How do leaders recognize the power gaps within their organizations and speak the cultural languages necessary to bridge these gaps? Jane Hyun, author of Flex: The New Playbook for Managing Across Differences, is an expert in cultural fluency. She defines it as an essential leadership skill for navigating today’s fast-paced, increasingly global business world.
In this masterclass, Hyun shares her insights into what leaders and managers can do to close power gaps, stressing the importance of “flex leadership”, or the art of switching between leadership styles to effectively communicate with people who are different from you.
What You'll Learn
How to manage multicultural teams effectively
How to onboard and work with millennial employees
How to lead new and different employees cost-effectively
- Fortune 500 Executive Coach, Former VP at JP Morgan
1. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Today’s workplace is multicultural, multigenerational, and far more complex than the office of yesteryear. Rather than blustering or bullying their way through these changes, good leaders learn to adapt to the new reality by becoming fluent in leading and communicating with people who may think differently than they do. Jane Hyun, co-author of Flex, has some specific advice for leaders trying to make this transition.Move beyond the Golden RuleAdapt your leadership style to match the different communication preferences of your employees.Prepare for each interactionAcknowledge that your default mode of communication may not work for this individual.Pre-engagement Questions: 1. What is he/she thinking? 2. How do I best connect with this person? 3.How can I put myself in the other person’s shoes?
2. The Art of Flexing in Practice
“Fluent leadership” across gaps in age, gender, power, and culture is a great idea in theory, but how do you actually do it? How do you learn to “flex” in ways that genuinely improve your effectiveness and relationships with people who think and act differently from you?The basic principles are very simple––intuitive, even: know yourself and work to understand others. Why start with self-knowledge? Because most miscommunication begins with the unconscious assumptions we make about other people and the way we expect things to go. If you’re a forceful, direct personality, you may assume that quiet or indirect people are being insincere or hiding something, when in fact they may just be a bit introverted, or acculturated to a more diplomatic style. If you have a formal, traditional leadership style you may misread a younger person’s casual approach as insubordination, rather than a hallmark of her generation.Flex Individuals: Managers who can switch between leadership styles to...
3. The Art of Flexing in Theory
Today in “not-really-news-to-anybody”: the workforce is changing fast, toward greater diversity in gender, culture, and age. Yet businesses are failing on a grand scale to engage these new and different employees, resulting, according to Gallup, in a $500 billion loss to industry in 2015.Why? According to Jane Hyun, co-author of Flex: The New Playbook for Managing Across Differences, many managers need to work on their “flex”––their ability to work effectively with people who are significantly different from them in some way.Flex: The art of switching between leadership styles to better communicate with people who are different from you.Multicultural workers, women, and millennials are responsible for key demographic shifts in the workforce. Managers must learn to engage and motivate new kinds of talent. In the U.S., the cost of disengaged employees in this diverse, modern workforce is about half a trillion dollars per year, according to a Gallup poll.Power Gap: The amount of ...
4. Engage Millennials
Many businesses are baffled by millennials. Managers complain that new hires aren’t satisfied “paying their dues”––that they have outsize, high-flown goals that don’t align with the organization’s needs. The intergenerational failure to communicate results in prejudices on both sides and high disengagement among young people at work. Obviously dismissing an entire generation is not the answer. Jane Hyun suggests that managers learn to “flex” in onboarding and working with millennial employees, creating a culture that engages and inspires them while advancing the goals of the business.Focus on onboardingUse onboarding to train young employees in for formal rules and informal norms of your organization. Set expectations and engage them in the process.Provide growth opportunitiesGive millennials a chance to contribute, explore, or expand outside of their daily job functions. What projects, employee resources groups, career development, or collaborative opportunities can you pr...