Women should take office politics more seriously

Is the reluctance of women to play politics linked to their struggles to find their way to the top of their organizations? My answer is simple: yes.

In much of the literature on leadership, organizational politics is often oversimplified and reduced to some tactical social astuteness aimed at gauging ‘favors from the powerful’. What many non-practitioners fail to appreciate is the extent to which political thinking is directly linked to the effectiveness of current or prospective leaders in dealing with a range of stakeholders with diverse goals, values, and priorities. It is a skill and is comparable, in terms of…


Europe’s failure is its reluctance to assume a crisis mindset

The slow pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in the EU is causing loss of life and well-being, as well as harm to the economy now and for the future. And it has become difficult for EU citizens to swallow, given the comparison with the US and the UK. The latter have pushed on the accelerator and have successfully vaccinated a proportionally much larger chunk of their population.

Since vaccines have been positioned vis-à-vis public opinion as the only feasible antidote to lifting COVID restrictions, the pressure on governments is enormous. To be sure, loosening the restrictions won’t happen solely on the…


Ed i rischi di una autenticità a tutti i costi

Almeno in apparenza, l’autenticità è un concetto piuttosto semplice. Conideriamo «autentico» qualcosa la cui origine — o paternità — sia stata accertata, come per un gioiello, un quadro, un manoscritto. Esistono procedure scientifiche attraverso le quali è possibile non solo verificare l’autenticità degli oggetti, ma anche determinarne il valore.

Quando si tratta di persone, tuttavia, la faccenda si complica. Definiamo «autentico» qualcuno che nella spontaneità dei suoi comportamenti manifesta il proprio io sincero, i propri sentimenti reali. Ricerchiamo l’autentico perchè esso rappresenta un riconoscimento indiretto al nostro valore, e come tale meritevole del nostro interesse. Nel contesto dei media, questo…


The ramifications of authenticity in leadership

Authenticity may seem like a relatively straightforward concept. We call something whose origin or authorship is not in question ‘authentic’ — a jewel, a piece of art, a manuscript. We can verify this type of authenticity through scientific procedures, and we can, most of the time, ascertain the value (economic or otherwise) of that origin and authorship, which will, in turn, make authenticity more or less precious.

When it comes to people, it gets a little more complicated. We may use ‘authentic’ to indicate that someone is acting in ways that show her true self and how she feels. In…


Us women are the first to discredit the success of other women

This week, women and women’s issues will be talked about a lot. A growing number of organizations will put out new reports with ever more depressing data about the insufficient level of rights and opportunities that are available to women and girls worldwide. The pandemic has hit the female half of the world disproportionately. Women account for 70% of workers employed in caregiving jobs that are critical to sustaining the weaker segments of the population. Yet, they are paid less than men, and they often perform these tasks…


Siamo noi le prime a screditare il successo delle altre donne

Questa settimana di noi donne si è parlato molto. Dati deprimenti — quando non addirittura allarmanti — sulle disparità con cui il genere femminile è costretto ancora oggi a fare i conti, sono nuovamente assurte agli altari della cronaca. Consapevoli che le luci della ribalta si spegneranno come al solito molto presto, abbiamo tuttavia trovato il tempo di ricordare a noi stesse quanto duro lavoro ci sia ancora da fare per conseguire una autentica parità di genere. Dal numero di donne a capo di aziende a quante ricoprono incarichi di governo (10%) siamo a percentuali da farsa!

A complicare lo…


Switzerland will vote on whether to prohibit the use of burqa and niqab

To the surprise of most foreigners living in Switzerland, including myself, Swiss citizens will be called to say whether the use of burqa and niqab should be prohibited. Promoting the referendum is Egerkinger Komitee, a group which includes politicians of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (UDC), with other UDC members having distanced himself from the initiative. While the language people will vote on mandates that “no one shall cover their face in public” (with some exceptions for religious sites, health reasons, and special weather conditions) without actually mentioning the burqa or the niqab, Egerkinger has explicitly positioned the initiative as…


The odds of being in the business of democracy

The last few months have been tumultuous for social media. Twitter banning Donald Trump and Facebook suspending him indefinitely earlier this year has marked a significant shift in public awareness about tech companies’ role in our lives. At about the same time, Facebook announced changes to WhatsApp’s terms of service, including the right to collect personal user information and to share it with the parent company, causing a mass exodus of users to rival messaging apps Signal and Telegram.

By the time you will have reached the end of this article, there will have been 20 million Google searches, 6.5…


Here are the women who are driving a rethink of our economic systems

Worldwide, economic policies still rely on fundamental economic theories that were formulated by Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, Milton Freedman, and other men. The number of women economists has grown, but their influence on public decisions has been disappointingly low. But now, the pandemic is creating a more fertile environment for their ideas to be heard.

Women economists are questioning critical notions like ‘value’, ‘growth’, and ‘GDP.’ They are drawing attention to the failures of the free market, reclaiming a strong role for the state, and proposing ideas that redefine capitalism as we know it today. They’re pointing to the…


For organizations to become human, hierarchy needs to go

I am often asked why I left a rewarding corporate life to jump into the unknown territory of becoming independent. The CEO of my former company was heard, more than once, saying that “people join an organization, but they leave a boss” — how right he was. That was a good guess for what would happen to me and was clearly informed by many other cases before mine — which is why good leadership is so critical to retain talents in an organization.

In a video chat with Jeff Gothelf (author of the book Forever Employable), Michael Bungay Stanier, author…

Germana Barba

Political scientist, public affairs expert, author. Advocating for positive change. Former corporate executive. Meet me at www.germanabarba.com

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