If we want to improve the competence level of people in leadership positions, we need to improve our own competence for judging and selecting them, especially when they are men, says organizational psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. Have you ever worked with people who are not as good as they think? This finding won’t come as a…
This article and video made me think about the nature of leadership. It was hard to disagree with what Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic says on these points, given my experience working both for leaders who are competent and those who are incompetent. I’ve also worked for competent women leaders and less competent ones.
Since women have had less historical access to traditional power structures, we often need to accomplish things through non-traditional channels. We also don’t typically have as much “time on task” when it comes to developing our leadership “signature” so to speak. Lots of interesting dynamics here.
I’m curious to know what y’all think, if you want to weigh in on your experiences.
I am registered with Yoga Alliance! So now I am not only certified but also registered, which means I am committed to teach and continue to educate myself in this field. So excited to continue sharing all the great benefits I have received from my yoga practice.
I continue to look for opportunities to teach once a week classes to keep my skills fresh. My niche appears to be those who seek relief from over-thinking and anxiety, along with those who identify as neuro-diverse in some way.
I look forward to developing more ways to serve, whether through in person classes or guided audio recordings. I am sure to post more as I figure out what is next.
I’ve been deeply immersed in a personal writing project so I am likely to post a little less frequently in the few months. I have come to enjoy my Sunday haiku, so I’m not giving that up. We all have much going on in our lives, and YOU are no exception. But I do want to keep in touch so if you do want to connect and I’m taking an offline hiatus, you can reach me via email.
In the meantime, I wanted to reflect on something I posted about last week, an incident in which I was blind-sided at work by something I never saw coming.
Now that I’ve had the chance to think it through I realized I had not respected the unwritten protocols that exist in this organization. As a clinical researcher by training, I have a love/hate relationship with protocols.
Protocols are awesome because they give you a clear definition of what needs to be done. They are written in language that is specific and precise. Since scientific experiments need to be reproducible and consistent in their execution, protocols are a necessity. When you work with human subjects research, regulations require protocols that are well-vetted, statistically validated and approved by an institutional review board or medical ethics committee.
Organizations often have “power protocols” also. These are the unwritten protocols that take typically 6-18 months at any organization or department (sometimes more) to learn. They are things like:
Having a PhD or M.D. counts (especially true in academic organizations).
If you have a choice to talk with the PI for a grant, or the chief of staff, pick the latter. She’s the one who actually gets the job done; he’s the name on the letterhead. In a university system, it’s fascinating to me how this mirrors a very patriarchal structure.
I had opened the communication channels during a project in which I was gathering feedback. But I did not bank on the fact that, while I was trying to be system-agnostic in my analysis, the department wanted me to fix the tool they already have rather than to select the best tool.
Now that I understand what they want, I can execute on that. I may not agree with the decision, but others with higher grade levels are determining the parameters. And that’s where I encountered one of the unwritten protocols at this institution: if grant money has been used to build a tool, it would take a LOT for us to abandon the tool.
A few weeks ago I was at a gathering of colleagues who had lunch with one of the leaders of our growing department. One of the laboratory managers explained that many of the principal investigators at the University do not ever tell them the final results of their studies. Nor do they routinely thank the staff their for their contributions to their research projects. And yet, many of these projects could not be completed with the hard work of these staff.
I found this appalling, as someone who has engaged a variety of multi-functional teams over the years for a global company. Thank you is a minimum. Thank you for me is just the floor for what you must do when you collaborate. Thanking people and also letting their managers know what a good job they did is next level.
Making sure you credit people in a published paper, a poster and/or a talk is another way to give credit. Though if the staff are not in the audience of that talk (because it may be directed at another audience), please find a way to thank them personally in another way.
Sometimes a hand written card can be appropriate. Other times a short email with a “I appreciate your work on …” is enough. We all depend on others to get our work done in this day and age. It’s true, sometimes people just do the minimum at their job. Maybe they didn’t put in any “special” effort, but they showed up and they delivered.
Consider how good it feels when someone takes the time to thank you, and to acknowledge how your work makes an impact. All of us enjoy being recognized for our efforts. Some of us don’t love the spotlight, so please don’t make us accept awards in front of big crowds… a simple and sincere thank you will do.
On the other side, consider how much you enjoy doing for those who express gratitude rather than those who are always griping. It’s worth considering this before you spending time critiquing what may not have been done perfectly.
Take the time to notice those efforts and your workplace engagement will improve. And yes, even bosses like to be thanked! If they give some helpful advice or feedback, or maybe help you see things in a new way, it does not hurt to tell them what you appreciate.
Today marks one year since my last day at Medtronic.
I did not know a year ago that I would be in yoga school this year, though I definitely planned to practice a lot more yoga.
I did not think I would be starting a “new” career in clinical research at an Academic Health Center.
I thought I would leave clinical research behind. But something beckoned to me when I interviewed for a contract technical writing job in February. I drove through a snow storm for that interview. And it turns out I was ghosted by those two professors and did not get that gig.
But I remember the “charge” I got when I found myself in Diehl Hall, where the Biomedical Library is housed at the University of Minnesota. It was like some part of me knew I would be back. Lo and behold, I did not realize it when I interviewed, but in June I was assigned to an office cube in Diehl Hall at the Clinical Research Support Center.
Sometimes it is spooky how perfect this job is for me. I “play” best in spaces where there is room for collaboration and innovation, and that’s what is required of my role.
All I have is gratitude for the lessons this past year has taught me. And my intention in the upcoming year is to try to stay fully present to the next lessons life is about to teach me.
P.S. I used to have a regular posting schedule here, and I may be editing some previous posts for a while instead of generating new content. This will help me have time to focus on the new job and completing my YTT certification hours.
Have a great final month of summer, y’all living in the northern hemispheres.