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Practical advice for federal leaders on managing people, processes and projects.

Only 1 In 4 Women Who Have Been Sexually Harassed Tell Their Employers. Here’s Why They’re Afraid

On May 30, a grand jury indicted Harvey Weinstein on charges he raped one woman and forced another to perform oral sex on him. And new allegations and lawsuits against the movie producer continue to pile up.

Since the earliest reports of his abuse came out in October, scores of women in Hollywood have taken to social media and shared their own stories of sexual assault and harassment by Weinstein. And thanks to the #MeToo movement, women in a range of professions have also found their voices heard, helping topple dozens of other once-powerful men in entertainment, media, sports, business, politics and the judiciary.

But a question #MeToo has been asking since the beginning is how will this affect the lives of women far from the high-powered worlds of Hollywood and Washington. Is this making it any easier for a low or mid-wage worker in middle America to rid her workplace of a sexual harasser?

One important way of doing this is by making an official complaint to the employer. But while women will often complain to family or even on social media, most don’t tell their companies of the misconduct. In fact, barely 1 in 4 ever do...

The Biggest Problem The World's Workforce Faces Is a Classic Management Issue

The world is in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution, as the greater adoption of complex technology—particularly artificial intelligence and automation—shapes company processes and recalibrates workforces.

The greatest challenge companies face is rolling out new tech while also making sure workers are prepared for the seismic changes. This is especially the case for the managers in charge of setting realistic deadlines for implementation as well are training employees for new ways of working.

“Any change you make needs to be going with your people, not against them,” said Moya Greene, CEO of Royal Mail, which is one of the largest companies in Britain, with 140,000 employees. She spoke on a panel at the CogX Festival of All Things AI conference in London this week.

“If I look back at my career, what I think managers have always been is overconfident. They are overconfident about how long it will take them to implement a change. They are overconfident about how quickly individual human beings can adapt to change,” she added.

Finding employees skilled enough in implementing and working alongside new technology within existing company structures or when adopting new roles is hard enough. And Greene emphasized that...

Government Is Data Rich, But Information Poor

Agencies today have access to more data than ever before. In fact, data is a new strategic asset for organizations, like oil. But like oil, it isn’t useful until it is refined. That means turning it into information and insight.

“We are data rich and information poor,” says Shelley Metzenbaum, a former associate director for performance and personnel management at the Office of Management and Budget. If that is the case, the challenge for public leaders is to figure out how to lead their organizations into the future with data.

The IBM Center for The Business of Government recently held the fourth in a series of “Envision Government in 2040” sessions, focusing on the role of data and analytics in government (earlier sessions focused on the future of work in the public sector; the potential role of artificial intelligence,  and the role of citizens in government). This small group of experts in government data policy and trends discussed how the increased access to data and analytics could change how public managers deliver on their missions and lead their organizations.

Future Trends

Four trends in the use of data and analytics surfaced as part of the session:  

  • First, organizations have...

It Turns Out Men, Not Women, Suffer More From Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome, according to conventional wisdom, plagues women far more than men. As if it weren’t enough that women have to deal with men casting aspersions at them for not being competent leaders orfor being too emotional, the notion of imposter syndrome—whereby high-achieving people disparage their own success as pure luck and worry that they’ll be uncovered as incompetent—has typically been thought of as a female trait.

I first learned about this two years ago, when my editor at the time asked me to write on the subject. Instead of feeling understood or validated, I felt defensive. It had never occurred to me to look around my male dominated industry and worry that I didn’t belong; the notion that I should relate to imposter syndrome seemed to imply that I deserved to feel like a fraud. As I started to report the article, I worried that not suffering from imposter syndrome would be interpreted as a sign of arrogance. This concern, it turns out, is well-founded. Contrary to stereotypes, research suggests women are as confident as men—they are just penalized rather than rewarded for the same self-assuredbehavior.

But a recently published research...

Overcoming a Big Obstacle to Citizen Feedback

Timely, thorough customer feedback is critical to meeting citizens’ rising expectations for convenient and personalized government services. However, the Paperwork Reduction Act presents a major barrier.

For example, it took the Office of the Inspector General at the Defense Department more than a year to get approval for a simple five-question survey asking for users’ opinions about its website.

Congress is moving to ease restrictions that limit agencies’ ability to seek feedback from the public. But even now, agencies can get some input without running afoul of the PRA.  

The PRA requires federal employees to navigate a complex clearance process before gathering input from nine or more people. It includes publishing the request in the Federal Register and providing a public comment period before the Office of Management and Budget can give a thumbs up.

The act, signed in 1980, has the laudable goal of reducing the number of lengthy and confusing paper forms government asks citizens to complete. But nearly 40 years later, its requirements are out of touch in a world in which citizens expect to respond to information requests quickly and easily using whatever device and communication channel they prefer. The act also fails to distinguish between...