Caring for people leads to glass ceiling?

Coffee to chat over - always a good idea!
Here's something to chat about over your next coffee. The Harvard Business Review reports that 'sensitive' men, that is those who are caring and empathetic run into the same glass ceiling as women.

The research findings are that the higher you go up in an organisation the culture is about tasks, actions, results.

The interesting thing is that tasks, actions and results all require people to carry them out. Perhaps there is an intrinsic fear that if we let the 'human' element in, it will be distracting, time-consuming, lead to poor decision making or all of the above?

Yet the conventional wisdom is that teams create better results than individuals. And these are made up of people too!

The thing is, there has to be room for business and caring to go together. The research on the performance of companies with more women on boards is overwhelming that diversity leads to better results. And diversity isn't just about men and women. It's about people, their skills, their knowledge, their background and their differing styles of thinking and working. The greater the variety, the greater the diversity. As the poet, Maya Angelou is quoted as saying, "We should all know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads are equal in value".

The thing about glass is, it has a melting point. There's no doubt it's strong - with tensile strength that can be 5 times stronger than steel. But turn up the heat high enough, between 2600 and 2800 degrees Fahrenheit (which is a little higher than my oven goes) BUT it can be broken down!

Glass is made common elements - mostly lime, sand and soda. Business culture is made of what's been done before, what has worked and what those who set the agenda are comfortable with. This too can be remoulded to deliver tasks, actions, results AND caring and empathy for people!

Take the time to enjoy a coffee and be proud of caring about the people you work with today.


1 comment:

  1. I have in the past worked with a senior exec such as the above that by necessity was task/results oriented, but always ensured he had a leadership team around him that he trusted would look after the people issues for him. Good example of how to play a role within a team and being able to flex your management style.