Criteria for Success: Characteristics of Top Virtual Leaders and Team Members

The most effective virtual team leaders balance both the execution-oriented practices and the interpersonal, communication, and cultural factors that define virtual teams. Therefore, organizations should select leaders who possess those key characteristics. When assigning a leader, take the time to select the individual with the appropriate skills—and not just go with the first person to volunteer or someone who already happens to lead a team or the person with the best technical skills.  In addition, periodically assess the leaders’ effectiveness and provide targeted feedback about how they can enhance their performance. Great leaders will be happy to learn what...


#NextChat Recap: "What's Holding Women Back?"

We Know Next conducted an eye-opening #NextChat discussion on May 23 about "What’s Holding Women Back" with special guest Laurie Ruettimann.

The conversation took many turns as participants exchanged opinions about generational attitudes toward women in the C-suite. They questioned whether organizations with women at the helm had greater workplace flexibility and agreed that moving the needle forward would require more companies to learn how to think outside the “manbox.” Would more senior men sponsor talented women in their organizations if their bonuses depended on it? Or have all the training videos on sexual harassment caused men to...


Career Development: An Ongoing Maintenance Program

During the economic downturn and continuing post-recession there has been an increased need for career development programs and services as individuals who were laid-off, some after many years in one career, found themselves faced with an uncertain future.  Many began the often challenging task of re-assessing and creating new career patterns and determining how to integrate their work style, their personal needs, their values, and their sense of self as they planned for their future. 

Some individuals were fortunate in that they continued to work for organizations who structured internal career progress for their employees, providing assistance as...


Training & Development: Why More Employers Will Be Off the Hook

Eighty percent of learning in the workplace is informal, according to Jay Cross and a number of other researchers. That means that 20 percent of the learning is formal, structured training, organized, funded and required by employers.

Think about it. When your boss gives you a new task with no instruction or direction, you will likely turn to a coworker or search engine to guide you. In certain environments, particularly professional services (consulting), you are likely to be challenged in this manner several times a week, if not daily.

Also, when it comes to cross-functional groups within the workplace,...


Six Ways to Prevent Becoming An Accidental Leader

The mind-boggling stories of unintentional leadership breathe color into every headline. From the Coach of the New Orleans Saints to John Edwards to the “improper conduct” of HP and Best Buy CEOs, it is almost difficult to be surprised anymore.

Each incident, however, is exacting an additional toll on leadership, forcing the rest of us leaders to stay vigilant to the power we wield.

Here are two irritating examples of accidental leadership creating missed opportunity to intentionally lead:

Lady Gaga’s Missed Opportunity

Superstar Lady Gaga has protested against cruelty to animals. (even wearing a dress...


#NextChat: What's Holding Women Back?

According to the latest research from McKinsey & Company, while 53 percent of new workers entering the workforce are female, only 3 percent of CEOs are women. Complicating this statistic are individuals and organizations who limit women’s ability to advance in their careers due to outdated attitudes and limited --  if not zero -- workplace flexibility. 

Jack Welch once said, "There's no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences."  Do you agree with Jack? 

Women can -- and should – stay in the game by thinking about their purpose, what...


HR Can Help Second-Generation Family Business Leaders Succeed

When she was the director of organizational development at a family-run auto parts manufacturer employing 3,000 workers, Amy Schuman had an odd experience.

“I remember when the 10-year-old son of the owner came to lunch at the cafeteria one day. Suddenly, you got the sense that he could be your boss,” she said in an interview with SHRM Online.

As disconcerting as it might be to run into your future supervisor while he’s still a child, HR professionals can help ease the leadership transition from one generation to the next by making sure that upcoming presidents and...


#Nextchat Recap: Creating Generational Engagement with Reverse Mentoring

"Every generation needs a new revolution.” – Thomas Jefferson

On May 16 at 3 p.m. ET, We Know Next conducted a lively and insightful #NextChat discussion on "Creating Generational Engagement with Reverse Mentoring" with Next Official Blogger, Microsoft's Ross Smith and his reverse mentor Prem Kumar.

Ross and Prem shared their experiences with reverse mentoring and explained how leaders should think differently about managing multiple age groups.

Reverse mentoring helps to remove stereotypes. It also increases employee engagement, trust and collaboration.  As Ross tweeted, "It's all about exposure to different thinking, which helps spark creativity and innovation for all."...


Are you a "people developer" or just a "red pen"?

Michael was a Director at a medium-sized company. A self-proclaimed perfectionist, he had equally high expectations of his direct reports. He began with the company when they were first formed and had the luxury of hiring and training his own team. Like so many young leaders, he struggled with delegation. Michael was a work horse. He could crank out work like nobody’s business, and many times, found it easier to do things himself rather than engage the team he had hired. His team of professionals was relegated to less than fulfilling work for much of the time.




We all know that powerful women face Catch-22s.  When Donald Trump exercises control, he is in control. When Martha Stewart exercises control, she is controlling.  Same behaviors; different labels.

A lot has been written about these Catch-22s.  Less has been written on how women with power can handle them.

Here are three of the many Catch-22s women with power face and my suggestions for how to navigate them.

1. Ice Queen

Women who maintain emotional control are sometimes described as Ice Queens.  Of course, those who demonstrate emotion may be equally criticized.

I once had a...