When leadership turns toxic: The fine line between being tough and being a bully

 

By Karlyn Borysenko

Shortly after Senator Amy Klobuchar announced her bid to become the next Democratic nominee for president, horror stories began popping up detailing years of consistent abusive treatment of her staff. The reports contended that her reputation made it difficult to recruit someone to manage her presidential campaign. In response, Klobuchar’s supporters argued that she was being targeted due to her gender and that a man in her position would be considered “tough” instead of toxic.

While it certainly is true that assertive women are much more likely to be viewed as bossy or unlikable than their male counterparts who engage in exactly the same behaviors, we can’t assume that just because someone is a woman, it means that her behaviors towards her staff are being wrongly characterized when charges of toxicity are made. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, 30% of workplace bullies are women, and according to a recent study more than two-thirds of women have reported being a target of workplace bullying by a female boss.

So, how can you tell the difference between when your boss is being tough and when they’ve crossed the line into workplace bullying, regardless of the gender they identify with? Where is the line? Here are some differentiators to consider.

Tough bosses have bad days. Bullies are consistently bad.

According to Bartlett and Bartlett, workplace bullying is defined as “the experience of repeated and unwelcomed negative acts such as criticism and humiliation, occurring at a place of employment, that are intended to cause fear, distress, and harm to the target from one or more individuals in any source of power over the target, where the target has difficulties defending him or herself.” Continue reading

The Human Factor in Digital Transformation Projects

By Sami Mahroum

 

How the people working in government manage tech-driven innovation.

The public sector is the largest employer in the world. In OECD countries, nearly 23 percent of the total workforce is employed by government agencies. Around the world, this figure ranges from 5 percent in Japan to much higher in countries like Saudi Arabia (35 percent), Russia (40 percent) and India (55 percent). Small countries like Estonia and Singapore – leaders in smart government initiatives – also have sizeable public sector employment (22 and 32 percent, respectively). It is surprising therefore that few, if any, studies have been done on the effect of ongoing technology-driven governmental transformation on the people who deliver it. That is, of course, unless something goes wrong, like in the case of Phoenix, the Canadian federal payment system, SKAT, the Danish tax agency or the Obamacare portal.

To shed light on this topic, INSEAD and EY teamed up to launch an in-depth study of five major digital transformation projects in five very different countries. The study began with the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and went on to study the Federal Tax Service in Moscow, the digitalisation foundation called BiscayTIK in Bilbao, the national ID administration AgID in Rome and the national employment agency Pôle emploi in Paris.

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WHAT IS TOP TALENT AND HOW IS THAT IDENTIFIED?

As a part of our talent acquisition engagements, we ask our clients how they define “top talent” and how they would assess those traits in the interview process. Reflecting on the insightful comments we hear every day, we thought there would be great value in a new blog in which senior executives/thought leaders share their “Take on Talent.”

This is the seventeenth in a series of blogs/interviews with senior executives who are thought leaders in the areas of Talent Acquisition, Career Development and Leadership who will share their perspectives on this ever present question.

 

 Paul is the President of Thirdbridge, a high growth, private equity backed disrupter in the research space. Third Bridge provides institutional investors like private equity firms, hedge funds and mutual funds with the information that they need to make better investments.

Before joining Third Bridge, Paul was President of Axiom Law, the leading disrupter in the corporate legal industry, where he scaled the business and oversaw a six-fold increase in size. He also held senior roles at American Express and BCG, and has a wealth of experience across the US, Asia and Europe.

Paul has a Masters of Business Administration from Melbourne Business School.

Find out more about Paul on LinkedIn.” Continue reading

Aim for Transformation, Not Change

by Vip Vyas, CEO of Distinctive Performance, and Diego Nannicini (INSEAD MBA ‘14J), Associate Consultant at Distinctive Performance

Transformation creates attractive futures, while change mends the past.

In May 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled Google Duplex, a new virtual AI assistant with a hyper-realistic voice. Attendees of this year’s Google I/O conference listened to a recording of Duplex making a hair salon appointment, then a restaurant reservation. Both conversations were so natural that the humans on the phone probably had no clue they were talking to an AI entity.

Within hours, videos of the presentation went viral, racking up millions of hits. The world had just witnessed a stunning transformation. A multitude of possibilities immediately flooded the minds of viewers. A new future in the field of human-machine interaction had begun.

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Talent Management and the Dual-Career Couple

by Jennifer Petriglieri

As the head of a large manufacturing plant at a multinational conglomerate, an executive I’ll call David had proved himself a competent, trustworthy manager. So when the presidency of one of the company’s key businesses unexpectedly became vacant, the CEO sat David down to share the good news that he had been chosen for the role. He had earned it.

Sudden career announcements like this are actually pretty common. Even so, David was caught off guard and didn’t know what to say. The head of HR—who was at the meeting—sensed his surprise. Though the offer may have come earlier than expected, she explained, his current boss had been consulted and supported the move. It was a golden opportunity for David, and everyone was rooting for him to succeed. He would have time to make all the necessary arrangements, the CHRO added, and the company would gladly help his family move to the other side of the country, where the business he would run was based. He would start in four weeks.

After asking a few questions and learning about the generous raise that would come with the promotion, David thanked the CEO and the CHRO warmly and promised to discuss the opportunity with his wife that evening. “Of course,” they replied, smiling.

They were shocked when David turned down the offer the next day. He was committed to the company and to his career, he said, but he was also committed to his wife’s career. She had a challenging final year to complete in her surgery residency program, and a move now would hurt her. David suggested various options—taking on the role at a later date, commuting for a period, or working remotely. The CEO rejected them all. “Leadership is about showing up,” he snapped. Continue reading