5 ways ‘Ted Lasso’ shows how effective leadership can be achieved through kindness

Jason Sudeikis portrays as Ted Lasso, sitting on a couch smiling
Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso.

  • “Ted Lasso,” a workplace comedy on Apple TV+, is especially relevant for managers and executives.
  • The second season debuted on July 23.
  • The show has dug its way into the hearts of viewers through its funny lessons about kindness.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

To Brendan Hunt, self-confidence is like a ferret.

“Imagine it’s buried under a pile of rubble,” the writer, actor, and cocreator of the Apple TV+ television show “Ted Lasso” told Insider. “And the ferret keeps getting pinned by another rock.”

After a childhood marred by verbal abuse and his mother’s alcoholism, Hunt’s self-esteem was boosted by his acting-school colleagues at Illinois State University. He founded Theater of Ted as a performance opportunity for other students and had a variety of roles in the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.

Now, as one of the creative minds behind the Peabody Award-winning, 20-time Emmy-nominated show, Hunt is paying forward lessons he learned about hardship, pain, and significant losses.

It turns out ferrets are also humorous creatures who love to dig, and “Ted Lasso” has dug its way into the hearts of viewers through its funny lessons about kindness.

At its core, “Ted Lasso,” which began its second season on July 23, is a workplace comedy that’s especially relevant for managers and executives. An American college football coach with absolutely no experience with European football, is purposely hired by the recently divorced owner to manage a struggling Premier League team. The show exceeds the format’s constraints by illustrating the best ways to develop talent, learn from mistakes, and deal with major losses on and off the field.

“New season starts today and I’ll be honest – I’ve got butterflies,” Ted Lasso tweeted. (Yes, Lasso has his own Twitter account.) “But one great fact about butterflies is that they only show up when you care a lot about something. And also they taste with their feet.”

For those who’d like a guide to the first season (with a few spoilers), here’s a breakdown of the five biggest leadership lessons from Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), his assistant Coach Beard (Hunt), and the team owner Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham).

Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham look at each other with pictures hanging on the wall in the background
Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham on season one, episode one of “Ted Lasso.”

Learn people’s names

Nathan Shelley (Nick Mohammed) is the team’s often-bullied equipment manager. On Lasso’s first day, he surprises Shelley by asking for his name. This basic act of respect eventually pays off when Shelley demonstrates his knowledge of the game and earns a well-deserved promotion.

An effective leader is attentive, diligent about small details, and respects his subordinates, no matter how junior. Having an interest in people’s names and an understanding of their value to the team also demonstrates curiosity instead of judgment – an act people often remember as a sign of respect and importance.

Give people a chance

In episode three, Lasso uses one of Shelley’s plays. In episode seven, Lasso asks for Shelley’s honest assessment of the players and encourages him to give the pregame pep talk. Keeley Jones (Juno Temple) is initially presented as a stereotypical WAG – the wives and girlfriends of high-profile athletes. But Welton sees how Jones is driven, smart, and savvy after she arranges a branding partnership. Through Welton’s encouragement and support, Jones is given official marketing and communications duties, including brand deals for the players.

Great talent might already lie within your organization. Drawing it out requires giving people, especially those in junior roles, multiple chances to demonstrate their skills, capabilities, and expertise. Encouragement and a psychologically safe environment are also essential. You never know what a person can provide to an organization in the future.

Personal issues can affect work performance

Throughout much of the first season, Welton sets the team up for failure in retaliation for her abusive ex-husband’s infidelity. After hiring Lasso, she arranges unflattering paparazzi photos of him with Jones, sets up an interview with a highly critical reporter, and returns a star player to another team earlier than necessary. After Lasso signs his own divorce papers, he experiences a panic attack outside a karaoke bar. Welton helps him calm down. And when Welton finally reveals her plan, Lasso’s response is simple. “I forgive you. Divorce is hard. … It makes folks do crazy things.”

Significant life events like divorce, major illnesses, and deaths can become major distractions at work and affect performance. An effective way to get staff back on track is honoring their feelings and working together to find a path forward with humility and empathy.

Ted Lasso toasts with another character at a pub
A scene from TV show “Ted Lasso.”

Have a trusted advisor without an ego

The most important person in Lasso’s professional life is Coach Beard, his assistant. Beard travels with Lasso from Kansas, learns the rules of the game on their flight, provides important details and plays, and assertively tells Lasso when his philosophy on winning and losing has reached its limits. Beard does something Hunt learned while working in theater: “serving the piece.” In the end, both his and Lasso’s ideological preferences are secondary to the greater mission. “He’s not doing it for himself,” Hunt said of the character he plays. “He’s doing it for the whole of the job that Ted has brought him on.”

Every company needs advisors and senior leaders who understand what the overall mission is and says what needs to be done, even when it goes against the desires of the person in charge.

Be willing to accept feedback

In addition to advice from Beard, Lasso is willing to accept direct feedback from everyone: his players, people in town, patrons of the local bar, Welton, Shelley, even members of the media. He gets called “wanker” a lot, but it doesn’t faze him. It helps that Lasso responds with humor and a Mr. Rogers-like sense of cheer.

Even if you don’t run a football team, being a good manager means being open to hearing from other people about how to improve and do things differently. Regularly scheduled meetings can be very helpful. (Homemade biscuits – a Ted Lasso specialty – are not required.)

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Employees aren’t as optimistic about company diversity efforts as managers. Consultants explain why, and how to change that.

Shot of a young businessman looking stressed while using a smartphone during a late night in a modern office

One year after a wave of civil rights protests pushed CEOs to double down on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Insider surveyed workers on how they think corporate leaders are doing to fulfill their promises.

As part of a series called Cost of Inequity, Insider conducted a survey of over 1,000 professionals, the majority of American workers think business leaders are motivated to improve DEI in the workplace. However, managers are significantly more hopeful than rank-and-file employees.

About 74% of managers said they think their employer’s executive team cares about improving diversity, compared to 63% of workers.

As corporate America faces increasing pressure from investors, employees, and customers to make good on DEI promises, addressing the gap between manager and employee sentiment is crucial. DEI consultants said that leaders who drive employee engagement around DEI goals will be more successful in their goals.

Why managers feel more engaged

Kerryn Agyekum
Kerryn Agyekum, principal of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice at The Raben Group, a DEI consultancy, said companies need to boost employee buy in on DEI efforts.

For Kerryn Agyekum, DEI principal at consultancy The Raben Group, the findings were not surprising.

Individuals who are largely at the worker or individual contributor level are more likely to be from historically marginalized groups, she explained. Data shows managers and leaders, across a variety of industries, are more likely to be white.

“It’s not surprising that workers, individuals who do not have that power or privilege like managers do, have a very different perspective around whether or not an organization’s diversity, equity, or inclusion efforts are having an impact,” Agyekum said. “They are waiting to see results.”

There will be a gap in sentiment until managers are able to really bring about change in their organizations, the DEI consultant said.

Cynthia Orduña, DEI consultant at consultancy Peoplism, credited the gap in enthusiasm to a communication problem. Oftentimes leaders communicate their DEI efforts to managers, but not to all of their employees, so employees aren’t as up to date, she explained.

Leadership can be very scared to be transparent about what’s going on in the background in terms of new diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives…They’re afraid of not getting things right. Cynthia Orduña

“Leadership can be very scared to be transparent about what’s going on in the background in terms of new diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives,” she said. “They’re afraid of not getting things right.”

If employees aren’t aware of what’s going on, however, they’re more likely to think that their executive team doesn’t care about DEI efforts.

Orduña said that 63% of workers thinking their executives care about DEI was somewhat disappointing.

“It’s more about, how do we get that number to be 75% 85%?” she said. “If a good chunk of employees don’t think their executives care about DEI, that’s a story.”

Managers were also more likely than their direct-reports to say their company has clear channels for participation in DEI efforts. Some 76% of managers said there were distinct ways to get involved, compared to 68% of workers.

Agyekum said that many managers are being tasked with changing their behaviors, reaching new DEI goals, and having new conversations with their employees. They feel there are concrete ways to participate in DEI efforts, she explained.

However, employees may define “concrete ways of participating” differently. They may be waiting to see more people like themselves in positions of power, they may be waiting for their salary to increase as a result of a pay equity report, they may be waiting to be compensated for their ERG work.

“I think the differentiator is in the definition,” Agyekum said. “Managers and workers may define ‘concrete ways of participating in DEI efforts’ differently.”

When asked about the results of their company DEI strategies, respondents gave a mixed range of outcomes:

Increasing employee engagement

In order to increase employee buy-in on DEI efforts, leaders and managers need to drive results, Agyekum said.

Cynthia Orduña's headshot
DEI consultant Cynthia Orduña said managers need to communicate their diversity efforts more to employees.

She explained that a “war room approach to DEI,” where diversity is treated just as importantly as profits, will communicate to employees that diversity is truly a core tenant of a company’s values.

“If you have managers that are doing well on diversity and inclusion, hold them up as the gold standard and reward them accordingly,” the DEI consultant said. “At the same time, hold folks accountable for not making progress.”

At the same time, leaders and managers need to increase the level of communication around DEI.

More leaders need to be vulnerable and share their DEI journey with workers, Orduña said. Keeping employees informed of what’s going on and sharing ways to get involved in the process will drive engagement. Insider’s survey also found that 50% of respondents said their managers are not incentivized to hit DEI goals and/or hire more BIPOC employees. The other half indicated a mix of bonuses and promotions for making more diverse hires.

There’s a lot of strength, I think, in admitting to people that you don’t have all the answers Cynthia Orduña

“You can even say ‘We don’t have all the answers, but we’re going to work as a team to figure it out.'”

In addition to communicating your company’s future plans, it’s important to make sure your employees stay informed on what you’re already doing.

For example, don’t just email once about employee resource groups (ERGS), have ERG leaders speak at company events and send multiple emails about their progress, the DEI consultant suggested. When it comes to new trainings you have, incentivize participation in them and have leaders talk about them in town halls.

C-suite executives should also encourage managers to tell their direct reports about their DEI work.

“It’s about creating mini-cultures that foster inclusion and psychological safety,” Orduña said.

Psychological safety is an environment where people from all backgrounds can feel safe enough to be their whole, true selves at work, without fear of judgment or punishment.

“Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable,” she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

7 phrases leaders should use more often to show vulnerability and build trust with their team

AmEx leadership lessons
As a leader, recognize that your tone can shift the energy in the room.

  • The tone and attitude of leaders can influence the psychological safety in their workplace.
  • Speaking honestly and openly can help you build a high-performing, engaged, and inclusive team.
  • Use phrases like ‘I appreciate you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ more often to build trust within your team.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As a leader, your energy has a profound impact on your team. The way you show up in meetings and 1:1s, and even the tone in your emails can influence psychological safety in your workplace – for better or for worse. That’s why I often remind myself that words matter when it comes to building a high-performing, engaged, and inclusive team.

In an effort to be more intentional about the tone I’m setting every day, I’ve discovered these seven phrases help convey gratitude, vulnerability, and trust.

Read more: DEI professionals can make upwards of $200,000 a year. Experts reveal what it takes to land the job.

1. I appreciate you because …

Gratitude is a powerful tool; consider that more than 40% of Americans said they’d put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often. Importantly, though, is that gratitude works best when it’s specific. Don’t just thank people for their contributions. Tell them one thing you especially appreciated about how they ran that meeting, collaborated on that project, or shared that update. Doing so makes people feel seen, and who doesn’t love that?

2. What do you see that I don’t see?

My company now has a quarterly team meeting where people in our organization tell me about data I’m missing, perspectives I should be paying more attention to, or early warning signs of an issue we should spend more time on. These are some of my favorite meetings of the year, because I learn something new every time, and it’s a subtle reminder that leaders don’t have all the answers, but that we need, and value, our teams’ perspectives.

3. Welcome to the team

Being new is hard. Imposter syndrome is at an all-time high, and so proactively welcoming new employees is critical. I try to make it a point to see, notice, and welcome new people in our organization and learn a little bit about what makes them tick. Inclusion and belonging start on day one, so taking a few minutes to make an active effort helps people feel confident they made the right choice joining your team.

4. I’ve got you

My company starts our leadership meetings with a few structured prompts, and one of the questions is, “Who will you ask for help when you need it?” The person you choose then responds with “I’ve got you.” It’s just three words, but it normalizes both relying on the support of others and being ready to give it. That’s why this simple phrase helps build a culture of trust.

5. Tell me more

We all know that active listening is a critical skill in leadership. But if you’re like me, a fast talker and quick reactor, then it’s probably not always your first instinct. When I feel myself speeding up, I try to ask people to tell me more about their idea, challenge, or observation. Not only do they feel heard, but I can actually give better advice as a result.

6. I’m sorry

Vulnerability is arguably one of the most important traits of a great leader. The easiest way to practice it is to admit when you’ve made a mistake. For example, I recently derailed a meeting because I wasn’t as prepared as I could’ve been, and it resulted in my getting frustrated. Later that day, I apologized to the team and we moved forward. Remember that you’re a human being; it’s not only OK to admit when you’re wrong, but it also goes a long way with your team in building trust.

7. I’m signing off

Now that workplaces are reopening after the pandemic, many companies are trying to figure out how to effectively address burnout. One of the most meaningful actions we can take as leaders is to set the tone at the top that it’s not only OK to take a break but that it’s encouraged. Leave loudly by telling your team you’re signing off or using a Slack emoji to show that you’re offline. These seemingly small signals go a long way in promoting healthy work-life integration.

The most important thing we can do as leaders is recognize that our tone can shift the energy in the room (or Zoom). That doesn’t mean you need to be a cheerleader every day – you’re only human, after all – but it should serve as a reminder that your words carry weight. So when possible, choose them intentionally.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Olympic ban on Afro swim caps – and the backlash it has received – is a huge lesson for business leaders

Swimmer Alice Dearing photographed in a Soul Cap
The Soul Cap, which fits over Afros and thick hair, was banned by the international swimming federation. British Olympic swimmer Alice Dearing is a brand partner with Soul Cap.

  • Soul Cap tried to have its swim caps – which fit over Afros – approved for the 2021 summer Olympics.
  • The governing Olympic body rejected the request, saying it didn’t conform to the “natural” head.
  • Fortune 500 consultants explain why the decision is a teachable moment for other leaders.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Maritza McClendon, the first Black woman to make a US Olympic swim team and a 2004 Olympic silver medalist, vividly remembers the sound of her white teammates in high school and college laughing as she struggled to fit her thick, curly hair into her swim cap.

She’d laugh along with them, but inside, she had an awful, sinking feeling. It was one of many microaggressions she endured over the years.

To be Black and a swimmer, she said, is difficult. And a new ruling by the International Swimming Federation, or FINA, makes it even more difficult.

A company called Soul Cap recently tried to have its swim caps – which fit over Afros, locs, extensions, and thick hair – approved for the 2021 summer Tokyo Olympics. FINA rejected the product, saying the caps didn’t follow “the natural form of the head.” Following swift backlash, FINA is revisiting the ban.

In response to a request for comment, FINA pointed to its latest press release on the matter, which said the federation understood the “importance of inclusivity and representation,” and that it would be revisiting the decision at an undisclosed date. As of this writing, no formal announcement has been made.

“It’s just really disappointing,” McClendon said. “The Olympics is the C-suite of sports. What kind of message does this send? It excludes the diversity the sport so desperately needs.”

In addition to calling the ban “ridiculous” and “racist,” consultants who work with Fortune 500 companies on issues of diversity said FINA’s decision is a learning moment not only for Olympic leaders but also for business leaders.

Corporate America has been engulfed in a racial reckoning ever since George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, and many experts said FINA’s swim-cap ban highlights a problematic status quo. Decision-makers must not only welcome opportunities to be inclusive, these experts told Insider, but also question whom these standards of dress and behavior are serving.

“When we talk about something like the Afro cap not conforming to the ‘natural shape of the head’ – Well, the natural shape of whose head exactly?” said Tiffany Jana, the founder of the diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting firm TMI who works with Fortune 500 companies.

A lesson for all leaders

Maritza McClendon portrait in a pool
Maritza McClendon, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist and the first Black woman to make a US Olympic swim team, said the ban excluded diversity that the sport “so desperately needs.”

The backlash against FINA has been swift.

Soul Cap has spoken out against the ruling, saying it discourages many younger athletes from underrepresented backgrounds from pursuing the sport. And an online petition for FINA to remove the ban has garnered more than 59,000 signatures.

That FINA snubbed the opportunity to be more inclusive is a lesson for business leaders, said Jana, the author of “Subtle Acts of Exclusion.”

Jana, who is nonbinary, called the decision “utterly ridiculous” and “a demonstration of white supremacy.” “What is being stated is that the white standard is normal, that it is best, and that it is what’s acceptable.”

Some writers have said that FINA’s language is reminiscent of phrenology, a pseudoscience from the 1800s involving the measurement of bumps on the skull to predict mental traits. It was used to argue that nonwhite people were inferior because of the shapes of their heads.

Jana said the decision showed a lack of historical and emotional awareness and “overall intelligence.” Kerryn Agyekum, a DEI principal at the consultancy The Raben Group, agreed. Both said it’s no longer OK for leaders to not be aware of how racism has influenced their sector, field, or even company or sport.

Stop policing Black and other nonwhite bodies

There’s a parallel to draw between the ban on the Afro swim cap and the ban, in many professional spaces, of braids, locs, and other ways Black people care for their hair.

Both bans, DEI experts said, are knowingly or unknowingly racist.

“It’s just another expression of how different people, their needs, their expressions, their well-being, and their way of being are not taken into consideration, honored, or privileged,” Jana said.

Oftentimes, the “standard” or “professional” way of doing things – whether in sports or the office – is how white, able-bodied, cisgender, heterosexual people have existed, Agyekum said. The US Army has gone through a reckoning regarding what hairstyles are and aren’t permitted, with new guidelines released this year that allow styles such as cornrows, braids, and ponytails.

The CROWN Act, a bill that prevents workplace discrimination based on one’s hair texture or style, has passed in 11 states, including New York and California. Still, there is no law preventing such discrimination on the national level.

But business leaders shouldn’t wait for the CROWN Act. They should question the status quo, Jana said, and stop policing Black and other nonwhite bodies, or making it harder for them to exist in work spaces.

For example, leaders should reexamine workplace rules around presentation, adjust healthcare policies to include trans and nonbinary people, and make sure their offices are accessible to differently abled people.

“Historically, there was a lack of the ability for Black people to actually swim in pools that were for whites only. Now you have this generation of people who don’t know how to swim for that reason. In the present day, now hair becomes the issue,” Agyekum said. “It’s about exclusion.”

Workplace culture and sports culture can change, Jana said, but only if leaders are willing to put in the work. Take, for example, how women have made gains in the professional world. Many companies now have lactation rooms, offer free menstruation products such as pads, and offer paid parental leave.

“This only happened after we stopped and took a hard pause,” Jana said.

Embrace mistakes to usher in progress

No leader or organization will always get things right, especially when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. But it’s what leaders do after they make a mistake that defines what they stand for, DEI consultants said.

“You don’t get from institutionalized slavery and racism to any kind of international, global utopia without tripping, without learning,” Jana said. “What I’m interested in now is what FINA does next.”

In order for FINA to be an anti-racist organization, Jana said, its committee should not only withdraw the ban but also issue an apology and commit to a full review of its practices.

“Show me you’re doing the work,” Jana said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Sundar Pichai took over Google aged 47. Here’s his advice to anyone with similar ambitions.

Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai urges aspiring leaders to follow their heart.

  • Google’s CEO said aspiring CEOs should ‘figure out what their heart is excited by.’
  • He was speaking in an in-depth interview with BBC journalist Amol Rajan.
  • Pichai also revealed he speaks 3 languages and currently drives a Tesla.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google parent Alphabet, has offered some advice for people who want to run a successful company: Find something that excites you.

In an hour-long interview with the BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan, Pichai talks about the potential of quantum computing, the dangers of AI, and whether Alphabet, with a market capitalization of $1.6 trillion, is too big.

He also recalls the “simplicity” of his middle-class childhood growing up in Madurai, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and his rise up the career ladder to become CEO of Alphabet in 2019, aged 47.

Pichai earned $281 million in compensation last year. When asked what his advice would be to someone from humble beginnings who wants to run a great company, Pichai said:

“I’ve always felt that – more than what your mind says – you need to figure out what your heart is excited by. It’s a journey and you will know it when you find it,” said Pichai.

“If you find that, things tend to work out,” he added.

Pichai said that he had wanted to work in Silicon Valley since he was a teenager and that his father took out a loan, worth a year’s salary, in order for Pichai to afford his flight and study at Stanford.

When asked how to land a job at Google, he gave some insight into the interview process when he applied for his first role in 2004. Pichai said: “You keep interviewing. I was interviewing on April Fool’s day and Google had just announced Gmail – which I thought was a joke.

“People kept asking me what I think of Gmail, which was invite-only at the time. It was only the fourth or fifth interviewer who asked ‘Have you seen Gmail?’ and I said no. He showed me on his computer.

“Then the next interview somebody asked me, I was able to answer it for the first time.”

He speaks to Mark Zuckerberg ‘as and when needed’

Pichai also offered some insight into his own personal work habits as CEO of one of the world’s biggest companies.

He wakes up between 6.30-7 am and tries to exercise three or four times a week. He doesn’t eat meat, and drinks tea in the mornings and coffee in the afternoons. He speaks three languages – English, Hindi and Tamil – and currently drives a Tesla.

The Wall Street Journal has been a long-term reading habit, although “90% of his consumption” is now online, from publications around the world.

When asked how often he speaks to Facebook chief and rival Mark Zuckerberg, he replied “as and when needed.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

7 ways for women to overcome imposter syndrome and climb the ranks at work

female professional talking to coworkers
Lean into anything uncomfortable and use your voice whenever possible.

  • Women are staggeringly absent from upper-level leadership positions in the American workforce.
  • To break through the glass ceiling, figure out what’s blocking you, let go of it, and take risks.
  • Consider hiring a coach or mentor to push you forward and help overcome imposter syndrome.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Women hold less than 5% of CEO positions in the US and Europe, according to Financial Times, and over two million women left the workforce in 2020. Many factors contribute to these realities, which leave women feeling tired, disempowered, and unmotivated, sometimes to the point of self-sabotage. The term “glass ceiling” was created by Marilyn Loden; the phrase is a metaphor for the invisible barrier that prevents women from achieving elevated professional success.

Despite making up 50.8% of the US population and 58.2% of the civil labor force according to the US Census, women are staggeringly absent from upper-level leadership positions in the American workforce.

Read more: 2 women entrepreneurs – one in tech, one in food – reveal what worked in getting investors on board and raising millions for their businesses

Efforts to shatter glass ceilings in the workplace and life are still underway. Over the years, I’ve seen women still hesitating, hiding, and holding back – allowing limiting beliefs, situations, and circumstances to take over. Shattering inner and outer glass ceilings is critical for change to occur. Transformational work always starts with the inner work, which creates larger impact and influence.

Here are seven ways to shatter your own glass ceilings that may be holding you back.

1. Release and redefine

Think about a belief or behavior that may be blocking you currently: What meaning are you giving it? Where did those thoughts and stories originate? Once you identify what’s holding you back, write it on a piece of paper and then go bury, burn, or release it. Then, redefine what it is that you desire. Come up with a new thought, belief, story, or behavior that you want to adopt. In every moment, you have a choice to see and create differently. What will you release and redefine today?

2. Break out of the “good girl” mentality

Growing up, girls are praised for being a “good girl” via messages reinforced by society, media, parents, teachers, and other influences. It’s your responsibility to break free from the programmed “good girl” messages. One way of doing this is to take more risks, assert your ideas, and express yourself authentically. Breaking free from what you are expected to do is the key to following your heart and your joy, which honors yourself and your truth.

3. Use your voice

A recent survey of 1,100 US working adults conducted by Catalyst, a nonprofit that works to increase women in leadership, found that 45% of women business leaders say it’s difficult for women to speak up in virtual meetings. One in five say they’ve felt ignored or overlooked by colleagues during video calls. While this happens in business and in the virtual world, this also happens in everyday life.

Women are not owning their full power or utilizing their voice because they fear others’ judgments and risk ruining their reputation. One way of strengthening this muscle is by leaning into the uncomfortable and taking imperfect action. Every time you use your voice, it makes it easier to make it a habit. Where can you start to use your voice more, regardless of how you feel? Don’t worry about what you sound like or who is judging you.

4. Find or hire a mentor, coach, or advocate

Olympians, actors, actresses, and the majority of highly successful people all have one thing in common: They have mentors and coaches to support them, guide them, hold them accountable, challenge, and push them. Personal blind spots can occur, and a third party can help you shift and show you different ways of looking at things that you may have never thought about before.

5. Praise and promote yourself

Know your worth. A study done by KPMG found that 75% of female executives across industries have experienced imposter syndrome in their careers. Imposter syndrome involves persistent feelings of inadequacy, chronic self-doubt, and feeling like a phony despite past and current accomplishments and successes. How can imposter syndrome be eliminated? It starts by celebrating ourselves and each other.

The first step is to remember and own all of your past successes, achievements, and accomplishments. You can set aside some time and list out every single success, achievement, and accomplishment as far back as you can remember. Praise yourself every day, write yourself a note, look in the mirror, and speak to yourself – then celebrate all of your blessings. Finally, take action and get yourself out there. Promote yourself, connect with someone new, or send that email. It doesn’t matter how you do it; it matters that you do it.

6. Ask for what you want

Do you ask for what you want? Do you ask for help and support? Asking requires vulnerability and getting over the fear of rejection. First, get clear about what the ask needs to be: What do you want and need? Then, take action because every time you take action, your confidence increases. Remember, if you never ask, the answer is always no.

7. Find a support system

Find a strong circle of support. Your environment can either make you, break you, or keep you stagnant and stuck. We are truly the average of our environments, and if someone or something isn’t making you stronger, he or she is making you weaker. Breaking the glass ceiling and finding an environment that’s going to challenge you will change your life. Research different online groups; ask friends, mentors, and people who have what you want. Success leaves clues.

Every action you take creates a legacy for the next generations to come.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A public-speaking coach gives 5 tips for nailing your first performance or meeting back in person

woman speaking public speaking
Public speaking doesn’t have to be scary – again.

  • Eileen Smith is a public-speaking coach and frequent keynote speaker.
  • She suggests planning how you’ll project a professional image when returning to offices and venues.
  • Connect with the audience before you speak, make eye contact, and move with purpose, she says.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

I can feel the electricity in the room when I’m in front of a live audience. I know if there’s spirited conversation before the event begins, and I can read people’s faces and body language.

Eileen Smith
Eileen Smith.

All these cues feed my energy and how I project it back to my listeners.

Of course, when everything moved online during the pandemic, I had to figure out how to get these cues back. I found myself reaching out through chat rooms and using polls to take the pulse of my virtual audiences.

As we move back to the office again, even if it’s in a hybrid workplace, many of our public-speaking skills might be a little rusty. Here are five ways to dust yours off and excel in that first in-person gathering.

Read more: 10 tips for landing and delivering your own TEDx talk, from a TEDx speaker whose talk has over 15 million views

Remember your performance starts when you enter the room

The beginning of an event or meeting is not the time to tuck into your phone or study your notes. When you enter a venue, your performance has already begun.

Project a strong executive presence by walking in with your eyes up and shoulders back. Say hello to people you know and introduce yourself to people you don’t. Engage in conversation until the meeting begins. Greet everyone like a boss or old friend.

For a more formal speaking event, once you’re set up with your technology and materials, stand by the door and introduce yourself to people as they arrive. If you’re holed away in a green room, you can find your fellow speakers or even a few staffers to talk with.

This approach has a few advantages. First, it gives you the opportunity to ask people what brings them in and what they most want to learn from this event. Then weave their stories or questions into your talk to make it more personal.

Second, keeping yourself involved in conversation until the event begins may help calm your nerves. Otherwise, you might spend those last minutes building anxiety about how your first foray back into a live audience will go.

Third, audience members who have had a chance to say hello will feel more connected to you as a speaker.

Make eye contact

Your goal when speaking in person is to make actual eye contact. Don’t look above your audience at the back wall, don’t stare at a spot on the table, and don’t look at the forest, but miss the trees.

I like to separate my audience into three sections. In each section, I seek out my new best friend. It doesn’t matter whether I’ve met this person before. I’m looking for someone who’s giving me positive feedback – smiling and nodding at what I have to say.

Once you’ve found your three new best friends, one for each section of your audience, take turns making direct eye contact with them while you’re speaking.

Wait until you reach a punctuation mark in your sentence before you move on to your next best friend. This helps you regulate your eye movement. If you switch between people too fast, you risk giving off the windshield-wiper effect. If you linger on one person for too long, it can become uncomfortable.

Gesture with meaning

At home on a video screen, small gestures are the rule. Perhaps you’ve been consciously keeping your gestures within the camera frame so they aren’t lost from view. Or perhaps the low-key work-from-home environment has depleted your inspiration for big gestures.

Either way, in person you can spread out.

If you’re someone who naturally talks with your hands, that’s wonderful. However, make a recording of yourself on your phone so you can check to see that your hands are saying what you think they’re saying. A little emphasis is good. Too much is, well, too much.

An important thing to keep in mind after hunching in your home office for so long is to keep your posture strong and body open. Crossed arms, hands clasped down in front like a fig leaf, and fidgeting with your hands are signs of discomfort.

Look self-assured by deploying confident hand gestures. Steepling “is a universal display of confidence and is often used by those in a leadership position,” Joe Navarro, a retired FBI agent and author, told Insider. You can also try nesting your hands together lightly or holding them separately at your midsection. Hands down by your sides is another confident position. This is a favorite for many world leaders, as seen at the recent G7 Summit

Move with purpose

Moving around when you’re speaking in front of people is an effective way to hold their attention.

Step to one side of the stage or conference room to connect with that part of the audience. Stay there until you finish your thought. Try out that solid eye contact. Then move to the other side of the stage or another spot. Finish your thought before you move again.

Be measured in your movement. When you’re standing still, avoid shuffling, tapping, or otherwise letting your legs betray your nervous energy. When you’re not walking, take a strong stance, keep your posture straight, and hold your feet firm.

Treat nerves as excitement and energy

Keep in mind that your audience wants you to succeed – if only for the simple reason that it’s uncomfortable to watch someone who’s outwardly nervous. Turn that tension into positive energy and project confidence on the outside.

If your nerves are threatening to get the best of you, take a moment. “The breath is a direct line to the nervous system and the brain,” Tara Antonipillai, a corporate wellness expert, told Insider. “Remind yourself that you can turn off the panic response in the brain and turn on that thinking reasoning part of the brain by simply slowing down and deepening the breath.”

Also, try mentally reframing your nervous reaction into excitement. Build your confidence through preparation and practice, print your notes as a safety net in case you forget what you want to say, and focus your thoughts on all the wonderful things that can happen, instead of thinking about what might go wrong.

Eileen Smith is a public-speaking coach, keynote speaker, and former diplomat. Find her tips to help business executives, policy experts, and rising professionals achieve preparation, confidence, and career success at Spokesmith.com.

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Sustainability isn’t just good business – it’s a huge recruitment tool, these execs say

Insider's Karen Ho interviews Mark Frohnmayer, founder and president of electric-vehicles maker Arcimoto (c) and Are Traasdahl, CEO at Crisp, a food-supply analytics software platform, during an Insider virtual event on June 29, 2021
Insider’s Karen Ho interviews Mark Frohnmayer, founder and president of electric-vehicles maker Arcimoto (c) and Are Traasdahl, CEO at Crisp, a food-supply analytics software platform.

  • Corporations want to be more sustainable, and the pandemic has shown we need to all work together.
  • Competing with tech giants for talent can be hard, but working for a sustainable business is a draw.
  • This was part of Insider’s virtual event “What’s next: CEOs on How Talent Drives Transformation” presented by ProEdge, a PwC Product, on Tuesday.
  • Click here to watch a recording of the full event.

Mark Frohnmayer, founder and president of electric-vehicles maker Arcimoto, believes that the biggest misconception related to sustainability is that people can’t change.

“The other misperception is that we can take our time,” he said during Insider’s recent virtual event “What’s next: CEOs on How Talent Drives Transformation” presented by ProEdge, a PwC Product, which took place June 29.

The panel, titled “Accelerating the green transformation to drive growth and sustainability,” was moderated by Karen Ho, senior reporter for the business of sustainability at Insider, and featured Frohnmayer and Are Traasdahl, CEO at Crisp, a food-supply analytics software platform.

Both speakers agreed that the pandemic has shown how people can come together to tackle a global problem. For Traasdahl, whose company is using data to stop food waste, corporate sustainability is the art of the possible.

“Most people believe that large, small, medium-sized companies do not want to share the data because there can be some competitive information, pricing information,” he said. “They want to share – there just haven’t been any tools in place to share this data.”

Traasdahl is trying to solve the “huge paradox” of a world where 750 million to two billion people live with moderate to severe food insecurity, while nearly one-third of all food produced goes to waste.

“The pandemic forced everybody in this industry to actually start breaking open supply chains that they haven’t touched in 30 years and understanding how they can be much more proactive,” he said.

Frohnmayer said the disruption to supply chains affected Arcimoto’s manufacturing, but he believes the benefits of everyone traveling less during lockdowns are a long-term positive.

“Many areas in the world saw clean skies for the first time in some people’s lives during the beginning of the pandemic as industries shuttered operations,” he said. “What we’re building really is at the confluence of autonomy, lightweight electric platforms, shared mobility, and that’s a really key piece of driving a solution to carbon emissions.”

Competing with giants such as Facebook and Amazon for talent presents its challenges, but working for a sustainable business can be a strong recruiting tool.

“Everybody who joins Crisp feels like they have a connection to the mission that we have as a company,” Traasdahl said. He pointed to an internal survey which showed that 46% of employees have an “idealistic focus” in terms of their career, some three times the market average.

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A software CEO reveals how she used the lessons of the pandemic to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace

Panel at Insider's Future of Work virtual event, June 29, 2021, featuring Insider's Rebecca Knight and Jessie Woolley-Wilson, CEO of educational-software firm DreamBox
Insider’s Rebecca Knight (l) interviews Jessie Woolley-Wilson, CEO of educational-software firm, DreamBox

  • DreamBox CEO Jessie Woolley-Wilson says diversity should be leveraged for success.
  • Employers must understand what workers want and need, as they now have the upper hand.
  • This was part of Insider’s event “What’s next: CEOs on How Talent Drives Transformation,” presented by ProEdge, a PwC Product, on June 29.
  • Click here to watch a recording of the full event.

There’s a wealth of evidence that suggests diverse, equal, and inclusive workplaces are more successful – but the pandemic and death of George Floyd forced leaders to truly reckon with this reality.

“Instead of focusing on how to manage diversity, we need to pivot to focus on how to leverage diversity,” Jessie Woolley-Wilson, CEO of educational-software firm DreamBox, said during Insider’s recent virtual event “What’s next: CEOs on How Talent Drives Transformation” presented by ProEdge from PwC, which took place June 29. “If you really believe that diversity is something to be leveraged and it doesn’t feel like just another project or another obligation, it feels like an opportunity.”

The conversation, titled “Diversity and innovation define the future of work,” was between Woolley-Wilson and Rebecca Knight, senior correspondent for careers and the workplace at Insider.

“Starting out as a woman of color in financial services, the expectations for excellence were either really high or really low,” Woolley-Wilson said. “We believe at DreamBox that diversity is required in order to build empathetic and relevant learning experiences.”

At the height of the pandemic, Woolley-Wilson said she took the unusual step of making the DreamBox digital platform free to help families, students, and teachers combat the equity gaps in education exacerbated by COVID-19.

Internally, she also oriented DreamBox to be guided by three simple principles: take care of each other, take care of our customers, and then by definition, we’ll be taking care of the company.

“We’re at an inflection point,” she said, referring to low unemployment and the changing job market. “The pendulum is swinging, and the leverage is swinging more in the employee camp.”

Woolley-Wilson said the last year highlighted that workplaces need to be more adaptive to the needs of women and racial minorities. Some women might need to work from home more, while others might not have a home environment that’s conducive to work and need to spend more time in the office.

“It’s about being intelligently adaptive, it’s about metabolizing new data, new stimuli from the environment, and meeting people where they are – just like we do with the platform and every individual learner,” she said.

DreamBox also hosts a monthly meeting – the most well-attended meeting company-wide, Woolley-Wilson said – to talk about diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.

“We talked about hard topics like racial bias or white privilege, we talk about things that happen in the current news cycle,” she said. “All those are dealt with in a very open and authentic way.”

She added that MBA programs of the future are going to have to teach leaders how to create “positive gravity” so the best talent chooses them.

“We’re going to have to make sure that organizations are overt and explicit about what they value, because employees now – from the first day of the interview to the first day of onboarding to their first anniversary and beyond – are unapologetic and very courageous and very intentional about what they want and what they need in their professional environment,” she said.

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How major PR firms Ogilvy and Weber Shandwick are preparing for the new hybrid workplace

A panel discussion at Insider's Future of Work Event, June 29, 2021, featuring Insider's Tanya Dua, Gail Heimann, CEO of Weber Shandwick, and Devika Bulchandani, North America CEO of Ogilvy.
Insider’s Tanya Dua (L) interviews Gail Heimann (C), CEO of Weber Shandwick, and Devika Bulchandani (R), North America CEO of Ogilvy.

  • Businesses are investing in processes and technologies to manage the new normal.
  • Two CEOs said now is an opportunity to foster inclusion and positive well-being in the workplace.
  • This was part of Insider’s “What’s next: CEOs on How Talent Drives Transformation” presented by ProEdge, a PwC Product.
  • Click here to watch a recording of the full event.

As the US opens up, more and more employees are telling their bosses they want flexible and hybrid working arrangements.

“Three-quarters of our individuals around the world said flexibility is what they want,” Devika Bulchandani, North America CEO of Ogilvy, said.

Bulchandani said that Ogilvy, like many other firms, is also looking at a 3/2 working model and considering other positive changes it can introduce.

“We also shrunk our real-estate footprint because that allows us to reinvest into different areas of the business and reinvest into our people and what they need going forward,” she said.

She added that they’re instituting three compulsory days off per quarter for each employee to manage burnout.

“Just because we did it doesn’t mean we’re going to do it again,” she said. “Things like, do people need to travel to a meeting? Let’s ask ourselves why.”

Bulchandani said that she’s telling her staff to question whether there’s a perspective missing from the room in terms of gender, race, or disability, as well as capability.

“I have a different skillset, would this team do better? And then my question is, ‘Am I just thinking about New York, or should I be thinking about somebody from our Minneapolis office?'” she said.

In a similar vein, Heimann said that the “democratic” and inclusive nature of the virtual world is something her firm is trying to maintain as employees return to work.

Office space, she said, “will be a creative nexus, it will be a collaboration nexus, it will be a team nexus.” As for remote offices, Heimann said that they’re looking at a broad range of technologies that do more than simply combat “Zoom fatigue.”

“I think that the new age is going to be a little more immersive, more gaming-like, and those are the ones we’re testing,” she said. Weber Shandwick also hired a chief workforce innovation officer and a chief impact officer to push leadership toward “transformation that puts inclusion at the heart.”

“We talked to client after client about the need to solve at the intersections and therefore put together agile, cross-functional teams to bring that ability to clients again,” she said.

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