Situation 28: PERSONAL MATTERS

Due to her demanding job, Femcy lost some friends. This is truly painful for her. She vents to everybody, everywhere any moment. To her male colleagues this comes across as whining and a bad attitude.

(Click on the pictures to see them in full size)

A great leader:

  • Is professional and behaves in a fitting manner at all times.  She keeps discussions about personal problems to a minimum and with the appropriate persons;
  • Is clear about what success looks like and makes deliberate choices and sacrifices to progress in her career in accordance with this;
  • Has great self-awareness and knows how her colleagues perceive her.  She works to foster a positive working environment so that they can each do their best work;
  • Understands her personal motives and looks for opportunities to satisfy those needs.

How to best handle the situation:

Recognize that you have a choice; it is your decision whether your career is worth the sacrifice of losing some friends.  If you know that your work will place great demands on you for a time, particularly if you are new in a role and want to prove yourself or you have an important project to deliver, let your friends know that you will not be able to spend much time with them for a while.  Explain to them that they are very important to you and you want to keep the relationship with them and hope that they will understand and give you this time to focus on your work.  If they are unsympathetic, then they are not your true friends!

At work try to keep your discussions and contributions focused on business and away from personal matters except where it seems appropriate, such as at informal, social gatherings.  Be positive about the opportunities that your job is affording you and take time to reflect on what you are learning as you grasp different responsibilities and situations.

If you feel overloaded, review all the assignments on your plate to determine which of those you need to perform yourself and those activities you could get re-assigned to someone who is more suited to the job-in-hand.  Then calmly sit down with your boss and agree what the priorities are and focus on delivering those rather than trying to do everything.

Learning suggestions:

  • Make a list of all the work that you have “to do”. Consider whether someone else could competently carry out any of the assignments on your list.  Have a discussion with your designated person to see if he/she is willing to take on the assignment; offer to assist them if they need some guidance.  Assess how well the remaining assignments are aligned and contribute to the overall strategy of your organization.  Prioritize these based on the perceived added value to the organization and allocate your time to work on the highest priority items first;
  • Take some time to reflect on your personal drivers; when do you feel most energized?  When do you do your best work?  What do you like best/least about your job?  How do people respond to you in different situations?  Understanding your motives and those things that you do not particularly enjoy will enable you to develop strategies to behave appropriately in most situations;
  • Learn to moderate your communication with your colleagues and flex your style according to the situation and the people that you are with.  Listen attentively during conversations and look for non-verbal clues for how your words and messages are landing with your audience.  Reflect on their reactions and modify your behaviour accordingly.  Remember to be yourself and not try to be something that you are not (for example tell a lot of jokes when you are quite a serious person).

Femchallenge:

  • Do you know who your true friends are who will stick by you through thick and thin and route for you to do well and be successful?

Femcommunity tips:

We welcome your thoughts, experiences and comments on how you would deal with such a situation.

Find more on our website Femflection.com

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