Posted by: carolynjm | February 7, 2018

Changing how we think about and perform change

For me, one of the most intriguing conversations that we have had in this class is in regards to how to include men in the conversation about women in leadership. When talking about increasing the presence of women in leadership, it is easy to focus solely on the struggles, advancements, and points of view of women while ignoring the effect that this change can have on men. Many times individuals assume that men reject the leadership of women for gender biased reasons without considering that men may be rejecting women in leadership because they do not know how that change will affect them as individuals.

In his TED talk “5 Ways to Lead in an Era of Constant Change”, Jim Hemerling discusses how resisting change is a natural reaction and he gives advice to organizations for how to help individuals deal with change in a way that is productive for all individuals involved. He explains that with the way that change is traditionally brought about, change is just thrown at people with very little notice before the change is supposed to be enacted. This can create an environment of fear, exhaustion, hesitance, and resistance. It essentially puts individuals into crisis mode with little insight into what will be happening in the future. He also explains how organizations tend to not think through the implications of change thoroughly, and neglect to “enable” individuals with the skills to be able to succeed during and after the change.

He suggests that in order to help individuals deal with change in a more productive manner, organizations need to set goals and have explicit values for their organization, so when changes are made individuals know the purpose of the changes. Knowing why something is happening in addition to knowing how the change will effect operations in the future would help to reduce some of the anxiety and hesitance that individuals have regarding change. An example would be to create a culture of professional development and continuous learning.

Additionally, he suggests that organizations “need to go all in”. What this means is that hasty changes are not as productive as developing initiatives that will “drive growth” and serve as “investments to develop the leadership” of the people that make up the organization. He also emphasizes the importance of making sure that individuals have the tools and skills they need to effectively deal with the change while it is occurring and after it is enacted (men and women). This way individuals will feel confident about making it through the change and succeed in their roles in the future.

Do you think these tips for organizations would be helpful for men having a hard time dealing with an increase of women in leadership roles? What do you think are some other things that can be done to ensure that both men and women are being considered during this time of change?

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Responses

  1. I think these are useful tips for men having difficulties with accepting more women in the workplace, but I also think it can work in other fields as well. For instance, these tips can alleviate problems with employees accepting more minorities, members of the LGBT community, etc. as a part of their work force. To add onto Hemerling’s ideas, I think a heightened focus on the value of tolerance would benefit many organizations as they experience change and growth. Adjusting to transformed workplace environments, especially by people who are accustomed to ruling the hegemony, can be both daunting and uncomfortable. However, if many people realize that the modern era values tolerance and acceptance over separation and hierarchy, these professionals will be more equipped to dealing with a changing workplace.

  2. I also think this would be helpful for men struggling to cope with female leaders in the workplace. It relates back to our conversation about working together. Women won’t be able to achieve greater leadership without the help of men, but we can’t expect men to work with women if the men are under the impression that the women want to push the men down. As individuals and as companies or organizations, we can use these strategies to communicate the benefits and end goals of achieving gender equality in the workplace. However, I think it is unrealistic to expect this to extend to everyone. While it may influence many, when tackling large societal problems, these strategies can help, but may not be an end-all-be-all solution.


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