Tag Archive: Leader Habits

  1. 6 Skills You Need To Be A Great Leader During Crisis

    Crisis management, to many of us, is a process. A plan. But in today’s world, it’s also a set of skills that leaders must have as they navigate the unknown.

    While coronovirus has disrupted all our lives, leaders carry an extra-heavy weight during crisis. Right now, they’re doing everything in their power to keep the business alive while also supporting disrupted teams, being a watch dog over employee health and morale, and having to make impossible decisions to part ways with people they care for.

    Yes, we’ve seen crisis before. There was the sudden tragedy of 9/11, the Great Recession of 2008, and too many natural disasters to count.

    But this – a pandemic spreading across the globe at terrifying speed, nations issuing shelter-in-place orders, disruption shutting down public institutions and our economy… No previous-crisis experience could have prepared us for this.

    Which is why crisis management processes and plans aren’t enough. Business also need leaders with crisis management skills, including:

    1. Communication

    In a crisis, the need for clear, concise, and timely communication is more important than ever. There are new policies to communicate, along with state-of-the-business announcements, town halls, and team check-ins. Leaders must be ready to engage the right people at the right time and inspire action.

    2. Resilience

    Navigating crisis isn’t a pleasant experience, but leaders who respond with composure, optimism, and hardiness will gain the trust and support of their people. No matter what adversity they face, they’re able to think quickly and decisively, remain energetic, and persevere through challenges.

    3. Innovation

    Outside of crisis, innovation can take shape through ideas or experiments that help the business stay sharp or get ahead. But in crisis, innovation becomes about survival. Leaders must be able to embrace challenges and change calmly while thinking outside the box to drive the business forward.

    4. Structure

    In a crisis, structure, normalcy, and routine are the first things to go. Leaders must re-establish structure by adapting strategies and processes to the current and changing needs of the business. Structure doesn’t mean being rigid or inflexible. It means anticipating problems and addressing them quickly.

    5. Influence

    In times of uncertainty, leaders must still be able to make decisions with confidence. They may not have all the answers, but they proactively gather input from diverse sources so that they understand how all groups are impacted. This is how they build influence, get buy-in, and drive change.

    6. Support

    Above all, support is what people need most from their leaders during crisis. Leaders must provide clear direction, positive connections, and decisive judgement – not only to keep productivity up, but to help people see the light at the end of the tunnel and find meaning in the work they’re doing.

    As businesses navigate the current crisis and the unknowns ahead, these are the leaders they need at the helm: Leaders who are naturally good at managing crisis, or who, with a little development, will be ready to rise to a future occasion.

    Dedicating a few minutes to better understand your own leadership skills and the skills of those around you will go a long way in helping you leverage strengths, close gaps, and emerge from crisis stronger than ever. It’s professional development for yourself, and a way to build healthy crisis management behaviors into your company’s CulturalDNA.

  2. Do These 6 Traits Really Make Men More Promotable?

    Personality data reveals slight differences between men and women, but not enough to explain the gender gap, especially at the C-suite.

    Nearly a decade after Sheryl Sandberg’s famous TED talk on the lack of women in leadership positions, we continue to see more men than women make it to top. According to a 2018 McKinsey&Company report, only

    • 38% of managers are women
    • 29% of VPs are women
    • 22% of executives are women

    At the executive table, men still outnumber women 8:2.

    The easy explanation is to say that women drop out of the workforce to be caretakers at home. While this may have been the case in past generations, it simply isn’t true today. The McKinsey&Company report shows that only 2% of women plan to leave to their careers to focus on family.

    Ambition isn’t the problem either, as 68% of women want to be promoted to the next level. Not only that, women negotiate for promotions just as often as men, according to McKinsey&Company.

    So, if women want to be promoted, they’re negotiating for promotions, and they’re not leaving their careers to focus on family, what’s holding us back?

    Are there differences in personality that can explain why more men are promoted to executive positions than women?

    First, let’s look at why people get promoted. Being assertive, competitive, and taking risks are often cited as factors that increase one’s chances of getting promoted. These are also behaviors that stereotypically male. On the flip side, being accommodating, reserved, and striving for perfection – behaviors that could potentially derail an opportunity for promotion – are stereotypically female.

    When we look at innate styles, do these stereotypes hold true? Are men really more likely to possess career-making personality traits?

    To understand exactly where the differences in our styles lie, we reviewed assessment data from 850,000 men and women in senior level roles across industries, focusing on 6 personality traits that strongly influence promotability:

    1. Accommodation.
    2. Assertiveness.
    3. Cautious Thinking, which can influence our willingness to take risks.
    4. Competitiveness.
    5. Detail Interest, which can influence perfectionism.
    6. Social Restraint/Reserved.

    While results do show some truth in gender stereotypes, differences on key personality traits are not significant enough to keep women from climbing the ranks.

    It’s not surprising to see that women score higher on traits that are stereotypically female, like accommodation and social restraint. It’s also not surprising to see that men score higher on traits that are stereotypically male, like assertiveness and competitiveness. On cautious thinking (a proxy for risk taking) and detail interest (a proxy for perfectionism), however, men and women score exactly the same.

    What are the implications of these trait scores? For starters, being higher on accommodation could lead women to say yes to more non-promotable tasks, such as organizing events or volunteering for internal committees. And, being lower on assertiveness could keep women from offering their ideas or asking for what they want. But, with the exception of competitiveness, these are differences of less than 10% – while the gap between men and women at the C-level is more than 5X that.

    You could say socialization is to blame. Modern culture, progressive as it may be, is still steeped in a legacy of traditionally-defined gender roles. Men are ‘allowed,’ and often encouraged, to be assertive and competitive. Meanwhile, women are expected to be moderators, peacemakers, and and put others’ needs first. Those are the messages we receive through childhood, adolescence, and into our careers.

    And yet – in spite of all this socialization – the personality differences between men and women are surprisingly small.

    To truly level the playing field, we as women can empower ourselves in areas where men have an edge. Yes, men and women are socialized differently, and, in general, we exhibit traits such as assertiveness and competitiveness differently. But that’s not to say we don’t have it in us. These are gaps we can close, and small gaps at that.

    The road to the C-suite for women (and for men!) starts with self-awareness. Then the work of developing healthy leadership habits can begin.

    The bottom line is this:

    If there’s no innate disadvantage, and we perform just as well as men once promoted, then all we have to overcome is tradition. And we’re making progress every day. So keep pushing forward!

    Olivia Salas

    Written by Olivia Salas, M.A.
    Vice President of Solution Delivery, Outmatch

  3. New Sales Managers: 3 Reasons Why They Fail

    Great salespeople don’t always make great sales managers. Research reveals why many of these promotions fail, and 3 competency gaps that stand in the way of success.

    When a new sales manager position is available, many times the promotion goes to a top-performing salesperson. But, success in a current role does not guarantee success at the next level. That’s why 40% of promotions fail, according to our partners at Pinsight.

    The risk is two-fold: Promoting the wrong person puts an ill-equipped leader in charge, and at the same time, removes a top performer from the sales team. A near coin-flip success rate isn’t good enough to gamble on. You need a way to tip the odds in your favor.

    At Outmatch, we assess over 50,000 salespeople and sales managers per year, and the assessment data reveals 3 major competency gaps between the roles. These are the areas where the biggest shifts must occur before great salespeople can become great sales managers:

    Communication style: too assertive.

    Assertiveness is a personality trait that gives salespeople their edge. It helps them prospect, pursue the right people, stay persistent, and close deals. But for sales managers, high assertiveness can be a liability. The natural tendency to dominate conversations may prevent sales managers from listening to the needs of their team.

    Temper your assertiveness: When communicating with others, new sales managers should practice active listening, ask questions before giving their opinion, and remember to confront the issue rather than the person they’re talking to.

    Strong at delivering, not driving results.

    The shift from delivering to driving results is a challenging one. Successful salespeople are used to doing things themselves, while sales managers are responsible for helping others achieve their goals. Sales managers must be able to slow down, see the bigger picture, and ensure that the entire team is on track.

    Focus less on details, and slow your work pace slightly: New managers should schedule strategic breaks to reset and remind themselves of the bigger picture. To avoid getting bogged down in details, a good question to ask is, “How is this task contributing to the overall goal?”

    Organized, but not highly strategic.

    Successful salespeople are pros at managing themselves, their tasks, and their time. But at a strategic planning level, sales managers must think realistically and carefully – two traits that probably weren’t needed earlier in their careers, and can even get in the way of strong sales performance. Once promoted, however, these traits become crucial.

    Cultivate realistic and strategic thinking: Before jumping into action, new sales managers should pause to ask questions and evaluate options. It’s also helpful to identify 2-3 great decision makers to run ideas by.

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    Knowing these competency gaps gives sales leaders the power to be proactive. You can assess these competencies to make better promotion decisions, create targeted leadership development plans, and increase your sales manager success rate. To learn more about what makes salespeople successful, check out Charm, Myths, and the Secret to Better Sales Teams: