Improve your organization's diversity and inclusion to achieve your business goals and create a more adaptable, innovative place to work.
(engaging music) - Flex is the art of switching between leadership styles in order to better effectively communicate with people who are different from you. So different from you generationally, culturally, and across the gender divide. It's about stretching your leadership style and not fundamentally changing who you are and about adapting to the people across from you so that you can get the best results. Well, the workforce is changing and has been changing for a number of years. I believe multicultural workers make up 36% of the population. Women make up nearly half of the workforce and I think make up something like 70% of buying decisions and certainly millennials are increasingly a bigger part of the workforce as well, and so, there are so many demographic changes that are impacting our workforce, but I don't know if managers are always certain about how to work with this new workforce, how to better engage and motivate these new workers that are entering to the workforce. In addition to that, there's a cost of not flexing. So for example, I think the Gallup study last year said something about 450 to $550 billion of loss due to disengaged employees. So you might have employees that you've hired into the organization that maybe have one foot out the door, that really don't feel motivated and engaged and don't feel like the organization is really speaking to them, and so for this and many reasons, I think there's such a business case and an opportunity for the organization to create a value proposition for their employees if they can get this right. (engaging music) The power gap is a pretty critical element in the art of flexing. The power gap is the amount of social distance that exists between yourself and people who are in positions of authority, and if you're the manager, the distance that exists between yourself and your team members, and so you can have a small power gap or a large power gap. If you have a small power gap, it's more of an egalitarian relationship where even as a manager, you see yourself as more of a coach, or a guide and you have a very informal relationship with your colleagues. If you have a high power gap and you're the employee, you see your leader as maybe more of an authority figure and there's a huge gap between yourself and that corner office, and so the way that we see the power gap play out in the workplace is pretty important, that we think as we think about the art of the flexing, understanding the dynamics of the power gap, particularly as it relates to generational and cultural differences can play a big part in your effectiveness. (engaging music) So as you work across these differences, your goal then is to be a fluent leader. Fluent leader is someone who can effectively work with people who are different from them. So the six critical traits that a fluent leader needs to have are as follows. The first one being someone who possesses self and other awareness, very keenly aware of his or her own preferences but also beginning to be aware of some of the differences of others. Comfort with ambiguity and complexity. Another one is adaptability. Another one is someone who demonstrates unconditional positive regard for others, even in moments of vulnerability and difficulty. Another one is someone who can flex across that power gap, and then of course, someone who can innovate and demonstrate that ability to bring that, bring out that voice from others as well. I want to encourage everyone to really think about how they might develop fluent leadership skills. I think sometimes with leadership and some of these training courses that we go to people assume that, well, some people are just better at this than others, right? And that's somewhat true to a certain degree, but I think developing fluency across cultures, across generational differences, and across knowing how to work with people who are from a different background, I think that's something we can all learn. We never master it all, right? We continue to develop it as we meet someone who's different from us, as we work with another global office that we've never worked with before, as we continually work with people who are from different thought perspectives, and it's really about how do we engage diversity of thought, how do we work with people who think differently from us and who have even maybe different value judgments than us, and how do we engage in that dialogue, and if we can get in a good constructive dialogue with someone else, we're halfway there, and so I think this is something that we should all aspire to getting better at. (engaging music)
This course includes videos from:
Jane Hyun, an internationally renowned executive coach and leadership strategist
Kathryn Minshew, founder and CEO of The Muse, a career discovery platform
Wendy Luhabe, South African social entrepreneur
Nilofer Merchant, marketing expert and TED speaker ("Sitting Is the Smoking of Our Generation")
Claire Groen, vice president of litigation and deputy general counsel at Amway
Note: This course was produced by Big Think. We are pleased to host this content in our library.