In the past 50 years, many changes have occurred to shape the workplace into what it is today. The civil rights movements of the ’60s and ’70s transformed voting rights and salary laws in the workplace, but those weren’t the only changes.
Women entered the workforce in bigger and bigger numbers, and it was clear that wasn’t going to change any time soon as women began to get more powerful and households began to depend on their income. Unfortunately, those in leadership have not kept up with these changes. Because leaders have not changed their leadership model to suit the times, there is still a tendency to blame project delays and failures on management. And if that project lead happens to be a woman, studies show she gets blamed 75% of the time.
Now, let’s look at the numbers for a moment. While women make up 49% of corporate managerial positions, only 17–30% of project managers are women. That means that out of the 75% of projects that fail to meet their deadlines, 70–83% of those projects are in fact led to failure by men, not women.
Plus, while men and women complete about 66% of all tasks they are assigned, women are assigned 10% more work on average. So women are responsible for 55% of all work that gets completed in any given project.
So clearly, the failure in leadership to meet deadlines is not the fault of women entering the workforce.
The next individuals blamed for project failure are millennials. Millennials change jobs more frequently than any other generation, costing over $30 billion in annual turnover. This is because less than half of millennials believe their company operates ethically, and even less believe that business leaders are committed to helping society improve.
However, studies show that when business leaders show an interest in millennials as human beings, on a regular basis, the company sees an 800% increase in agility and a 700% increase in innovation! That’s a powerful statistic, isn’t it?
That means that with the right leadership model, millennials are some of the most productive workers you could ever have on your team.
We know that research shows that many people want to work not just for the money but other factors that have meaning to them. A Gallup poll showed that 95% of last year’s college graduates considered a sense of purpose at least “moderately important” in their work. Even as women rate “ambition” high on the leadership trait scale, they also rate work-life balance as important, and will leave a company that doesn’t provide the environment that respects and supports them.
What does all this mean to the leader? If what people seem to need is the right interest and engagement, how do you fulfill their needs efficiently and effectively so your projects get done? What do you need to know to support your valuable team members so they are productive and stay with you?