Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms

RHR 158: Supporting "Messy Middle" Leaders with Betsy Kauffman

June 28, 2023 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 4 Episode 158
Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms
RHR 158: Supporting "Messy Middle" Leaders with Betsy Kauffman
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Show Notes Transcript

BETSY KAUFFMAN is a globally recognized Organizational Agility Coach with more than 20 years of experience working in Fortune 500 companies as well as the Founder, CEO, and Coach at Cross Impact, speaker, and mentor in the Charlotte Women in Business Mentoring Program. In addition to a Bachelor of Business Administration from James Madison University, she spent 20+ years working in corporate America trying to figure out how to balance motherhood, working full time, and climbing the corporate ladder in a competitive tech environment where women weren’t supportive of each other.

Experts point to a broken rung at the first step to manager level as holding women back. For every 100 men who are promoted from entry-level roles to manager positions, only 87 women are promoted. As a result, men significantly outnumber women at the manager level, and women can never catch up. There are simply too few women to promote to senior leadership positions because the best candidates are often held back at the stage she calls “the messy middle”. And the disparity is even more glaring in senior leadership where only one in four C-suite leaders is a woman.

Over the years, Betsy learned to find her voice and use it to positively support and influence colleagues, clients, and various companies. In 2014, Betsy started Cross Impact when she realized the organizational work she was doing and 1:1 leadership coaching were desperately needed in organizations worldwide.

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·       Cross Impact Coaching Linkedin

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Betsy Kauffman:

Right, I know we have all these layoffs and things like that. But you gotta find a culture that's going to respect you, and allow you to really say, hey, here are my boundaries. This is what I can give you, and I'm gonna give you 810 hours, most days, but there are some days that you're only gonna get four, because I've got other things going on, or I just need to take a break. You know, I think we're in a time that we can say that. And, you know, we're seeing it with this new generation coming into the workforce, they've got boundaries, they have a whole new way of working whereas you know, me, I entered the workforce in like the late 90s. Totally different work style, totally different expectations. And so you've also got to be in the middle and figure out like, how do we make that work because you have a very multi generational workforce.

Kyle Roed:

This is the rebel HR Podcast, the podcast, where we talk to HR innovators about all things people leadership. If you're looking for places to find about new ways to think about the world of work, this is the podcast for you. Please subscribe, favorite podcast listening platform today. And leave us a review revelon HR rebels. Welcome back, rebel HR listeners, we are going to have a fun conversation this week. With us we have Betsy Kaufman. She is a renowned professional coach and Ted Talk speaker, who we are going to be talking all about a membership program providing personal and professional development, empowering mid level female leaders, we had a wonderful pre discussion. So I can't wait to have this discussion. Now that we've hit record. With us, we also have our wonderful co host, Molly, who's going to be asking all of the good questions today. So welcome to the show, Betsy.

Betsy Kauffman:

Awesome, thank you for having me, I'm super excited to see where this goes, unpack all kinds of goodness,

Kyle Roed:

I'm always excited to see where this goes to. So who knows, we when we hit record, we just never know. But we're gonna have a fun way to have fun today. So I want to start off with the first question. And that is what prompted you to launch a membership program dedicated to developing and empowering mid level female professionals?

Betsy Kauffman:

Yeah, that's a great question. So I, I was doing some branding work with a really phenomenal woman whose name is Tiffany Newman. And it wasn't just like your typical, like, what's your brand? Who are you like very marketing surfacey, there was actually some deep like psychological like work. So it was almost like we had like a session or several session. And part of the work was, you know, go out to your clients go out to your customers go out to your team, and really have them lean in hence to like, what you do and what are you good at. And what came back was really shocking to me was like, you actually are really good at working with mid level leaders. And majority of your, of the folks that you love to work with are women. And it just became this thing to say, Okay, why, like, let's create something around that. Because the work that I do my organizational design work, and in my consulting, most of those folks happen to be women, it just I work with men don't get me wrong, and I actually have a house full of men. So it's not that I have it, like, I love men, we'll leave it at that. But I found that women, especially in that mid level needed support, they weren't getting the support they needed. And they were, you know, I'm gonna have lots and lots of one on one conversations, both personally and professionally. So we created the the collaborative, and it's about the personal professional development of mid level female leaders. That's a very long explanation.

Kyle Roed:

Maybe you're just around too many men that you just want to work around women that balance out.

Betsy Kauffman:

Figure something out.

Kyle Roed:

So I want to I want to talk about that a little bit. You know, it's it's so there's a lot of statistics out there that that are, you know, concerning around the the number of women in managerial roles, certainly in senior managerial roles as you've been doing this work, what are some of those, those statistics or data points that you're that you're trying to impact through your collaborative?

Betsy Kauffman:

Yeah, I mean, obviously, the big topic is burnout, right? And we're seeing a huge exit from women, especially senior level mid level women, because they're just burned out. They're tired. You know, when the pandemic hit, where almost literally three years from when they shut the world down, like mid March, no, school had to still happen. And while the house stuff sort of happened, work had to happen. There's no beginning or end to our days. And so women were just feeling a lot of that pressure. They take on a lot of things, both personally and at home as well as at work. And so we're just seeing that we have an exit. And we have people just like absolutely swimmer just just exhausted. And they're trying to figure out how to balance everything and be perfect, right? Because there's like this connotation that we have to be like women of the 50s where we take care of our kids and we cook we clean and we do all these good things as well as be women of 2023 and high powered and really working and very much, you know, living into that image as well. So I think there's this unrealistic view of what is expected of women, and we put a lot of it on ourselves. So that's the other thing is we hold a lot of it ourselves as women. And I don't think anybody else is holding that same perception.

Molly Burdess:

Yeah, I would absolutely agree we are a lot of it come from our own expectations of ourselves, as well as you know, outside pressures. But I guess my question is, specifically with within us and HR and just leaders of these females, how can we support them? And how can we help lead them forward?

Betsy Kauffman:

Yeah, you know, I think there's well, there's, there's lots of different options for that, right. Some of it is allowing them, you know, creating their own some of their own schedule, right. So I know, we always talk like, we're, we're now in this situation we're trying to figure out is how remote and office and where do we work? But, you know, where do I need to be give me some guidelines for working hours, we need to be, you know, working with us 10 to three, or whatever that means. But outside of that, you can think you're an adult, let's figure out how to manage the workday and how to do your work, especially, um, majority of us are professionals, right? And so giving that flexibility, but then also modeling, right? Looking to say, like, okay, you know, take a vacancy. And then if your leader actually worked on vacation, that's not the embodiment and we're looking for, right, as HR leaders, out of being help leaders within the company to say, Okay, here's our values, here's how we're gonna move, here's the expectation that we have. And if you're not living into those, let's talk about that, where we want to do about this. So if you're on vacation, and you're sending your team things, you've now created a culture that's X, like an expectation of that person to work as well on vacation. So it's really about let's set those boundaries and guidelines, but then let's support us to live into them, as opposed to like, yeah, yeah, yeah. I don't need you on vacation. That's okay. Oh, just kidding. Come back, come get on this call those types of things. Question.

Kyle Roed:

I'm definitely guilty of that. Yeah,

Molly Burdess:

I've been, I've been trying to work really hard on that. And, ya know, we

Betsy Kauffman:

all are, we're all guilty of it, because like, it's pop up, you know, and but it's like, like, can you really shut it off. And sometimes we just can't just depending on the role that we're in, but we got to really, we got it, we've got to create those boundaries, to allow folks to feel like I can shut it off, I can turn, like, when I got on this podcast, everything went to airplane mode. It's actually kind of refreshing, because I'm just gonna focus on you all. But like, when you go on vacation, do you do that? Do you like, take the the emails off your phone, and the slacks and the team's chats and all the ways that people can connect with you? Probably not, because we feel you know, it's it's a lot to feel disconnected. So

Kyle Roed:

I think it's a really great example. It's that, you know, that modeling of healthy boundaries and, and focusing on the things that are valuable. I, you know, I guess one of my questions there is, you know, I think that the value sets of some senior leaders don't necessarily align with a lot of minute middle managers value sets. And that's kind of a point of internal conflict that I've had, as my career has progressed, it's, you know, the, the expectations become that work is your first priority period. And the rest of it falls to the wayside, at least in many cultures, at an organization. And so I'm curious how, how you've seen those value sets be come aligned at organizations and what what are companies doing to reinforce that, for for the, the women within their organization and N men who are looking for more balance and fulfillment? Within work and outside work?

Betsy Kauffman:

Yeah, I think, you know, it's one, it's, it's having the conversations and being transparent, right, here's here are my values. This is what I have going on in my life. Some people don't want to talk about their personal life, but I think as a leader, it is good to know, like, Okay, what do you have going on, so I can be aware, and it's not so much that, you know, it's so I can use it against you, but it's like, so I can be aware, so that I can help support you within your role. And I think that's the first thing and, and there's maybe 1520 years ago, I'm going to age myself, we were very separate personal professional, right? We kept them extremely separate and even like social media was like created that way like Facebook lists for personal LinkedIn was for professional and never show that to meet right. And then I think the pandemic took that and like, snug loved it, because it's now all married together. And I feel like as employees and employers, we are now more comfortable like this is my whole authentic self and bringing it to the table. So I do think we, you know, we should as HR leaders, how do we bring our full authentic self to the table and make it known And then allow that to help support each person with a new individual. And it's just this like it's an interesting dynamic, because there are folks that just aren't comfortable with that. The other thing is, and we talked a little bit about this in the beginning, but if your employees are not fulfilled, outside of work, no amount of employee engagement or surveys or perks are going to actually help them right to love their work. So part of it could be like, how do we support them, and feeling fulfilled personally, so that they can actually feel fulfilled professionally as well. So it's that that's some work that I've been doing with my team on this collaborative, because there's all the studies around it, you know, we throw so much money at employee engagement and employee surveys and employee Oh, how do we keep people loving what they do? Well, if they're not happy outside of work, it doesn't matter, they're gonna bring that with them. Because we do we bring ourselves our whole selves to work. So there could be some additional programs that you offer, that are outside of the company to help them fulfill themselves, you know, and come to work full, present and whole and ready to do the work.

Kyle Roed:

So wait a minute, you're saying my employee engagement initiatives don't work?

Betsy Kauffman:

Probably not as much he would call me radical at this point. But then you may get a little lump or a blip, right. But like the ping pong tables, and the popsicles are all great, they're feeding that little bit of that neuron that like the, the dopamine, like it spikes? Yeah, I get to play ping pong, or I get to go, you know, if I even go to the office, but really, it's, you know, how do we make sure that they're supported outside of work first, before they bring it to work?

Molly Burdess:

If we've had a lot, specifically within women, but when when they're more confident, and you know, have more energy outside of work that often come to work, and that's really when when they can make an impact on like, what's going on with you. And usually, it does stem from something on their personal life, if things are going really well for them. But confidence, I think, is one thing. That's really something that female leaders, I think we can all work on a little bit, right? It takes us a little bit of time to get there, do you see that?

Betsy Kauffman:

I do. I do. I was just I was so that this is journal that are in all these big, different cities. So I live in Charlotte. So I was at the Charlotte business journal mentoring program, as one of the mentors, and it was like, I don't know, 25 mentors, and like, 150 women, it was crazy. And a lot of the themes of the sessions that I was doing with the women that approached me were about confidence, we're about having a voice, we're about creating boundaries, right? So for example, with this program that we do with the collaborative, all of our programming is during the work week, right? Because we are trying to be very cautious of like not stepping into the weekend, because I know, we all know how much time is outside of work. But we find sometimes that these women have to prioritize the program, that professional development collaborative program to like, a meeting that their boss has held? Well, as a leader, you actually create your own boundaries. And it's a mindset shift that you have to bring to the table to say, Okay, no, I can't meet with you, because I have this professional development program that you're sponsoring, or that I'm paying for myself, can I meet with you at this time? Or this time, right. And I think sometimes female leaders will not will not actually create their boundaries. And they'll kind of do what is asked of them, as opposed to like, can you get on that meeting at 530? No, I can't, I'm done. I need to go get my child from daycare, or I need to take my child to a sports activity. And it's the same thing for men, right? So I think men are a little bit more like, No, I can't do it, or they have something that will help them or support them. Where women will be like, Okay, I need some support, I'm going to take it on because just what I have to do. So it's creating those boundaries, and you really do own as a leader, you own your time, and you just need to manage, you can manage your time. And I think that's a shift that sometimes, especially females, don't, don't leverage. And that comes with confidence. And that comes with, you know, being able to push back and being able to set those boundaries, a whole new topic we could just like, like, that's a whole nother podcast. Yeah,

Kyle Roed:

well, we said, well, there's probably like four different podcasts episodes that shoot off of this because it's such a broad and critical topic. You know, here's a great example of that, you know, a story popped into my head when you were describing that that scenario. And and, and I think, you know, before the pandemic we were, we were apprehensive to share too much about what we were doing, especially if that schedule that we were in and it was personal and it impacted work was during work hours, right. So we were on a call the other day and and a female on the call wasn't on camera, and she was like, you know, I'll be here and there but I have to run my kid to hockey practice. And then three years ago, you that never would have happened. Right? Right. Well, just so happens that one of the senior managers on the call is a huge hockey fan. and kids, and instead of it turning into like, Oh, you're not, you're not committed to the company, because it turned into a really cool conversation about kids activities, hockey, how, you know, how we all balanced that, and it really humanized, everybody on that call to each other. And it was a really great opportunity for us to really connect and reflect on the world that we all live in. And it was all managers on this call. Yeah. But But I think that's, you know, it's those interactions for me that those matter more than, you know, the the employee engagement, you know, that pizza parties,

Betsy Kauffman:

it's about at this point, it is about connection, right. And it is about collaboration, and it is about supporting and empathizing with each person, what they're going through. And like, the funny thing is, you know, we have all these calls and most organizations, right, there's just a lot going on. And so like, oh, no, I'm gonna miss a call, guess what, 99% of the time, we're gonna rehash it again. Even if you missed the call, you're gonna have another call, probably tomorrow, and then the next day, so it's okay to miss the call. And I think, you know, we sometimes get so wrapped up in it, like, this is a really important call, guess what, we don't move that fast. Most organizations aren't moving that fast. That, that whatever's happens in this one hour of a session is going to completely determine the fate of you and your life in your world, right? We're going to continue to rehash it and keep working through it. So I think that's the other thing is like, just being okay, like, yep, you know, what, you guys got this, I'm gonna step out, I gotta go take my kid to hockey practice, or whatever, I will come back to you or come back to me, and we'll pick it up again, tomorrow, or whatever makes sense. Or, you know, you know, whatever, just figure out a way to get back to me. So, I mean, we're not moving at the speed of light, and worry of organization. So that's probably a whole nother topic. But like, you guys are three. I mean, I think multiple can put like, yeah, you're probably right. We're not making it not moving that fast. Because there's just so much complexity that we're working through and an organization

Kyle Roed:

we should never be going so fast that people burn out. Right. Right. There's differences between, you know, appropriate level of stress, because you need some stress to get some things done. Yeah. But when people are burning out time and time again, then there's a systemic issue, right. I mean, that's, yeah. And that's, I think that's hrs role to catch that stuff, right?

Betsy Kauffman:

From pace, like, oh, gosh, I'm gonna miss this important meeting. Like there's so much FOMO, especially I think, in this virtual world, you're so like, is there a meeting happening? Is there something going on that I'm not a part of, because I'm no longer in the office 24/7 hearing all the, you know, all the outside noise and the watercooler conversations. And so we work into this work, if I don't join it, am I gonna miss out? And you know what? Maybe, but that's okay. It'll come back around, I promise. For sure. For sure. There's always going to be another meeting, there's always gonna be another week. Oh, I'm just gonna be another. I literally was just on a team's chat with one of my clients. And I'm like, Hey, we're gonna meet for half an hour. Oh, but I'm already in his other workshop. Like, I'm like, okay, it's fine. Don't worry. We're, this is not this is just the beginning of the conversations. We will have another one I promise you, it's not going to be end of it. You know, and that's now she's like, trying to decide what to I might notice Stay where you are finished the workshop? Well, we'll have another conversation the next day or two? Totally fine. Yeah, I think of the female on my team, and they absolutely need me to tell them like it's okay. Your kid where you need to take your kid I will catch you up later. You can myth myth, though I think of leaders, we can help them really create those boundaries of well, and yeah, they just need to know it's okay. Okay. Yeah. It's interesting how that how that is, like that confirmation can change everything. Right? Yeah. And sometimes we as leaders, like, to your point, we don't, we don't think about that, like, you know, it's okay, just go do what you need to do. And I think that's, that's you may be critical as well as for leaders to think about like, okay, just give them permission to not be there.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, we've talked about this quite a bit, you know, really talking about prioritization and, you know, kind of owning your, your time and, and

Molly Burdess:

your boundary boundaries.

Kyle Roed:

So, so, that's what advice do you have for, for anybody who's trying to figure out what should the priority be, you know, what, what really should matter to me are what are the things that I just can't afford to miss? And what are the things that I need to push back on and, and put those boundaries up for how should we be thinking about that, or what have you seen in your experience that works?

Betsy Kauffman:

Yeah, I mean, it's, it's tough, right? Because it's not like a nice black and white scenario. I think it's, you know, if it's mission critical, and you're probably the only one that can either give insight and have information, attend be there, can you if not, Can you delegate it? Can somebody else for your teammates, that sort of thing is allowing other folks into it making your circle a little bit wider to say, okay, come on into the circle here, new attendance meeting for me, here are the key points I want to get away. So I think it's program one, is that mission critical? Is it a decision? Is it the last meeting, that you do have those sometimes and we are making a decision than attend? Right? Because I want to be part of that final decision making if it's important enough, that's going to impact me or my team? You know, or is there somebody critical that you've been wanting to connect with? That's going to support you and in a way that you need to? I mean, those are probably the top three that I would say, but it's so hard, because I think every organization is a little bit different. And you know, sometimes you've got to trust your gut to be like, Hey, I probably shouldn't miss this one. It really should be in this one, I'm gonna let that one go. And let the folks know that you're not gonna, you know, I mean, you know, people are triple booked and quadruple booked doesn't ever happen, you can't do that you can't be in one place at one time. So pick the one look at the for, like, hey, I can be here. So it can be there. We're gonna tell them, we're sorry, or reschedule and we're gonna move on. I do that with my calendar. If I'm triple booked or double booked, before that day, I make sure I only have one thing at one time, because I know I can only be in one place at one time. And then I'm anxious because it keeps my brain not from freaking out, like, oh, my gosh, I'm missing all this stuff. Right? So really setting yourself up for success is critical as well.

Molly Burdess:

Faith out of that power there. What advice do you have for those of us that? Okay, we know we need to set those boundaries. But how do we do that? Especially when, you know, maybe our team or our bosses, you know, we haven't set those boundaries and the path we have here, those phone calls at 530 at night or six o'clock at night during dinner? How do we do that in a way that doesn't relay that, hey, maybe we're now different days or something wrong?

Betsy Kauffman:

You know, I I'm really like a fan of just saying it out loud. Like, guess what, guys, I am working way too much. And I am burned out. So I'm going to start to struggle a little bit differently. I'm no longer going to answer the calls at 530. Because I need to sleep. Right is but you know, or, you know, at at six o'clock, unless the company has literally like caught on fire. I'm not going to answer it. Because again, it'll be there tomorrow. So I think I'd be being very intentional with who you are, and why you're doing something is really as critical. And who to say that because here's the thing, there's a lot of great, there's work out there. Right? I know, we have all these layoffs and things like that. But you gotta find a culture that's going to respect you, and allow you to really say, hey, here are my boundaries. This is what I can give you. And I'm going to give you 810 hours most days, but there are some days that you're only gonna get four, because I've got other things going on, or I just need to take a break. You know, I think we're in a time that we can say that. And you know, we're seeing it with this new generation coming into the workforce. They've got boundaries, they have a whole new way of working, whereas, you know, me, I entered the workforce in like the late 90s. Totally different workstyle totally different expectations. And so you've also got to be in the middle and figure out like, how do we make that work because you have a very multi generational workforce. That's a whole nother podcast in itself.

Kyle Roed:

That's the third one.

Betsy Kauffman:

Mentoring woman, she's like, I've got I've got a shez team of 10. She's like, I got books. I've been here for 30 years, that's been here for six months. And my six months want to be like promoted and doing all this stuff. And the ones for 30 years are like loving their work and like, how do I support and lead these 10 people? Right? And it's a really it's a very complex system, a messy middle that we're working in. Right. And it's very complex, new, even more. So I think because the multi generational workforce and expectation setting.

Molly Burdess:

Yeah, I did part one of my organization's right now and, you know, really rethinking, okay, how can I create an environment? How can I create a successful business that also allows for the flexible schedule, or the, you know, these team members but only want to work 2530 hours a week? Like, how do I redesign that in a way that works for them and work for us? It's challenging, but I completely agree that put some of these individual they're wanting.

Betsy Kauffman:

Yeah, and I what I recommended to her was allow them to design it. Give them the guardrails, right? So again, everybody has a very different context. But we have to all be together and online during these core hours. Right, so here's the guardrails or we have to be in the office two days a week. Right? You all figure out how to make that work amongst yourself as a team. So again, like these, like leaders also don't have to own everything. Give it back to your teams and let them come up with solutions and say, here's, here's the guardrails that I want. Here's what success looks like. Now go figure it out and come back to me in a week. Then it's no longer yours to own. That naming, super creative that you've never even thought of. And then like Okay, great. Let's wrap this experiment, because you may be like, Oh God, this will never work. Allow them to do experiment and try it and then come back in a month. In retrospect, is it working? Is it not working that type of thing? You don't have to own everything either I think as a leader, and we sometimes as leaders try to write always the how do we do this? Now, let's just give it to the who, and let them figure out the how. It's really empowering. Like, well, yeah, it is. Because I think it takes some of that pressure off of you to to know everything. We don't have to know everything. That's like a whole nother thing. Like, honestly, I'm okay. Like, I have no idea. What do you think like, that's the mug I like, I love David Marquet. I don't know if you guys have talked about him. But he's talks about intentional leadership. And like, you know, giving the power back to the person to tell us like, what what do you think? What do you think we should do here? I don't know, this isn't mine. So it's called turn the ship around. It's a phenomenal book. And he's got a great a great video around with it. Fantastic.

Kyle Roed:

That's my favorite question. I don't know, what do you think?

Betsy Kauffman:

Humility, right. And it shows transparency and an allowance. You also want people to think you want people to own the solution and not just be told what to do. And that's how you that's the other shift in leadership that we really need to start seeing. So Chris, I agree. I learned it the hard way. Yeah, right. I

Kyle Roed:

do it all the time.

Betsy Kauffman:

Playing in your brain was a kid never shut off? Or like, that's why like, I need to get rid of some of this stuff.

Kyle Roed:

Like, I guarantee you, you know, that email better than I do, you probably know the answer better than I do. So I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna reflect that right back at you do it all the time, right? There are many times where you can do that.

Betsy Kauffman:

And I think, you know, as HR leaders, those are tools that we can help support our leaders in within the organization, right? Here's all these like, use these types of tools. Don't Own everything. Kick it back to them. I didn't think about it. So yeah.

Kyle Roed:

So I want to circle back to one of the terms that you used was the messy middle, what is the messy middle?

Betsy Kauffman:

Yeah. So either of that layer of leaders, they are probably not your frontline first line leaders, right. And they're also not your C suite. But it's all the folks to pay on how large your organization is that sits in that messy middle. And if you think about it, they have the most probably complex job. Because they've got folks pushing up. Folks pushing down, folks pushing on the side, right. And they're, it's messy, they're having to navigate literally, like in a, like, it's not a box, but it could be a box, they're having to navigate, how do I actually get things done and support my leaders and partner across the organization. And I do a lot of work in the tech space. And so we used to call this the messy middle or the permafrost. Because if that group of leaders is not aligned, it will make or break any part of your organization, any initiatives and strategy. We've seen that happen all the time. Right? So the best strategies can come from the C suite. If there it goes, leaders are on the same page. It'll stop right there. Right? Or if you've got grassroots efforts happening, and they're and it goes up, it can stop right there. So it's about how do we really support that group of leaders sitting in the middle to one, support their leaders, as well as a part of the organization, and to kind of help make things happen within the organization. I work in very large, complex organizations, and I see it all the time. You know, we have these great ideas, and it just stop right in that middle layer. So that's, that's the messy middle. That's the space that we work. It's the complexity it is. It is fun, it is challenging, and it's it's just a whole, like, idea and concept that I think as HR leaders, we need to spend time figuring out how to continue to support them.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, have we been that person for a number of years in my career? It's like, it's like all these spinning plates, right? Yeah, you're just doing it. And to be honest, sometimes it's like, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? So you just go and address whatever's noisiest. But if you take if you focus too much on one thing, something else will fall on the other side. And it's definitely complex. And, and a good reminder now that I'm not in that seat.

Betsy Kauffman:

Well, I don't we don't put a lot as HR leaders. I don't think there's a lot of development programs for that messy metal, right, because we have spent a lot of time making sure our individual contributors are getting what they need. Or first time emerging leaders like learning how to manage people and how to lead people, or C suite gets all kinds of good stuff and perks for that messy metal. We don't spend enough energy on to say how do we actually continue to help them grow professionally and personally and get them to, like pull them up the ladder? Because that's what's happening. Right. And so that's, that's really why we won created the collaborative is because, you know, we know that that that group of female leaders needs that support, but we also saw a gap in what you HR was offering or not offering, per se. And so I think from a HR perspective, what development programs How do you create a program that's really about that messy middle. And it's a lot of things that we just talked about right empowerment and balanced focus, and just really supporting them, and how they continue to navigate all the complexities of an organization.

Kyle Roed:

I'm curious, you know, one of the, one of the things that you've, you know, been focused on has been women getting stuck in that level, that kind of that messy middle level and not ascending. And that's the statistics. Right, prove that out. So what are some insights that you found as you've been doing your work there?

Betsy Kauffman:

Yeah, I think it's about you know, one, it's how you show up, right? How do you show up as a leader, how you show up as a female leader, there's not enough female leaders that are that are there to like, and hold the line, right. And also, you know, talk with conviction, have the brush shoulders balanced, the work life thing. So I think it's about figuring out that and who you are, and bring your authenticity. And people identify that and they recognize it, right, and you start to get rewarded, and continue to pull yourself up the ladder. It's also about networking, and networking within your organization, as well as outside, right. So have a mentor, have a coach, have a community of people to support you, and then allow your intentions to be now I want to get to the C suite set, right? Believe it dream it like tell people, can you give me feedback can give me support? What do you need me to do from that. So when you let people know what you're looking for, or what you're wanting, you know, it's going to actually it could potentially even kind of fruition, and it may not be at that organization, even if you let somebody know, you might actually move into a different one. Because they're like, Oh, I'm gonna just keep my eyes open, I'm gonna tap you on the shoulder, when I see it comes, something comes up. So those are the things that we're really working on in our program to support women from that perspective.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. I think, you know, from an HR perspective, the other thing to be really cautious of is the is the halo effect. You know, that's, we talked about that all the time. But But if all your senior leaders are men, yes, they probably value the traits that got them to senior leadership, ie, maybe they're really big extroverts, maybe people just listen to them, because they have a booming voice, maybe, maybe they're really strongly opinionated, and that works really well for them. But that might not necessarily be the skills or traits that you need to be successful in the future. And you might have a wonderful leader in the middle that has a different perspective, different traits and different things that matter. And that's where I think HR comes in and pressure tests, some of those assumptions of senior leaders, and you'd mentioned networking, you know, all those things. Those structures, HR can impact, right?

Betsy Kauffman:

Yeah, absolutely. I am working with an organization, there's two women that sit at that senior level right now. Very different personalities. And I love it, because they're both successful. And they both have their own style, their own way of showing up. And people gravitate to them differently. Right. And that it's the same thing with the entire C suite. It's not just the women, it's the men. And I think when you know, braiding that, to your point, that diversity of thought, and leadership styles, because what makes actually a really great team, high performing team, because you may have a big voice in the room, you may have, you know, the quiet ones are actually amazing, because when they do talk, they usually have something really, really important to say, and it's very mindful. Right. So finding that balance is is is critical, especially within within that space, even at the middle layer, for sure. Yeah,

Molly Burdess:

yeah, I think HR can also add value by ensuring that the individual leaders recognize what their personal strengths are, and really utilize know, in whatever setting that they are in.

Betsy Kauffman:

Absolutely.

Kyle Roed:

All right, so just wonderful conversation of just, there's again, we've got like three or four more podcasts we need to record but we're running towards the end of our time together. So we're gonna switch gears we're gonna go into the rebel HR flash round. Are you ready? I'm ready. All right, question number one, where does HR need to rebel?

Betsy Kauffman:

Okay, well we'll say the messy middle but like lean in really support that demographic that group as well as I think the whole fulfillment piece of it, right? We talked about how did you create programs that help folks with their personal fulfillment and happiness, so they can actually bring them into their entire selves to work? That would be like, Please we're like rebell in there forget like ping pong tables Mama is great, but it's not going to employ so.

Kyle Roed:

Still looking for that ball pit but

Betsy Kauffman:

I mean, that's fun. That's fun. About like a wine bar.

Kyle Roed:

That's Molly speed right there. During the a bourbon bar

Betsy Kauffman:

if you bring that up, you're like, Yeah, let's talk we're gonna record drinking our liquid last call of the hour

Molly Burdess:

is connection. So Ya

Kyle Roed:

gotta rebrand it by the way, we're not advocating drinking in the workplace. Everybody's like upset about that. But whatever, you know,

Betsy Kauffman:

I read all of my successful meetings or when I've had a little bit to drink, like to see what I'm thinking out there.

Kyle Roed:

That yeah, that that is where the authentic self can become a little bit risky. You know, you might be okay to once you hit three, four or five, that you know, automaticity might be a risk,

Molly Burdess:

or you have to create boundaries.

Betsy Kauffman:

One hour drinking as much as you can drink.

Kyle Roed:

That's, that's my favorite response to that question. All right, question number two, who should we be listening to?

Betsy Kauffman:

So, all right, well, I'm an audible person. Like, I don't read books anymore. Maybe I'm not maybe whatever. There are two people that I just love Jensen cero. You're a badass she's got a whole series of you're a badass at making money. You're a badass you bet as habits like just funny raw out there. Like I like people like that, that are very quirky, right? And have a voice. Because I'm an entrepreneur, and I have my own company. Dan Sullivan has a phenomenal book called who not how, and I mentioned in the last podcast, but it's really about thinking about the shoes that you need to do the work as opposed to the house. So don't own it. So even if you're not an entrepreneur, I still think there's a phenomenal audible, listen to for sure.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. All right, last question. How can our listeners connect with you learn more?

Betsy Kauffman:

Cross impact coaching.ca was where we have all of our goodness about the collaborative organization design and all the work that we do there. Or you can link in with me at Betsy Kauffman, which is Ka you F F ma N.

Kyle Roed:

We will have all that information in the show notes. So open up your podcast player. Check it out, really just some some phenomenal work. And Betsy, I sincerely appreciate you spending the last few minutes with us and helping us understand how we can help impact some of the work that you're doing next.

Betsy Kauffman:

Thanks for having me. Super fun.

Kyle Roed:

Thanks. All right. That does it for the rebel HR podcast. Big thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebel human resources.com. The views and opinions expressed by rebel HR podcast are those the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the organizations that we represent. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast. Maybe