Megan Reitz

Inquire About This Speaker

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 of Leadership and Dialogue, Hult International Business School; Named Among the Top 50 Management Thinkers in the World in 2021, Thinkers50

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 (pronounced Rates), professor of leadership and dialogue at Hult International Business School, leaders must create psychologically safe environments where people feel it is safe to speak up without fear of retribution – and where they feel they will be respected and heard.

An executive coach, researcher and co-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. In this February 2022 episode of Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead podcast, Megan and co-author John Higgins discuss what it takes to be a leader in the modern workplace.

By offering them a deeper understanding of power dynamics, Reitz helps leaders spot how and when they (often inadvertently) silence others so they can foster 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 who was named in 2021 among the top 50 management thinkers in the world by Thinkers50. “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 Collins, 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 Hult International Business School where her research, speaking and executive education programs focus on change, dialogue and mindfulness. She is listed on the Thinkers50 global business thinkers ranking and named among HR Magazine‘s Most Influential Thinkers. In 2021, Reitz was shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Breakthrough Idea Award which celebrates a eureka moment in management thinking.

Before joining Hult, 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

Media

Megan Reitz's Blog

Megan Reitz's Mindtime Podcast

CNBC logo

How Companies Can Do a Better Job Dealing With Activist Employees and Political Divide

June 2, 2022

Leading in an Age of Employee Activism (Audio)

February 28, 2022

Leaders Need to Stop Silencing Their People

February 4, 2022

How Leaders Can Respond to Increasing Employee Activism

January 28, 2022

Leading in an Age of Employee Activism

January 19, 2022

Employee Activism Is Here to Stay How Should Managers Adapt Their Approach?

January 4, 2022

CNBC logo

Mindful Leadership: Making Employee Activism Part Of Everybody’s Job (Video)

October 28, 2021

Don’t Ban “Politics” at Work

July 7, 2021

What Leaders Gain When Employees Speak Up

June 22, 2021

Embracing Employee Activism is Good for Business

June 1, 2021

Does a Culture of Activism Scare You or Inspire You?

May 12, 2021

No Opting Out - The Realities of Politics in the Workplace (Audio)

May 11, 2021

Creating a Speak Up Culture

May 7, 2021

What is Your Response to Employee Activism? Part One

April 29, 2021

Why Employee Activism Needs to Feature in Your HR Strategy

April 9, 2021

HR Magazine logo

HR’s Role in Employee Activism

March 29, 2021

The Wrong Way to Respond to Employee Activism

February 26, 2021

The Art of Not Shutting Up But Speaking Up

December 3, 2020

Not Being Able to Speak at Work Can Cost Lives

November 12, 2020

Megan Reitz Delivers Powerful Talk on Speaking up at First Decision Webinar

October 8, 2020

Why Your Team Should Practice Collective Mindfulness

August 19, 2020

Poly Issues Hybrid Working Report for Creating the “Next Normal”

July 23, 2020

Is Menopause a Taboo in Your Organization?

February 4, 2020

Are Your Staff Scared of You? (And Why It May Be Costing You A Fortune)

July 23, 2019

Managers, You’re More Intimidating Than You Think

July 18, 2019

Meta-awareness: the Third Building Block of Mindfulness

July 10, 2018

Do You Have “Advantage Blindness”?

April 10, 2018

5 Questions to Ask Before You Call Out Someone Powerful

April 7, 2017

The Problem with Saying “My Door Is Always Open”

March 9, 2017

How to Bring Mindfulness to Your Company’s Leadership

December 1, 2016

A-Z Name

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 (pronounced Rates), professor of leadership and dialogue at Hult International Business School, leaders must create psychologically safe environments where people feel it is safe to speak up without fear of retribution – and where they feel they will be respected and heard.

An executive coach, researcher and co-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. In this February 2022 episode of Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead podcast, Megan and co-author John Higgins discuss what it takes to be a leader in the modern workplace.

By offering them a deeper understanding of power dynamics, Reitz helps leaders spot how and when they (often inadvertently) silence others so they can foster 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 who was named in 2021 among the top 50 management thinkers in the world by Thinkers50. “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 Collins, 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 Hult International Business School where her research, speaking and executive education programs focus on change, dialogue and mindfulness. She is listed on the Thinkers50 global business thinkers ranking and named among HR Magazine‘s Most Influential Thinkers. In 2021, Reitz was shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Breakthrough Idea Award which celebrates a eureka moment in management thinking.

Before joining Hult, 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

Leading in an Age of Employee Activism

Increasingly, employees are starting challenging conversations with management: “So, what’s our policy on Black Lives Matter, gender equity, climate change, human rights in our supply chain?” Some leaders respond by saying their organization is apolitical, or they hand off hard-to-avoid issues to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) managers. Worse, they don’t respond at all. Silencing employees works against organizations in a number of ways. Two big drawbacks: employees may not reveal hidden problems which can grow, or they may end up leaving if the values of the organization do not align with their own, explains Megan Reitz, professor of leadership and dialogue at Hult International Business School, and co-author of the acclaimed book “Speak Up: Say What Needs to be Said and Hear What Needs to be Heard.” In this talk, she shares her research-backed framework which helps leaders become aware of their responses to employee activism and serves as a playbook for proactively and thoughtfully engaging with employees. Leaders come away with a stronger ability to navigate power differences and transform their workplace cultures. As a result, employees are more likely to openly communicate, and leaders are able to find out what’s really going on in their organization and harness much-needed ideas for tackling the ‘wicked’ business, social and environmental challenges that now face us.

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 International 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 International 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 International 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 International 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.

Media

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Books & Research

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Advisory & Consulting

Megan Reitz, professor of leadership and dialogue at Hult International Business School, and co-author of the acclaimed book “Speak Up: Say What Needs to be Said and Hear What Needs to be Heard,” is a highly sought-after speaker, advisor and educator. She helps leaders in every sector 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 better 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. Reitz’s research-backed framework serves as a playbook for proactively and thoughtfully engaging with employees. During virtual or in-person advisory meetings or executive education workshops, Reitz can cover any or all of the following topics which can be customized to meet the needs of your organization and the size of your audience.

  • Improving Innovation, Agility and Collaboration
  • Transforming Workplace Culture
  • Addressing Employee Activism
  • Strengthening Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Programs
  • Becoming a Leader Who Listens
  • Reducing Employee Turnover
  • Making Spaces for Differences
  • Encouraging Employees to Speak Up
  • Examining Conversational Habits
  • Uncovering and Addressing Hidden Organizational Problems
  • Supporting Employees by Giving Them a Voice

Recommendations

“Transformational changes in our leadership culture were catalysed by you and your approach to open our leaders’ thinking, and challenging their perspectives helped us to elevate their self-awareness and reinforce their commitment to make things better. For this, we will always be grateful to you. On a personal note, I wish to tell you that I learned much from you and I am continually inspired by your work and example.”

– Berns Bernardo, Sr. Director for Globe University and Talent CoE, Globe Telecom

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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