Career Insights for Women in Business

What to do as a Leader When You Don’t Have the Words

What to do as a Leader When You Don’t Have the Words

“If you are tuned out of your own emotions, you will be poor at reading them in other people.” – Daniel Goleman What do you do as a leader when you don’t have the words? When you cannot articulate how you’re feeling or quickly come up with an answer to a situation that looms so large it feels as if there is no real solution? As a nation, this past week has been challenging. We have watched some horrific events unfold right before our very eyes. And it seemed that just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, you woke up to the news that it did. What do you do as a leader when emotions run high and solutions seemingly run low? This is the question I’ve pondered over the past week or so as I worked to gather my own thoughts, assess my own emotions and determine my next course of action. It’s bad enough when things like this occur and you have to deal with your individual emotions, responses, and reactions. It’s an entirely different thing when you then are faced with the thoughts, emotions, and reactions of your team, your children, your family, your colleagues, your neighbors, etc. The world didn’t stop because bad things were happening. Many of us woke up to bad news, went to sleep to this news, watched it continue to unfold on TV and social media and yet life…continued…anyway. We watched (some of us continue to watch) as many of our friends, colleagues, and loved ones lashed out in hurt, anger, disbelief, and confusion. And let’s just face it, the issue...
Develop Your BIG Vision

Develop Your BIG Vision

“Little girls with dreams become women with vision.” ~Unknown I love talking about BIG vision. According to Strengthsfinder 2.0, one of my top strengths is futuristic. I can take a look at the vision and see how things could be in three to five years. It’s exciting to set a big goal and then start taking the steps toward making it happen. While this is exciting for some, it can be daunting for others. Having a big vision can be a little intimidating. How can I possibly achieve something that BIG? Is it really possible for me? Whenever I run into that question for myself and with my clients, I ask the question “how do you eat an elephant?” The answer: “one bite at a time.” This message really sunk in for me when I started my doctoral journey. All new doctoral candidates were required to attend an orientation event in Atlanta. There we were all excited about embarking on this journey to earn our doctoral credentials. One of the faculty members stood up and asked that very question “how do you eat an elephant?” when discussing the dissertation. This, in my opinion, is the biggest thing that doctoral candidates struggle with and has led to many of them being A.B.D. (All But Dissertation). Everyone starts out toward the goal excited and full of energy and zeal, but not everyone makes it to the finish line. I was intrigued by the fact that so many candidates will complete their coursework and yet for whatever reason not complete the dissertation. There are a number of reasons why this is the...
5 Keys to Own Your Power

5 Keys to Own Your Power

“Power is the ability to take one’s place in whatever discourse is essential to action and the right to have one’s part matter.” ~Carolyn Heilbrun When speaking of power many women leaders struggle with being powerful. This is often because women leaders have a warped view of power and haven’t developed a personal definition of power. If you are going to lead like a lady and shatter your inner glass ceiling, you MUST own your power and understand that you are NOT a victim. You are a powerful leading lady. You are a doyenne! Say it out loud: I am a doyenne! While there are many obstacles that you may face as a woman leader on your way to the top, having a victim or ‘woe is me’ mentality will not serve you well. The truth is, as a leader you have power. It simply comes with the territory. And women are more powerful than you think. Did you know that women control $12 trillion of the world’s wealth? And that companies who are led by women have a 36.4% greater return on equity than firms that do not? When leading like a lady, you must understand the importance of power and know how to use that power to move your career and team forward. However, before we talk about this further, I must ask you a question: how do you feel about being a powerful leader? What is your perception of power? I want you to pay attention to the thoughts, images, and feelings that come up for you. This will provide key insight into how you view...
Create Your Own Definition of Success

Create Your Own Definition of Success

  I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist. ~Ginni Rometty I once had a coach who would remind me to stop “shoulding” all over myself. In a time where we are constantly bombarded with images on TV, radio, magazines, and the Internet telling us who we “should” be, how we “should” act, how we “should” define success it’s no wonder that many are left confused and wanting. When leading like a lady, it is imperative that you create your own definition of success or else you will spend your life attempting to achieve someone else’s definition of success. For example, in U.S. culture a lot of the images of success that are portrayed in media are directly related to money and financial success. Therefore, if you don’t achieve a certain level of wealth in a certain amount of time, then you are somehow unsuccessful. This often leads to the debate around having an obsession with stuff and consumption. What’s ever considered “enough?” And what if it takes you longer than everyone else to achieve that level of financial success? Then what? And don’t get me started on the definitions of beauty and success as it relates to your body size and weight. We live in a society that is seemingly obsessed with body weight and image. Admittedly, it is challenging not to get caught up in the hype around what’s defined as success in this country. However, there are benefits to marching to the beat of your own drum. Identify your core values. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying,...
Do You Have the Courage?

Do You Have the Courage?

“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” – Elizabeth Gilbert On a recent flight to Salt Lake City, Utah, I started reading the book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’d heard some good things about the book from friends and colleagues. And while I purchased the book several months ago, I hadn’t yet made the time to read it. So there I was at 30,000 feet (or so) and I decided to dive in. It wasn’t long before I came across this question, which caused me to pause and close the book for a moment… Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you? Yikes! Well that’s an interesting question. Do I? Do you? As I opened the book again to continue reading, little did I know that this question would somehow be the basis for the entire trip. Once I arrived in Utah and got checked into my hotel, I ventured out for breakfast with my colleague Mark. During our meal, as we were talking about business, I shared with Mark my idea to host more luxury retreats for women leaders and the laundry list of reasons for my hesitation not to do so. Mark being the numbers guy that he is was more than happy to share ideas on how that could become a reality without it sucking all of the joy and fun out of the project. My growing excitement about this idea and the possibilities was not lost on Mark and he asked me this question: “what if you...
Master Your Emotions

Master Your Emotions

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” – Oscar Wilde There are those who may believe that women and emotions are synonymous. And while men are not void of emotion, I think we can all admit that they do not process their emotions in the same way. Overcoming the “too emotional” label is a challenge that women leaders face. No matter how ludicrous the notion may be, it still exists. Although there is no evidence to support the idea that women are too emotional to be effective leaders, there is wisdom in making sure that your emotions are not running the show. However, you cannot allow yourself to be held hostage in a place where you equate not being too emotional with not being allowed to feel or express emotion. The danger isn’t in feeling emotions, but it’s in allowing your emotions to rule your thoughts, actions and decisions. Emotional leaders allow their emotions to dictate their actions and from day-to-day you don’t know what to expect. We’ve either worked with them or heard the horror stories. They are the leaders who one day they are fine and all is well and the next everyone is walking around on eggshells to avoid encountering their wrath. When a leader creates an environment that is unsafe, it damages morale, hinders connection and has a negative impact on team productivity. It also adds unnecessary stress and drama to the life of the leader. Below are six tips to help you eliminate the drama and make sure you are...
Overcoming Rejection in Leadership

Overcoming Rejection in Leadership

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” – Ghandi There’s one thing that I know for sure and that is, leadership is risky business. When you decide to step into a leadership role, you willingly put yourself directly in the line of fire for criticism, judgment and rejection. I wish I could tell you that being a business owner or in a leadership role was all fun, glitz and glamor, but unfortunately that simply isn’t the case. Being a leader is often like living in a fish bowl, everyone is watching your every move and they have an opinion about it. It exposes your strengths and unfortunately your weaknesses too. At some point along this journey, you will deal with rejection and I can tell you that it doesn’t feel good. However, rejection and the fear of rejection do not have to be debilitating or continue to hold you back. While it may sting to deal with rejection or criticism, there are ways to move forward in spite of your feelings. Below are 3 strategies to overcoming rejection in leadership. Remain positive and don’t overthink it. If you’re not careful, it is quite easy to dwell on the rejection and overthink it. There could be a myriad of reasons and not all of them may be logical. Review it and let it go. Don’t allow what happened to steal your joy and cause you to have a negative attitude. Pay attention to your emotions. This is a big one. In my sales trainings, I have attendees commit to creating a Rejection Diary. In addition to identifying the exact objection of the...

Did He Just Call Me a Whiner?

Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people. ~Prince We hear a lot of talk about the difference in communication styles between the sexes and yet sometimes it can still be a little shocking when you find yourself face to face with one of those “different” interactions. A few months ago I was talking to a male colleague about a project that we were working on. One of our team members threw out an idea and I had several questions. During my string of questions, my colleague remarked, “why are you whining?” Wait… what?! Did he just call me a whiner? OH. NO. HE. DIDN’T!!! When did asking questions become whining? Can we just say I saw RED?! Because the truth of the matter is, he NEVER would have said that to one of the guys. EVER!! And how should I respond? Do I stop and address the question? Do I defend myself? Do I pretend I didn’t hear that and simply stay focused on the topic at hand, because at the end of the day, I still need answers to my questions? Is that a headache forming in my head right now? So many questions raced through my head in .02 seconds. I wish I could tell you that I remained calm and politely asked him to repeat the question, but that isn’t quite how it went down. Instead, it sounded more like “Did you just call me a whiner?!” Fortunately, the situation didn’t escalate beyond there. Everyone took a deep breath, regrouped, apologies were issued and my questions were answered. However, it made...
Is Your Company’s Culture to Blame for Decreased Employee Engagement?

Is Your Company’s Culture to Blame for Decreased Employee Engagement?

“Both men and women want to work for organizations that recognize talent in all its varieties.” — Orit Gadiesh Employee engagement is a big topic right now in the marketplace and for good reason. A poll by Gallup states, “less than one-third of U.S. workers were engaged in their jobs in 2014.” This means that the majority (51%) of employees were “not engaged” and “17.5% were ‘actively disengaged’ in 2014.” The lack of employee engagement costs U.S. companies billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, opportunities, and turnover. So what can organizational leaders do about it? Take a look at your company’s culture. According to a recent article in Harvard Business Review, an organization’s culture has a direct impact on employee engagement over time. The interesting part is that for men, ambition and confidence went up, while for women it went down drastically after two years with the organization. Why the disparity? The article states that women reported, “their direct supervisors don’t know their career aspirations, or what to say to support them. Others reported feedback like ‘you’re not cut out for’ top management, or ‘you don’t really want it.’” With the aging baby boomer population, who hold many of the leadership roles within organizations and with nearly 60% of college graduates being women, companies can ill-afford to ignore these findings. However, the truth is, many organizational leaders simply are not equipped with the skills and tools necessary to properly coach their team members. If you’d like to learn more about a simple, proven coaching process designed to equip your managers and supervisors with the skills needed to...