. An attractive challenge is questions such as ‘what is different between me speaking up on an issue and John speaking up about this issue? Why is John courageous and I am passionate? ‘ Drawing the individual to their own realisation of bias. In contrast the hostile attitude is reacting with why do you label women as passionate and men courageous ? This is confrontational and wont achieve the same outcome.

We all have choices, the attractive challenge coming from a calm place and coaching which has a greater effect than a hostile attitude, where you can damage your brand and your relationships.

Categories
Coaching Judgement

Difficult conversations

A new employee in the team a few years in full time work shared with me his concerns about having difficult conversations. He said he is not looking forward to the conversations I have to have with various customers. I was curious as to why, he said they are really difficult you are sharing information with the customer, they really don’t want to hear.

difficult conversations v2

I asked how did the customer respond when I delivered the news around the real challenges not perceived challenges by the customer in a customer meeting a few days prior to the catch up. He responded the customer was really appreciative of you sharing your insights.

Trust is built when we share insights and information that the recipient has not considered.

My belief is that I have a duty of care to provide information that has not been previously considered, so better outcomes can be achieved.

The new employees perception and beliefs play a big part on the approach. He felt very uncomfortable with the information being delivered, he saw it as challenging. The frame of reference for him was delivering bad news, mine was delivering important information to help them be successful.

The same is true when we have performance issues with employees. When we approach it in the frame of mind, I want to help and ensure success, as opposed to you have let me down, your message lands in a supportive as opposed to judgmental way.

What is you intention when approaching a difficult conversation?

Is the intention one of support and advice? If yes go ahead, if no, rethink your own intentions and take the time to approach at a time when you are in a better mind set to have the conversation.

Categories
Coaching Influence Leadership Mentoring Personal development Work life balance

Taking responsibility to how we get treated

treatmentToday I was in a coaching session with a young female I have mentored for over 6 months. She has grown so much in a short amount of time, she is also happier and equipped with skills to ensure her success. Today I asked her about how she is getting on with repair bridges that have been well and truly burned. The same question I ask her each time I see her. She had made no progress.

I asked her what was getting in the way of having the conversation. She opened up and said that it would be too painful. Do you practice forgiveness? She looked alarmed. Forgiveness is the opposite to resentful, when you let you go, the emotion and time spent feeling resentful is released into positive energy that you can use far better.

Holding on to resentment is not helpful or healthy.

It’s too painful, she repeated. I asked Why is it so painful? She replied: It was bullying and it went on for months. What did you do about it? She stopped, I did nothing, I was embarrassed. Did you speak to anyone about it? No. So you suffered not knowing what to do. Yes she replied. She went on to say I want to forget it and move on. I replied, it will happen again, I can guarantee you, so what are you going to do about it when it happens? She looked surprised and taken back. It will happen, I talked through some incidents that I had personally dealt with. As a women, certain leaders(men and women) need to assert their authority and the way they do it, is not acceptable: Humiliating, raising voices, aggressive and threatening. If they do it once they keep doing it as the boundaries have not be set properly.

These are the steps when incidents with people who put you down or harass you or raise voices and aggressive:

1. Straight after incident document verbatim what has happened including time and date.

2. Within 24 hours and when you are calm, take the person to one side in a room and not where others can hear

3. This is what you say: The incident yesterday where you said quote un quote, you made me feel inadequate and very uncomfortable. Your actions destroyed my confidence, something that is extremely fragile in women. I dont want you to ever do that again, do you understand me?

Once the accused has acknowledged and apologies. Say this is not going to be discussed ever again, this is between you and me. Lets move on. Confidentiality is critical as it rebuilds trust.

I promise you will never have another incident, with this person.

In that moment the lights came on and she said ” I own this, I can take control”. Absolutely you do! Never let anyone make you feel bad, people who do this are fundamentally insecure. There is no excuse for the behaviour, but you are responsible for setting the boundaries.