June 1, 2018

The Roundup: Kids describe leader traits, L&D needs innovation, and office temperature wars

This week, kids’ perspectives on what it means to be a leader, and a new report reveals learning professionals want more innovation in learning programs. Plus, office temperature wars are real.

What a leader looks like, according to kids

In response to a New York Times article, which reported that executives generally drew a man when asked to draw a leader, FastCompany recently asked 10 kids to do the same.

The publication wondered if the exercise could provide any insight into when the bias starts. “After all, a child’s brain hasn’t been wired to years of bias, assumptions, and mental associations the way an adult’s brain has, so do the same kind of unconscious assumptions influence a child’s idea of leadership?”

The results? The kids drew pictures of people who they felt exhibited certain traits – and of the 10 kids, eight drew women. Some drew their parents, some drew doctors, teachers, and lawyers (who, they said, have jobs in which they help others), and some drew themselves.

In explaining why they drew a particular person, they all said that leaders are nice, help others, make sure others are safe, do the right thing even when no one is watching, and teach others new things.

We could all stand to learn something from their perspectives. In fact, in their simplest terms, these traits are pretty similar to the top leadership competencies that were identified by global leaders, as reported in Harvard Business Review. Those competencies include “strong ethics and safety,” “nurtures growth,” and “connection and belonging.”

Learning programs need more innovation: report

A new report from Harvard Business Publishing finds that while learning and development is considered critical to top-performing organizations, leadership development professionals feel that these programs need improvement.

The 2018 State of Leadership Development Report, which explored the challenges leadership development professionals face, found that transformation and change are “the new normal” for companies today. Because of this, there’s even more pressure on learning and development programs to help organizations achieve success through the transformation process.

In fact, 66% of organizations that see learning and development as critical to success felt they had a stronger market position than their competitors. However, 80% of survey respondents said that learning techniques used in development programs require more innovation.

Related: Social learning at work: What it is and how to do it

The temperature war is real – and possibly gender inequitable

Have you ever noticed that some of us sit at our desks wrapped in thermal blankets well into the summer months?

A new CareerBuilder survey finds that workers are, quite literally, fighting over office temperatures.

According to Quartz, which reported on the survey:

“The temperature dissatisfaction has bottom-line influence, as 51% of respondents say that working in an office that’s too cold hurts their productivity, while 67% say that working in an office that’s too warm does the same.”

Even more dramatic, 15% of workers have argued with coworkers about office temperature, either in-person or via messaging apps.

Quartz adds that it seems office temperatures are designed for men, citing 2015 research that women’s body temperatures “are much lower than the standard used to set air-conditioning levels, making women much more prone to feeling uncomfortably cold.”

That 2015 study stated that office buildings set temperatures based on a formula that uses men’s metabolic rates. In short, the research called out office thermostat settings as sexist.

While the CareerBuilder survey doesn’t directly address the temperature wars as an issue of gender inequality, its findings also indicate that women feel workplace temperatures differently, with 36% of women saying they are too cold, and only 18% of men saying the same.

As a side note, if you’re wondering how most workers stay comfortable when it’s too hot, 42% drink cool beverages.

Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

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