How to Report to a Younger Boss

“I do not feel that my years of experience are valued or respected by my boss or coworkers,” wrote an employee on an employee satisfaction survey that I recently administered for a client. Most of the employees of this organization are very young, with only a few older workers below the executive level. This comment surprised both me and my client, but I recognized it as a symptom of the generational shift change taking place in the United States. Joanne Kaufman, writing for the New York Times, reports on a 2014 Harris Interactive survey conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder, a job recruitment website, which found that 38 percent of American workers now have a younger boss. Many baby boomers are choosing to stay in the workforce longer, and as large cohorts of millennials and gen Xers—highly valued digitial natives—move into leadership positions, Kaufman notes that “the odds are increasing that older workers will be answering to managers young enough to be their children.” Here are some tips for how to deal with what can be a challenging but valuable relationship in the workplace across generations:

  • Older workers need to recognize that younger bosses have valuable experience that is different than theirs because of technology and other experiences.
  • Younger bosses need to value the experience and reliability that older workers bring.
  • Older workers need to check their parental reflexes to offer advice if it has not been asked for.
  • Older workers need to reign in their reflex to talk about the past in a way that can sound patronizing to younger bosses.
  • Younger bosses need to appreciate both the work ethic and the absence of petty drama that most older workers bring to the workplace.
The generational divide is just another diversity issue, and we can all learn to value each other. As with any relationship, it takes two to tango. What has worked for you?   Photo courtesy of WOCinTech Chat. CC by 2.0]]>

Focusing Competition to Enhance Productivity

It’s a myth that the gender wage gap exists because women are not as competitive as men. A recent McKinsey study found that women negotiate as often as men for promotions and raises, a form of competition, but they receive more negative feedback when they do. Coren Apicella and Johanna Mollerstrom’s new research, published in the New York Times, shows that while women and men do sometimes compete differently, women can be just as competitive as men. Apicella and Mollerstrom report that women do shy away from some—but not all—types of competition more than men. In an experiment conducted by the researchers, women chose to compete against another person less often than was true for men, but they were just as likely to choose self-competition. Women and men were equally likely to choose to compete against themselves to improve their own previous score—and equally likely to improve their performance. Apicella and Mollerstrom also found that women were more willing to compete against other women than against men. This agrees with my own research findings on women’s relationships in the workplace, published in my book New Rules for Women: Revolutionizing the Way Women Work Together. The competitive feelings between women colleagues, which can result in unsupportive behaviors, happen for a reason: organizations actually set up women to feel competitive with one another. This happens when women see very few other women in senior leadership positions. As one of my research participants explained: You’re playing a game with men because there are so few women at the top. Because there are few slots for women, you see the successful women as your competition. You don’t really see the whole pie or all the people out there as your competition.  

What Bosses Can Do

When managers and supervisors understand the gender differences I’ve described here, they can adjust strategies, motivating women to engage in healthy competition that promotes growth and productivity. Here are some strategies:
  • Create opportunities that focus on self-improvement and mastery rather than competition with colleagues.
  • Provide feedback to female employees about their relative performance compared with male and female peers so that they can decide whether or not to compete with others.
  • Raise awareness for women about the propensity of women to shy away from conflict so that they can reflect on why they may not feel comfortable competing with others.
  • Encourage women to support other women in a caring and genuine way and openly celebrate their successes.
  • Help women create a positive mindset about competing with other women rather than against other women as a win/win approach that can encourage each to do her best.
What are your feelings about competition? What have you learned about managing women and supporting their success in the workplace? Let us hear from you.   Photo courtesy of WOCinTech Chat. CC by 2.0]]>

Strategic Relationships at Work: Creating Your Circle of Mentors, Sponsors, and Peers for Success in Business and Life—A Book Review

Wendy Murphy and Kathy E. Kram have written an important book about why we all need developmental support networks for both career success and personal well-being—and how to develop those networks. The book is practical and easy to read, with lots of research-based examples and tips. Reflection activities at the end of each chapter encourage the reader to apply the concepts immediately to her own career and life. What I found most interesting were these points about mentoring that I had not considered: Formal and informal mentors. The authors reviewed scores of studies and conducted several of their own that revealed that having a formal mentor, often assigned in a workplace program, is valuable but not enough. We need a network of mentors, both formal and informal, to reach our goals and enable us to “cope with stress and thrive during times of change.” Trends in the changing nature of work. These trends require that we take charge of our career development and have multiple types and sources of mentoring. The authors identified the most significant trends as the following:

  1. Job mobility—it is not uncommon for people to work in multiple organizations during their working lives.
  2. Globalization—the world we live in is increasingly connected, and we need to keep learning from different people how to be effective across cultures and national boundaries.
  3. Technology—technology creates new challenges for how to both engage and disengage from work.
  4. Pace of change—the pace of change has become very fast and can be overwhelming. We need to be able to adapt and change continually.
Essential skills for developing your network. The authors note that the basic ingredients for developing a productive mentoring network are relationship-building skills. Core to relationship skills are self-awareness and social skills. Social skills include listening, giving and receiving feedback, empathy, conflict management, and the ability and willingness to share aspects of your story. Concrete suggestions for how to develop these skills are included in this book, as well as in Daniel Goleman’s book Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships. How to develop a mentor. The authors encourage readers to be proactive and reach out to people who are potential mentors. They suggest some steps to take in this process:
  1. Get clear about your own strengths and career goals. Select potential mentors who might know something or someone who could help you move forward on your path.
  2. Invite a potential mentor for coffee or lunch for an informational interview.
  3. Ask thought-provoking questions, such as the following:
    1. Could you tell me about your career path? How did you get to the position you are in today?
    2. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned from each promotion or change?
    3. What are the best and worst aspects of your current job? Of your current organization?
    4. How would you advise someone who wanted to follow a similar career path?
Types of mentors. A recent article in the Boston Globe suggests there are three kinds of informal mentors who meet different types of needs:
  1. The co-mentor—someone who is your equal with whom you can exchange skills, knowledge, and encouragement.
  2. The remote mentor—someone outside of your organization who can give you a fresh perspective.
  3. The invisible mentor—someone who you can learn from with little or no direct interaction. This can be a role model who inspires you and whom you may never meet in person.
Other tips. Diversity matters. Be intentional about developing informal mentoring relationships with people from different social contexts than your own. Broader perspectives can challenge your thinking and open up new networks for you. This book is worth spending some time with. Each career move and stage of life brings new challenges in choosing and navigating your path. Periodically update your mentoring network to keep it fresh and diverse so that you have the support you need throughout your life. We all need support.]]>

Why All Leaders Need Emotional Intelligence

A friend and colleague, whom we will call Martha, recently voluntarily resigned from her new job because she felt disrespected and disliked by her new woman boss, who hired her. Martha is a senior human resources (HR) professional who, after a long and successful career in large multinational businesses, decided to move her career within a sector more aligned with her values. She was excited to be hired as the number two leader in the HR department of a respected academic community, but one year later she chose to leave. She explained that she simply could not continue to work for a leader who did not seem able to connect with her, acknowledge her work, show any warmth or caring toward her as a person, or give her performance feedback of any kind, and who discouraged teamwork as well. In short, Martha’s new boss lacked emotional intelligence (EQ). Teressa Moore Griffin writes about leadership effectiveness in general, and EQ in particular. She has described the groundbreaking research by Daniel Goleman, who looked at 188 large corporations and found that “leaders with high EQ were 20 percent more productive and profitable than their counterparts.” In a later publication, Goleman identified four fundamental capabilities required for EQ:

  1. Self-Awareness—understanding your emotions and their impact on others
  2. Self-Management—the ability to keep disruptive emotions under control and demonstrate honesty, integrity, adaptability, and a readiness to take initiative
  3. Social Awareness—the ability to show empathy and take an active interest in the experiences and concerns of others
  4. Social Skill—the ability to develop others through feedback and guidance and to listen, form relationships, and promote cooperation and build teams
Clearly, Martha’s boss lacked at least three out of the four basic competencies for EQ, which resulted in her organization’s unnecessary loss of a highly skilled professional. Martha explained that she loved her work responsibilities and her staff and had great relationships with her constituents within and outside of the institution. But when she realized that she had a knot in her stomach all the time (a first in her career) and was starting to dread going to work on days when her boss would be in the office, she knew she could not continue feeling that way. She made one last attempt in a face-to-face meeting to explain to her boss that they were not connecting, and that she did not feel listened to or acknowledged. She got no meaningful response and resigned. I have written in a previous article about why women and men in leadership need to be more relational with female staff. When I asked Martha whether she thought her expectations of relationship and subsequent disappointment with this recent boss might have been higher because this boss is a woman, she thoughtfully explained that she has worked for many male HR leaders, and male bosses can be dumb about relationships, but they usually know it and will ask for help. They are more likely to ask a woman for help than to ask another man, but they will ask because they understand the importance of having motivated and productive employees and teams. They also tend to give performance feedback because they understand that developing people is part of leadership. Is your EQ where you need it to be for maximum effectiveness in all aspects of your life? Take this quiz to test your emotional intelligence. There is always room to grow to become a better leader, parent, family member, community leader—you get the picture!   Photo credit: Image courtesy of stockimages at]]>

Our Discomfort with Powerful Women: What We Can Do

I recently met a woman from India while we both waited for a train. The first question she asked me was, “Why have you never elected a woman leader in the United States, as we have done in India?” All I could say was, “That’s a good question.” She went on to ask, “Do you think Hillary Clinton will win the election this time? Is the United States ready yet for a woman leader?” I truthfully answered, “I really don’t feel confident that we are ready. The facts are not very encouraging—and I hope I’m wrong.” In a recent article in the New York Times, Bryce Covert cited these discouraging facts:

  • There has not yet been a woman elected to the White House.
  • The US Congress is less than 20 percent female.
  • In 2009, the year after Hillary Clinton conceded the nomination for president to Barack Obama, 13.5 percent of the top jobs in Fortune 500 companies were occupied by women. By 2013, that number rose to only 14.6 percent.
Covert goes on to note two troubling trends:
  • Women and minorities usually make it to corporate leadership in times of crisis.
  • They face backlash and added challenges once they get there that men don’t face.
Covert cited one study of large companies on the London Stock Exchange, which found that those companies who had put women on their boards “had just experienced consistently bad stock performance, while companies were generally stable before they appointed men.” Covert also cited a large study of all the promotions to chief executive at Fortune 500 companies over a fifteen-year period. The study found that “a company’s return on equity was consistently and significantly negative just before a woman or a minority got the job.” Because companies are commonly in crisis when women get the chance to take a senior leadership role, it is harder for women to succeed and more likely that they will be forced out and blamed for the problems. The second trend shows that once hired, women and minorities face challenges and forms of backlash that make success more difficult. Covert cited polling that shows both women and men prefer to have men in senior executive positions. (I have written in a previous article about the preference for male bosses.) In addition, Covert reported research on backlash against women when they act assertively at work. He noted that “female leaders are more likely to be called abrasive, strident, aggressive and even emotional.”  Women of color are also more likely to be called angry and militant when they act assertively. (Read more about this dynamic in another of my previous articles.)

What We Can Do to Help Pave the Way for Women Leaders

Because all change has to start with ourselves, we can take steps to fix these problems:
  1. Support women’s leadership in general. Remember, studies show that both women and men prefer having men as leaders, so we can reverse this trend by starting to be more supportive, in general, of women leaders at all levels and positions.
  2. Notice your own reflex reactions to quickly judge or feel uncomfortable with women leaders. I recently caught myself starting to be critical of a book by a well-known woman. I challenged myself to look for the value in the book, and I found plenty of value. Challenge yourself to ask, “What else could be true?” when you find yourself with an urge to negatively judge a woman.
  3. Whatever your political persuasion, challenge others when they judge a woman candidate as too aggressive, too ambitious, strident, or angry. These were many of the negative adjectives, often expressed by women, that were used to describe Hillary Clinton when she ran in 2008. Challenge people to speak about qualifications, facts, and issues, instead of personal characteristics.
Yes, we have work to do as a country to be ready to elect a female president, but by pushing through our unconscious bias and making conscious choices based on awareness, facts, and issues we can get ready to support women leaders. We can challenge ourselves and others to become aware of unconscious bias that stacks the deck against women leaders. Think about how important it is for girls to have more role models so that they are encouraged to aspire to be all they can be. Your decisions today will impact their future.   Image credit: Photo courtesy of Ralf Roletschek, Wikimedia Commons  ]]>

Do You Need a Thicker Skin at Work? Three Tips for Surviving Criticism

study reported by Tara Mohr in the New York Times shows that women have more need to be prepared to handle negative feedback. The study, conducted by Kieran Snyder for found that female employees were given more negative performance reviews than their male counterparts by both male and female managers. The nail in the coffin, though, is that this study also found that “76 percent of the negative feedback given to women included some kind of personality criticism, such as comments that the woman was ‘abrasive,’ or ‘judgmental,’ or ‘strident.’ Only 2 percent of men’s critical reviews included negative personality comments.” These numbers speak to the double bind that women find themselves in when they have to be competent—which includes making tough decisions and getting their ideas heard—while coming across as nice to everyone. Other studies suggest that for women to be perceived as both competent and likeable is probably impossible. Women don’t need a thicker skin at work because we’re somehow weak or fragile—an enduring stereotype used to justify why women are not promoted into leadership in greater numbers. Not only is performance feedback to women more negative, but we Western women also carry in our cellular memory the legacy of a not-so-distant past when our survival depended on being acceptable to power-wielding men. Not so long ago, Western women could not count on protection from the law, could not own property, and could not have bank accounts. Many women around the globe today still have no rights and are dependent on those with power to protect them. When others who are powerful at work are disapproving of us, we can feel like their criticism is the worst possible outcome—because, for a long time, disapproval was life threatening for us. Of course, we want to realize our potential at work and be seen as competent. What this means, though, is that we must, as competent women, learn to expect criticism and learn to manage it on our own terms, grow from it, and not let it undermine our confidence or damage our self-esteem. Here are some tips for how to deal with criticism at work:

  1. Be aware of the big picture. Read about recent research documenting the special challenges that women face in the workplace. Form a book group with colleagues at work, both women and men, to read and discuss several recent books about challenges women face in the workplace. Form a Lean In Circle. These are all good ways to get helpful context for understanding that negative feedback is part of the territory for competent women. Understanding the big picture will help you keep some perspective and sort out what is useful feedback from what may not be about you at all.
  2. Increase your awareness of your strengths. Being grounded in your sense of your own strengths is important. I often encourage the clients I coach to request feedback from coworkers, supervisors, family members, and friends about their strengths—not their weaknesses. We often don’t see ourselves as others see us, and we seldom get feedback on what we do well. Being grounded in your strengths will help you reflect on critical feedback. Feedback should always be considered for what might be useful, but being able to compare the feedback to what you know to be true about yourself and discard what doesn’t fit is crucial. Being self-aware is important, but, at the same time, remember that feedback is often more about the giver of the feedback: some people might be critical just because you are a competent woman.
  3. Build support, especially with other women. Create a “safe space” where you can share experiences and best practices for how to make sense of and cope with negative feedback. While our experiences are not all the same, of course, finding other women who have shared a particular experience in the workplace is helpful. Sharing best practices and hearing that you are not alone can help you stay focused on your career and your goals. Without this type of support, many women lose their confidence and their voice and then give up on their goals.
What has worked for you when you have gotten a negative performance review? Please post your comments, and let’s share best practices.]]>

When Talking about Bias Can Make a Situation Worse

recent New York Times article, Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg shared this brain teaser: A father and a son are in a car accident. The father is killed, and the son is seriously injured. The son is taken to the hospital where the surgeon says, “I cannot operate, because this boy is my son.” I confess that I felt stumped, but I could have kicked myself when I read on and saw the answer. Once again, I caught myself, in spite of all the work I have done on challenging gender stereotypes in myself and others, assuming the surgeon was a man—one of those enduring stereotypes about which gender belongs in a role. The doctor in this story was a woman, and the mother of the victim. This is a humbling reminder of how deeply embedded and unconscious the stereotypes we carry in us can be. Grant and Sandberg report that 40 to 75 percent of people today still can’t figure out the brain teaser above. I have previously written about the ways that gender bias might be creating barriers for women at work. In another recent article about the dearth of women in technology, Google was praised for instituting diversity-training workshops last year based on an emerging field in social psychology known as unconscious bias—the pervasive and hidden reflexive preferences that shape our worldviews and reactions to others. Grant and Sandberg point out, though, that the approach Google used can make the situation worse, if not handled carefully. They cite several recent research studies that show that making people aware of stereotypes about women actually decreased the likelihood that research participants would hire a female candidate or judge her likeable. Here’s the catch: we should not stop making people aware of stereotypes, but we have to be very careful about how we do it. Grant and Sandberg note that research shows that if we just say, “These stereotypes are deeply embedded and common in our society,” people seem to hear the message, “Everyone else is biased, so I don’t need to worry as much about what I say or do.” Instead, researchers say that what makes a difference is taking the additional step to be sure that we explicitly communicate the following messages about these biases:

  • These biases are undesirable and unacceptable.
  • Other people want to conquer these biases, and you should, too.
  • Most people don’t want to discriminate, and you shouldn’t either.
A lot of good news is coming out about the positive difference that gender balance can bring to the workplace and about the strengths women leaders bring. I suggest that we remind the people around us in the workplace of these positive facts to help motivate them, and ourselves, to move past gender biases:
  • Men are more confident, but women are more competent.
  • When women lead, performance improves.
  • Start-ups led by women are more likely to succeed.
  • Innovative firms with more women in top management are more profitable.
  • Companies with more gender balance have more revenue.
Let’s become aware of and point out gender discrimination and bias when we see it. I want gender bias to disappear. Shouldn’t your colleagues and your organization want this, too?]]>

Do You Have a Sponsor? (Not a Mentor)

experience of my clients and recent research show otherwise. Research conducted by Catalyst on 4,000 full-time employed women and men identified as “high potentials” found that women with the same education as their male counterparts, hired at the same time in the same roles, reported significantly less income, job satisfaction, and advancement within a few years of beginning their careers. The Catalyst investigation revealed that the men often received sponsorship, while women received mentorship. Sponsorship differs from mentorship because it goes beyond giving feedback and advice to using the sponsor’s influence with senior executives to advocate for opportunities for the employee. Catalyst’s research concluded that women are overmentored and undersponsored relative to male peers. A special report in 2012 by McKinsey & Company agrees that one of the important barriers to women’s advancement is structural because it is harder for women to get into the right networks of powerful executives. Sylvia Ann Hewlett, in her book, Forget a Mentor: Find a Sponsor, explains the difference between mentors and sponsors this way: mentors give; sponsors invest. She explains that both mentors and sponsors give advice and make introductions, but the difference is that sponsors go out on a limb for you and then make it their business to see you succeed because you carry their brand. In return, protégés work hard, provide a diverse perspective, and help the sponsor realize their vision and goals.

What You Can Do to Find a Sponsor

Sylvia Ann Hewlett suggests the following:
  1. Look around and identify leaders with influence, power, and a voice at decision-making tables. Your mentor may also help you identify potential sponsors.
  2. Choose a sponsor carefully. The people you consider don’t have to be your role models. You don’t have to like or emulate their leadership styles. They shouldn’t be your friends. Sponsors should be two levels above you in a large organization or have the ear of the founder or president in a smaller organization.
  3. Get in front of would-be sponsors (but don’t ask them to be your sponsor):
    1. Ask your manager for stretch assignments that will get you seen by your would-be sponsor.
    2. Request a meeting with your target sponsor for career advice.
    3. Approach your would-be sponsor with an idea for how you can help with a project of interest to him or her. Be concrete about the contribution you want to make, and explain what you are looking for in return (some possibilities include introductions, stretch opportunities or lateral moves).
    4. Cultivate more than one sponsor—one inside your organization and one outside.
Push yourself! And don’t forget to “pay it forward” by being a sponsor to others when the opportunity arises.]]>

Where Are the Women in Technology?

number of women in computer science has dropped off steeply in the last twenty years, while the technology industry has grown dramatically, and technology companies are complaining that they cannot find enough workers. Here are some interesting facts:

  • In 1985, women made up 37 percent of undergraduates majoring in computer sciences. In 2012, less than 18 percent were women, according to the National Science Foundation.
  • In 1990, 34 percent of those employed in computer occupations were women. By 2011, 27 percent were women, according to the US Census Bureau.
  • An editorial in the New York Times on October 25, 2014, shared that a 2008 report published by the Harvard Business Review found that women quit high-tech jobs at twice the rate of men.
  • At Microsoft, only 17 percent of the technological positions are occupied by women, which is average in the industry.
No one factor can explain the poor representation of women in technology, but the unwelcoming cultures and biases in many technology companies have to play a big part. Consider these challenges women face in technology environments:
  • Being the only woman on a team or in a meeting can get lonely.
  • Masculine workplace cultures often value or condone very combative and competitive behavior that is uncomfortable for many women.
  • Women often feel talked down to or are given subtle messages that they don’t belong in technology.
  • Some women feel their male bosses give credit to male peers for work they have done. They feel invisible.
There is a general cluelessness among many male leaders. The chief executive at Microsoft recently told a room full of professional women that they don’t need to ask for raises. They should just trust the system to be equitable, and they will get raises if their karma is good. Really? Where has he been? My niece recently graduated from engineering school where she was one of very few women. She now has her first job with a large aeronautics company, and she loves her job. She was crying when she called me one day recently. One of her male peers had said to her, “Forget about advancing here. Just look around. You’ll see that women don’t make it as engineers, and you won’t make it either.” She asked me, “Is it true?” This conversation with her broke my heart. A spate of recent articles have put a spotlight on the gender gap in technology companies. This attention is causing some of these companies to admit they need to change and become more welcoming to women. This is hopeful. Women are just as talented in math and science as men, and we want jobs that pay well like those in technology. What we need is the chance to work in environments where we can thrive. Let’s keep up the pressure for change.  ]]>

Can I Be Your Friend and Your Boss?

I really like one of the women I supervise, and we have become friends. We’ve started socializing outside of work, and I really enjoy her company. Lately she has been coming in late and leaving early. I feel she is taking advantage of our friendship, but it is awkward for me. I don’t know what to say or how to say it. I am really uncomfortable with confrontation, and I don’t want to damage our friendship. What should I do? Gladys needs to learn to handle two challenges in this situation: (1) dealing with conflict or confrontation and (2) eliminating boundary confusion to have healthy relationships with coworkers as both a boss and a friend. Women in my research and my women clients frequently report these as common challenges.

Avoiding Conflict

Paula, a nurse who participated in my research on women’s relationships in the workplace, sums up the theme of avoiding conflict with friends as follows, “We weren’t raised that way [to be direct and confrontational]. We were told that women didn’t do that … you were to be seen and not heard.” “Seen and not heard”—I remember being told this when I was growing up. I thought I had to avoid confrontation because it could damage a relationship and was not “nice.” But I eventually realized that damage to the relationship was much more likely to occur by avoiding conflict and not dealing directly with differences. By letting bad feelings pile up, I was creating distance and mixed messages. Dealing directly with misunderstandings or hurt feelings and clearing them up actually makes relationships stronger. Many of us don’t have the skills to be direct, but excellent resources are available for learning these skills.

Boundary Confusion

Boundary confusion grows out of one of our strengths as women—we are often comfortable with having fluid boundaries and developing friendships with bosses and colleagues at work. Scholars agree that women tend to emphasize the fluid nature of the boundaries between personal life and work life. But fluid boundaries can also cause confusion. Scholars, and about 25 percent of the women in my research, propose that women bosses learn to distinguish between being friends and being friendly with other women at work. I would go a step further and say that this does not need to be an either/or option. We can be both friends and friendly as the boss, but we need to be able to name our role—boss or friend—in any given interaction. We also need to have a clear understanding of how the relational expectations differ for these two roles.

Use a Tool Called Role Hats

Gladys can be the boss of her friend, and they can be friends outside of work. I say “outside of work” because it is important that Gladys’s other direct reports not see her showing favoritism in the work environment toward her friend. The key is for Gladys and her friend to learn how to discuss and negotiate their roles and relationship boundaries. Sharon, the CEO of a healthcare services organization, describes a useful tool called role hats: To be friends at work requires total transparency. I explicitly name the role that I’m coming from—boss or friend. And we are always clear about how the hats work—what I can and cannot talk about when I have my boss hat on and how I see my responsibilities. We can also be friends outside of work as long as we stay clear about our hats. The key, then, is to be explicit about your expectations. Gladys can let her friend know that as the boss she is responsible for managing the workload and morale of her department. Accordingly, her friend cannot come in late and leave early. Here are some steps she (and you) can take to clarify role boundaries at work:
  1. Start by sharing your desire to maintain your friendship and have a good work relationship as well.
  2. Name all the functional roles involved in the relationship, such as boss, friend, or colleague.
  3. Discuss each person’s needs in each role, and really listen to each other.
  4. Exchange suggestions for behaviors that could meet each person’s needs in each role.
  5. Establish ground rules for how you will alert each other to your use of a role hat, such as:
    1. Ask me which hat I’m wearing.
    2. Ask me to change hats any time, and I will tell you if I can and why (or why not).
Good relationships, both inside of work and outside, are important for our well-being, satisfaction, and success. Keeping them strong and healthy takes some effort, but it’s worth it!]]>