Gabriela K Popescu
For Christmas, our son gifted us a smart voice controller with Alexa. You probably got one too! At first, I found it intrusive, as if we had a stranger in the room, disturbing our quiet intimate evenings by the fire. (It is January!). How awful it must have been in the old days, even for rich people, to have servants roaming the house while you were trying to relax! But anyway, back to Alexa and delegating.
After a while, the idea that I can utter a command to change the music in the background, rather reaching for my phone (ugh!), became more and more appealing! And started trying voicing orders. "Alexa, play music" didn't produce the desired results. 'She' chose some high-wattage beat I wasn't in the mood for. How annoying! She's no good and useless, I thought! (Translation: what? She can't read my mind?). So I gave up on her for a while, going back to the old ways of using my phone for Google searches and Amazon music.
Yet, as 'delgating skills' were on my mind this past week preparing for our SheLeads meeting this coming Thursday, a new thought occurred to me. Perhaps the requests I voice to family or colleagues, like the ones to Alexa, often didn't produce MY desired results because the 'ask' was muddled, imprecise, or vague! Truth is that when I asked Alexa to 'play music", she DID! And the fact that I wasn't thrilled with her choice of a song was squarely in my court!! I had not told her 'what' music to play!!
With this little insight, our relationship has gotten much better. When I say 'Alexa, play bachatta songs' most often than not, she picks delightful pieces! And only occasionally I need to ask her to skip one or two songs here and there! And seeing that she learns and responds makes the 'training' worth my while! Not to mention that I learn too! With more clarity and brevity we'll be getting along just fine...or until Amazon comes up with a software update! Keeping us on our toes!
So try it yourself this month! Check your communications for clarity and brevity: who does what, when, and how!! Ah, yes! And don't forget feedback! Tell them what worked well and what not so much. This way you both learn to more closely match requests and desired outcomes for a satisfying collaboration.
No Room to “‘Lean In’”: A Qualitative Study on Gendered Barriers to Promotion and Leadership by Ellinas, E.H, Kaljo, K., ... Fouad, N.A., n.d. . doi:10.1089/jwh.2018.7252
Background: The gender gap in professorship and leadership roles persists in academic medicine, whereas reasons for these disparities remain unclear.
Materials and Methods: Open-ended text responses to a 2013 faculty engagement survey were analyzed by using the grounded theory and consensual qualitative analysis techniques.
Conclusion: Women's barriers largely revolved around internal obstacles (I can't do any more), and men's barriers largely revolved around external factors (leaders are impeding my progress). Resources are needed to mitigate work overload specifically for female faculty, and to ensure that all faculty are both engaged in advanced career opportunities and encouraged to pursue leadership positions.
Do you agree? Would strategic engagement be the solution for you??