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American film producer and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Peter Gruber (The Color Purple and Rainman) used this provoking headline for a LinkedIn article last year. Having promoted several brilliant women to top positions (e.g. Stacey Snider, Co-Chairman and CEO of DreamWorks; Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures; Cathy Schulman, Oscar winning producer of Crash and currently President of Mandalay Pictures), he passes on his experience in challenging typical stereotypes.
a US perspective by Dariela Sosa, Columbia University, New York, NY
Imagine professional life as a marathon. People yell at men: “Hey, bread-winner, failing is not an option!”,“Does your wife earn more than you?”, and “He is not earning enough money to support his family.” On the other hand, people yell at women: “You are a workaholic, thats why you dont have a partner”, “Arent you too aggressive?”, “Your kids need you at home,” and “Arent you being too selfish?”
Let's face it, we live in a diverse society and it is almost impossible to build a non-diverse workforce. Yet we know that prejudice negatively affects how we use and treat our diverse resources, so we have actions in place to fight discrimination and measures to monitor progress. Then how do we end up with statistics like “in the US 60% of corporate CEOs are over six foot tall, whereas less than 15% of men are over six foot tall”? This seems to have nothing to do with classic discrimination, yet it points to a similar issue: selection criteria influenced by irrelevant factors. Neuroscience explains this with the term Unconscious Bias, a more serious issue than discrimination.
Leaders cannot motivate others. Period. It is about time that we accept it and start to work on what we can actually influence. The true responsibility of a leader is to engage others around a common compelling intention (the purpose) and to make sure that everyone can operate in full respect of own preferences, attitudes and values (the way of working). Only then can we enjoy the work and be effective. Only then can we really be happy and have fun. Only then can we create the WOW Factor.
We often hear phrases like “I need to give Paul some feedback”, by which we immediately understand that Paul must have somehow messed up. Depending on the tone, we may feel some sympathy for either Paul who is going to get “whipped” or for the manager - who will likely have to face a string of denials, rebuttals and resentment. But does it have to be like that? Not really.
EMOTION IS INFORMATION, how can we decode it? We are so used to discount emotion as a “lesser” form of intelligence than thought, that we miss the opportunity to collect the precious information that our body records in greater amount than what can be rationally process. As Dr. A. Watkins puts it, we may appear calm and we may even believe that we are calm (since we are used to ignore emotions) but if deep inside we anger is firing, it is this mismanaged emotion that creates the most irreparable damages; we might burst at the most inappropriate moment and damage relationships: or worse we may be driving the superhighway disease.
Marc is a young and ambitious general manager; recently appointed to his position, he is for the first time presenting his business plan to the global category board; he has prepared extensively; he is ready to answer all possible questions and to defend every bit of his proposition. To his great dismay the meeting does not go well and his plan is rejected. On the way back, he reasons with himself and concludes that he was insufficiently prepared. As he begins to refine his arguments, his boss calls him with a different perspective.
Engaging in meaningful conversations can have a positive impact on satisfaction and happiness, according to a study published on Psychological Science in 2010. Those of us who have profound relationships with close friends are probably nodding in recognition. But why is that?
Conflict Management tops the list of what CEOs wish to become better at, according to a recent Stanford University survey. All the skills that top the priority list are “active skills”, where success and failure can be easily measured. The behavioral attitudes that support these skills are however not equally obvious to explore and develop. This is where a professional executive coach can make the biggest difference, providing unbiased feedback that helps reflect on attitudes and make positive changes when necessary.
It is not uncommon to hear executives claim that they make efforts to “control their emotions” or even to “leave emotions at the door”. It is one of the most common prejudices among executives that emotions and feelings have no place in business. Many managers and business leaders believe that they make decisions solely based on rationality and logic.
As neuroscientists have clearly demonstrated this is a self-deception.