The Invisible Engine: Engaging and Leading Men In Any Organization

Bottom Line Up Front: If you are a business owner, C-level executive, manager or Human Resources professional, this article is aimed at you. Masculinity worthy of the name is ambitious, resourceful, driven and leads to profit. You have within your organization an invisible engine made of these things—ambition, resourcefulness, drive. The engine generates growth, creativity, motivation, leadership. The engine is men. Sadly, years of criticism, accusation, neglect and nitpicking by Human Resources have created a culture that denigrates and ridicules masculinity and it has alienated many men. The result? Many of the best men have checked out and are using company resources to build their own businesses. The worst men have checked out, are squandering company resources and just picking up a paycheck or, more dangerous to their management, are actively living the new ethic of victimhood and dependency in the workplace.

This is not a sex thing.

This discussion is not about putting women down. It’s about finding what is good in men. It’s not about bashing anyone. It’s about restoring balance between the sexes in the workplace.

Right now things are out of balance in the workplace. This disequilibrium is hurting everything: efficiency, productivity, returns, stock valuations, balance sheets.

The whole shooting match.

In the current environment many men have checked out and look weak.

And nobody likes weak men.

Not other men.

Not women.

We all benefit when men are strong, but right now it’s all up for grabs. The whole shooting match.

Men are out there and they’re talking to us.

We at Authentic Masculinity know some of the best of these men—men who want your business or organization to succeed– are out there.

We know them because they are talking to us.

There are a lot of them.

They’re tired of being taken for granted and they’re fed up with poor leadership.

So it’s your choice.

You talk to them or they’ll talk to us.

The up side is that they want you to engage with them and lead them.

The down side is that if you screw this up you’ll continue to lose them to the opportunities of this competitive economy.

They’ll create wealth for themselves and others on your time.

Hidden value. Is it beyond your reach?

Whether it’s a stock, a property, or a person, we all know that one of the most powerful keys to create wealth efficiently is to uncover hidden value. First you must find it.

You have hidden value—think of it as deep veins of gold– concealed throughout your organization, whether your organization is a company, a department, a section, or a sales team.

Do you want an edge in this competitive economy? Tap into men. Talk to them in language that motivates them and then…

…lead them.

But my hunch is that you don’t know they’re there.

Or you don’t know where to find them.

Or you don’t know how to tap into them.

Or you have been part of the problem and they have tuned you out.

An economic and cultural Class V Rapids Confluence of Three Feeds

Three things are making now the right time for this discussion: Opportunity, Technology, Disaffection.

We are all familiar with Robert Kiyosaki’s excellent book, The Cashflow Quadrant. We know what characterizes an employee, what employees’ values are and we know as business leaders that our relationship to employees is changing due to countless factors. But many employees have also read The Cashflow Quadrant. They know what your values are. They are thinking differently about compensation, money, time, value. They see opportunity, they know technology and they are not satisfied with what they’re getting—especially if they’re men. The kinds of employees companies need in order to succeed are the kinds of employees who are capable of going elsewhere.

Opportunity.

Organizations like yours want good employees, but good employees want opportunity and independence. The economy, the blogosphere, podcasting, social media and YouTube are giving men amazing opportunities. No more gatekeepers and access to a global market.

Technology.

The technology and creativity our companies need to be competitive are the same technologies and creativity our employees have in spades. Modern technology makes our employees aware of both the pull of the global economy as well as the opportunities it presents. Men are also rediscovering the courage to dream because technology gives everyone access to the internet 24/7 and the internet is a great place to dream.

Disaffection.

So.

Whether we like it or not, we have within our organizations a large group of people who have been undervalued, poorly led, targeted and in some cases ridiculed for being what we need and having what we want. These people are men.

Ironically, it’s not in a man’s nature to argue or get emotional in the face of poor decisions or emotional imbalance. It’s the nature of most good men to check out. Checking out is a symptom of disaffection.

The kinds of male employees—the ones we want for our organizations– are resourceful, ambitious, creative.

And inquisitive.

And disciplined.

And driven.

And competitive.

And they’re disaffected.

Some critical questions.

If we are smart we are asking questions.

Here are some we should be asking:

What is the health of my organization’s relationship with men?

Do I have a problem with weak or even strong men in my organization who want to work harder and be more successful but don’t feel valued? Do men feel unwelcome in my organization?

If so, how do I turn the situation around?

Do I even know how to diagnose whether or not my organization has a problem?

Here’s how to find out at the simplest, most basic level.

What does your Human Resources Department look like?

If it’s like most, it’s dominated by women. Is that the true diversity we all say we want?

Where are the men in your company? Are they in HR? Not likely. Do you know why?

What kind of men do you have in your organization? Do you even know?

What kind of language do men in your organization use on a day to day basis? By this we mean do they use aggressive language? Military language? Sports language?

The language your masculine culture uses can tell you a lot about your corporate culture. It determines how you gain the trust of men in that culture. Among men a certain kind of trust is vital.

Does your company have a healthy, balanced, complementary relationship between men and women?

Here’s why we are asking.

Before we look into those questions, a little about why we are asking.

In March of 2014 my partner and I started an outreach effort for men which later came to be called The Ten Best Men Project. If you are interested you can read about it here, but what’s important is what we learned.

We learned by listening carefully to many, many men what many of us have suspected and others have known with certainty for some time: Men have been showing up at work but checking out for a long time and they’re checking out because of well-intentioned but dangerously misguided management efforts motivated by silly—yes, silly—and slavish devotion to political correctitude.

If you want to tap into this vital force for profit and movement within your company, you have to know what the dominant masculine culture in your organization is, who the leaders and influencers in that group are and how to talk to them. Make a mistake and it’s tough to recover, especially in this emotionally charged environment of political correctness and hypersensitivity to atmospherics.

What can you do?

First, look hard at your HR department. If it’s dominated by women—no matter how competent, capable, strong and professional– you have a problem in your company.

Second, look hard at your managers. Of the men, what kind of men are they? What sorts of backgrounds do they have? Sports? Armed Forces? Are they strong men? If they are weak men, in what ways are they weak? How does that weakness manifest itself? How does the strength of your men manifest itself?

Third, ask yourself this very difficult leadership and business question: Do I want to tap into a powerful—but long neglected– engine of growth? If so, the time is right. If not, be aware that your competition’s leadership is not hesitant or afraid to ask these questions and look hard at the answers. Others are keen to undo the damage done to the status of men in business because—done smartly—it can lead to greater profit and efficiency because men want to work. Men want to be efficient. Men want to improve themselves and their organizations and they want to solve problems they find.

What this is not.

This is not a situation for bashing anyone. In well-run companies men and women work well together. Where strong, confident men meet strong, confident women there is a complementarity and balance of strong personalities that is nothing short of magic.

Yes, when male-female complementarity in the work place clicks, it’s magic, but it’s very. Very. Rare.

The rarity of that magic is because most companies have forgotten how to manage and lead men.

Call to action: First, look hard at your HR department and don’t shy away from harsh reality. Second, speak to your trusted management team. Start the discussion. Get a feel for your corporate climate with regard to men and determine if you want to tap into the force of men in your company. Third, give serious thought to what language you can use to motivate and unify men without alienating and irritating the women in your work force. There’s a way to do it but it requires confidence, humility, aggression and precision. And, most of all: communication skills. Ask the right questions, use the right language, you’ll get the right answers and those answers will astonish you.

To listen in on a conversation about the invisible engine, click here.

Post Source Here: The Invisible Engine: Engaging and Leading Men In Any Organization

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