Four women are bringing their expertise on human resources, talent management, leadership development and consulting to the pages of their new book, “The Loyalist Team.”
Linda Adams, Abby Curnow-Chavez, Audrey Epstein and Rebecca Teasdale, who run The TriSpective Group, which consults with companies including PetSmart, Orbitz and Hallmark, have compiled seven years of business research into their book, which is due out Sept. 12. With additional writing from journalist and author Jody Berger, it focuses on best practices for lead
rs, team productivity and HR representatives within organizations.
Strong in character, personality, ideas and experience, these female voices are helping break gender bias in the business world by showcasing their extensive expertise through “The Loyalist Team.”
Although Epstein said sexism exists in corporate America, she’s noticed more dialogue around female leadership and women rising to power in executive roles and on boards. Talking about race, gender and inequality in the workforce can be uncomfortable, but Epstein said it cannot be avoided. If ignored, it goes underground, which means you lack indicators that often result in lawsuits, she said.
Adams agreed, sharing her early career experiences of receiving gender bias when she got an HR job at Ford Motor Co. The assumption was that she was there because her husband landed a high position, not her.
“Being the first and being the few is something we have all experienced. I chose to ignore it and give people the benefit of the doubt [and] always take the high road,” Adams said, her positive outlook discernable in her voice.
The conversations surrounding diversity issues and glass ceilings for women are more candid now than in Adams’ early days; she said it blows her mind that they are still happening, but said they have become the forefront to better understanding the evident gap.
“The difference is, there is a more powerful and conjoined voice [now],” she said.
This is seen in corporations that have diverse teams and a broader perspective than the typical white males on the board, which Epstein said is discussed in the book.
“The best teams are diverse and are able to talk about issues that are constructive,” Epstein said. “[They have] positive intent and a desire to create change together. Otherwise you get the growth of existing factions we see in the country.”
Adams said the team has been working on the book for two years and is “wildly excited to bring the book to fruition.” It is meant to give insightful advice to employees, leaders and companies who require strong collaboration — which is really every company looking to be widely successful.
With their extensive knowledge on best practices for teamwork, they decided to focus the book on what makes the most successful and productive team, like looking at certain behaviors and measures of people that work in those teams. Happiness, open communication, autonomy and transparency translates to empowering individual and team motivation, the authors noted.
Epstein said empowerment these days also means addressing cultural and generational differences at work and using them advantageously instead of looking to them as an issue. But some issues need to be highlighted, she said, like cultural practices in Silicon Valley that have gained national attention. Mechanisms need to change in order for employees to feel autonomous and empowered in their workplace. Epstein called it a “front head of both conversations.”
Looking to the future of collaboration with all the digital landscapes, Curnow-Chavez said the trend of working remotely and in virtual teams is normal and is a lot of what the women encounter when consulting executives.
“A client would rather jump on the phone — [there is] more ease with technology and we see that reflected,” Curnow-Chavez said, comparing it to an in-person meeting.
However, the women agreed that in order for an efficient transition on virtual teams to be successful, leaders need to be aware of strategic goals for what technological direction they wish to go in and how it will benefit their organization. It cannot “just happen,” Curnow-Chavez said.
With technological distractions growing bigger daily, she added that time management needs to be a mindset, like a philosophy, for executives and leaders. They also must lead by example and abide by work culture — not sending emails past work hours and not using the same skills that they might have used in former positions that led them to where they are now, added Epstein.
Leaders have to constantly think of how to better coach employees and align the culture. And they are not items you can simply “check off the list,” Epstein said. It all comes down to time management and a leader’s priority.
“We have to think about time, it’s not just a matter of having better organizational skills,” she said.
The authors said they hope organizations struggling with any of these topics will benefit from their advice and learn new tools that suit their environment.
Ariel Parrella-Aureli is a Workforce intern. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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