Megan Reitz

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Leadership Coach and Authority on Psychological Safety and Empowering Employees to Speak Truth to Power; Renowned Educator, Researcher and Consultant on Mindfulness and Diversity in the Workplace; Author, “Speak Up” (2019); Professor, Ashridge Executive Education, Hult Business School

Biography

How can leaders enable employees to talk about organizational problems so they can be addressed? How can they invite employees to challenge and offer ideas to stay agile and innovative? And in an age of employee activism, how can leaders ensure that people of diverse backgrounds and value systems can work well together?

According to Megan Reitz, professor of leadership and dialogue at Ashridge Executive Education at Hult Business School, leaders must create psychologically safe environments where people feel it is safe to speak up without fear of retribution.

An executive coach, researcher and author of the book “Speak Up: Say What Needs to be Said and Hear What Needs to be Heard” (Financial Times Publishing, July 2019), Reitz helps leaders become more aware of their “conversational habits” — what they speak up about and what they don’t, whose voices they listen to and whose they discount. Through a deeper understanding of power dynamics, leaders are able to spot how and when they (often inadvertently) silence others. They become more able to create a culture where employees can safely and openly share ideas. As a result, leaders get the feedback they need about what’s really happening in their organizations and teams end up communicating, collaborating and innovating more effectively.

“It takes courage to speak your mind to a person in power,” says Reitz. “But equally, if you are the person in power, it takes enormous humility and skill to be able to invite, then listen.” Her enlightening TEDxHultAshridge talk, “How Your Power Silences Truth,” artfully explains how leaders can strike a balance between guiding and being guided by the people they oversee. Her practical frameworks for promoting psychological safety help organizations address issues around trust, ethics, diversity, equity and inclusion, and communication – especially in remote or hybrid workplaces where many cues can get lost.

Ranked among HR Magazine’s Most Influential Thinkers and author of “Mind Time: How Ten Mindful Minutes Can Enhance Your Work, Health and Happiness” (Harper Thorsons, 2018), Reitz’s research also explores the neuroscience of leadership and the links between mindfulness and leadership capacities for the 21st century.

“Leaders who are more mindful have the capacity to pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment,” says Reitz. “They are more aware of themselves, others and the world around them. This allows them to respond appropriately rather than react without thinking.” Reitz’s stress-reducing mindfulness practices offer executives a powerful opportunity to become more resilient, empathetic and focused leaders. They also provide tools for disrupting conversational habits that do not serve them or their teams.

Reitz emphasizes that speaking up is a two-way street. Leaders who are mindful of the signals they send can counteract the traps of silencing by opening up dialogue before the employee has to ‘be courageous’ in order to speak up. Her work is particularly urgent right now as remote and hybrid work settings require leaders to be more proactive about listening to employees and inviting in their thoughts. Her win-win approach allows organizations to learn what employees are thinking and where problems may be hidden, while offering employees the comfort of working for a leader who is more relatable, approachable and open-minded. Her focus is on enabling organizational dialogue in order to sustain more ethical, compassionate and productive workplaces where employees can flourish.

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Megan Reitz is Professor of Leadership and Dialogue at Ashridge Executive Education, Hult Business School where her research, speaking and executive education programs focus on change, dialogue and mindfulness. She is on the Thinkers50 radar of global business thinkers and was ranked among HR Magazine‘s Most Influential Thinkers of 2019. In 2021, Reitz was shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Breakthrough Idea Award, which celebrates a eureka moment in management thinking.

Before joining Ashridge, Reitz was a consultant with Deloitte, surfed the dot-com boom with boo.com and worked in strategy consulting for The Kalchas Group, now the strategic arm of Computer Science Corporation. She was educated at Cambridge University and has a PhD from Cranfield School of Management. She is an accredited executive coach with Ashridge and The School of Coaching.

Megan Reitz is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®

Videos

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Reitz, Megan

Biography

How can leaders enable employees to talk about organizational problems so they can be addressed? How can they invite employees to challenge and offer ideas to stay agile and innovative? And in an age of employee activism, how can leaders ensure that people of diverse backgrounds and value systems can work well together?

According to Megan Reitz, professor of leadership and dialogue at Ashridge Executive Education at Hult Business School, leaders must create psychologically safe environments where people feel it is safe to speak up without fear of retribution.

An executive coach, researcher and author of the book “Speak Up: Say What Needs to be Said and Hear What Needs to be Heard” (Financial Times Publishing, July 2019), Reitz helps leaders become more aware of their “conversational habits” — what they speak up about and what they don’t, whose voices they listen to and whose they discount. Through a deeper understanding of power dynamics, leaders are able to spot how and when they (often inadvertently) silence others. They become more able to create a culture where employees can safely and openly share ideas. As a result, leaders get the feedback they need about what’s really happening in their organizations and teams end up communicating, collaborating and innovating more effectively.

“It takes courage to speak your mind to a person in power,” says Reitz. “But equally, if you are the person in power, it takes enormous humility and skill to be able to invite, then listen.” Her enlightening TEDxHultAshridge talk, “How Your Power Silences Truth,” artfully explains how leaders can strike a balance between guiding and being guided by the people they oversee. Her practical frameworks for promoting psychological safety help organizations address issues around trust, ethics, diversity, equity and inclusion, and communication – especially in remote or hybrid workplaces where many cues can get lost.

Ranked among HR Magazine’s Most Influential Thinkers and author of “Mind Time: How Ten Mindful Minutes Can Enhance Your Work, Health and Happiness” (Harper Thorsons, 2018), Reitz’s research also explores the neuroscience of leadership and the links between mindfulness and leadership capacities for the 21st century.

“Leaders who are more mindful have the capacity to pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment,” says Reitz. “They are more aware of themselves, others and the world around them. This allows them to respond appropriately rather than react without thinking.” Reitz’s stress-reducing mindfulness practices offer executives a powerful opportunity to become more resilient, empathetic and focused leaders. They also provide tools for disrupting conversational habits that do not serve them or their teams.

Reitz emphasizes that speaking up is a two-way street. Leaders who are mindful of the signals they send can counteract the traps of silencing by opening up dialogue before the employee has to ‘be courageous’ in order to speak up. Her work is particularly urgent right now as remote and hybrid work settings require leaders to be more proactive about listening to employees and inviting in their thoughts. Her win-win approach allows organizations to learn what employees are thinking and where problems may be hidden, while offering employees the comfort of working for a leader who is more relatable, approachable and open-minded. Her focus is on enabling organizational dialogue in order to sustain more ethical, compassionate and productive workplaces where employees can flourish.

###

Megan Reitz is Professor of Leadership and Dialogue at Ashridge Executive Education, Hult Business School where her research, speaking and executive education programs focus on change, dialogue and mindfulness. She is on the Thinkers50 radar of global business thinkers and was ranked among HR Magazine‘s Most Influential Thinkers of 2019. In 2021, Reitz was shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Breakthrough Idea Award, which celebrates a eureka moment in management thinking.

Before joining Ashridge, Reitz was a consultant with Deloitte, surfed the dot-com boom with boo.com and worked in strategy consulting for The Kalchas Group, now the strategic arm of Computer Science Corporation. She was educated at Cambridge University and has a PhD from Cranfield School of Management. She is an accredited executive coach with Ashridge and The School of Coaching.

Megan Reitz is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®

Speech Topics

Fostering Psychological Safety in the Workplace

How can leaders foster a culture where employees feel free to speak up about workplace concerns without fear of retribution? How can employees be encouraged to challenge conventional thinking and offer new ideas so teams can remain agile and innovative? And how can organizations both avoid scandal and facilitate overall healthy corporate cultures? A renowned expert on leadership and dialogue, Hult Business School Professor Megan Reitz teaches leaders that having a psychologically safe culture requires them to notice their own habits and be mindful of the signals they’re sending which may be deliberately or inadvertently silencing others. In this presentation, Reitz shares evidence-based communication tools leaders can use to encourage employees to speak up and ensure all voices are heard so vital knowledge and innovative ideas can be regularly exchanged.

Speaking Truth to Power: Encouraging Open Dialogue

Many employees have a burning desire to voice their opinions regarding important organizational changes, yet companies may not have a culture that encourages them to do so. When leaders become aware of the link between leadership and mindfulness, says Hult Business School professor Megan Reitz, space for speaking truth to power is born. In this presentation based on her engaging TEDxHultAshridge talk, Reitz teaches leaders how to navigate power differences and transform their workplace cultures so employees feel free to openly communicate.

The Power of Mindful Leadership

What role does mindfulness play in leadership? Hult Business School Professor Megan Reitz’s research shows that mindfulness opens doors for leaders to become more “present,” enabling them to respond rather than react to circumstances, which in turn builds resilience, improves focus, and allows them to become better listeners and decision makers. Based on her book “Mind Time,” Reitz teaches participants tools for becoming more present, mindful, less stressed, and more effective leaders who are viewed as more approachable and relatable.

Diversity and Inclusion: Inviting in New Ideas and Building Awareness Around Biases

How can leaders do their part to mitigate biases among their employees and also become aware of their own unconscious biases? Hult Business School Professor Megan Reitz helps leaders and employees understand how they unconsciously “label” both themselves and others, and how those labels convey different levels of status and authority depending on context. In this talk, she explains how such a dynamic affects the broader conversation around voice and inclusion. She then shares tools for building sensitivity and awareness so everyone in an organization feels seen, heard and included – and, as a result, more satisfied, engaged and productive.

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Recommendations

Praise for “Speak Up”

“A powerful book on an important topic. ‘Speak Up’ helps us understand the subtle elements that contribute to our holding back valuable ideas and observations. Their TRUTH framework – which is as practical as it is rigorous – identifies essential elements to help individuals find their voice.”

Amy Edmondson, Professor, Harvard Business School, Author, “The Fearless Organization”

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