Monthly Archives: July 2017

Situation 44: inappropriate behavior, sexual harassment

Femsy and Mansy are still sharing the office together. The working relationship has stabilized over time. Lately, however, Mansy starts to make sexually tinted comments to Femsy and is touching her when she is passing.  Femsy reports the incident to Boss.

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A great leader:

  • Takes notice of her feelings during interactions with others and responds to them rather than ignore feelings of discomfort;
  • Sets and communicates clear boundaries of what is and is not acceptable behavior to her colleagues;
  • Confronts colleagues who act disrespectfully towards others;
  • Acts with integrity and regard at all times to her colleagues;
  • Is a role model to others.

How to best handle the situation:

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Why mentorship matters for women


By: Anja Uitdehaag

For many women working long hours or trying to combine work with family life, it is easy to concentrate on the day- to-day issues of life and forget the larger picture – where they are heading. Having a mentor is a chance to think about longer-term objectives.

Throughout my career multiple mentors and sponsors took part in my continuous development and growth, both males and females. They supported me when I needed a new approach or new level of thought. They helped me to build my self-confidence and leadership at moments when I felt that I did not have the right skills for a particular role or situation and they brought in unique experiences that added to my understanding of how to play the game of business.

Some of the challenges women encounter in the workplace don’t necessarily come from their working environments, but rather from within.

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My Story

Iroh – Avatar The last Airbender

by Raechanah Syafei

It was in 2010 when I was diagnosed with cancer and for two years I underwent medical treatment.

In the middle of 2012 I had total hysterectomy.

I was devastated both physically and mentally throughout this time. For two years I struggled to keep my high performance level up at work and at the same time fighting against my cancer. I am a right-handed person and since I could not use my right hand anymore I learnt to write with my left hand.

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the right direction

positive.jpgBy: Angie Falls

I believe that all have people have good and bad, negative and positive qualities. When I coach, and listen, I maneuver to ask the right question to get to the source of negativity in a person. This allows me to understand the venom in the person. I am then able to coach in a better way. A new view on life is being developed in a person full of positivity. The main question to ask oneself will be “What do I ultimately would like to accomplish in life”. It turned out that the majority doesn’t ask this question let alone have an answer for it. We rather move on with life not really feeling life. The struggle seems to be part of our DNA and simplicity is farfetched.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 25: I’m a believer


What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

Things are going well. I have positive noises around me – again no firm contracts but lots of warm hopefuls. Eight people are actively looking for Mirror Mirror for their contacts, and eight companies are giving me positive signals. That takes me back to making sure my current cherished FIRST client is going well. It is actually, but in explaining Mirror Mirror to people and seeing it come to life, I found myself pondering how little effort it can take for people to get aligned and how valuable that alignment is.

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Sylvia Ann Hewlett, “Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success”


Reviewed by Femflection

Sylvia Ann Hewlett is the founding president of the Center for Talent Innovation, a Manhattan-based think tank where she chairs a task force of eighty-two multinational companies focused on fully realising the new streams of labor in the global marketplace.

Back Cover Summary:

This book is immensely practical. Hewlett teases out tactics that can help you raise your game and close the gap between merit and success. The author offers the unvarnished advice you won’t get from supportive friends and tackles head-on such touchy subjects as too-tight clothing and too-shrill voices. She shows how the standards for EP vary for men, women, multicultural, and LGBT employees, and she shares how to get meaningful feedback from politically correct bosses intent on avoiding the real issues.

Executive Presence is teachable. You can learn how to “show teeth” while remaining likable, and you can teach yourself how to dress appropriately while staying true to yourself. With hard facts and vivid examples, Hewlett shows you how to ace EP and fully realize your unique potential—no matter who you are, no matter where you work.

Some “Executive Presence” quotes:

  • “how you act (gravitas), how you speak (communication), and how you look (appearance) count for a lot in determining your leadership presence.”
  • “It is executive presence—and no man or woman attains a top job, lands an extraordinary deal, or develops a significant following without this heady combination of confidence, poise, and authenticity that convinces the rest of us we’re in the presence of someone who’s the real deal. It’s an amalgam of qualities that telegraphs that you are in charge or deserve to be.”
  • “In this regard, professionals of color may hold an edge. In focus groups we conducted, countless participants confirmed that being a minority is itself a relentless exercise in reading others in order to anticipate and overcome reflexive bias or unconscious resistance.”
  • “It is executive presence—and no man or woman attains a top job, lands an extraordinary deal, or develops a significant following without this heady combination of confidence, poise, and authenticity that convinces the rest of us we’re in the presence of someone who’s the real deal.”
  • “When companies and leaders know how to harness and leverage gender, generation, ethnicity, race, culture, and nationality, there is a significant impact on the bottom line.”
  • “There are simple rules of engagement: You need to have your voice, but it has to be very intentional – be brief and to the point, with fresh ideas. Don’t restate things someone else has said. Make eye contact with the person who has the floor.”
  • “There are three pillars, regardless of your work culture, whether you’re in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street: how you look, how you speak, and how you behave. It’s all three things, and nailing them makes you a contender.”
  • “Women have made enormous progress on the lower and middle rungs of the career ladder, but we are failing to make the leap into senior positions. Everyone jumps to the conclusion that it’s motherhood that holds women back, but often the big roadblock is the lack of executive presence.”

“Executive Presence” – the Book:

You might have the qualifications to be considered for your dream job, but you won’t get far unless you can signal that you’re “leadership material” and that you “have what it takes.” Professionals are judged on presence as well as on performance.

As such, leadership isn’t as much about what you do, but rather how you look and come across while you are doing it.

The author found that executive presence rests on three pillars:

• How you act (gravitas)

• How you speak (communication)

• How you look (appearance)

You don’t need to have all of these elements in equal measure:

Gravitas is the most important with 67% of the executives surveyed say that it matters most.
Communication comes in at 28%.
Appearance comes in at 5%.
Demonstrating confidence through “grace under fire”, the ability to make tough decisions, integrity and emotional intelligence are the important ingredients of gravitas.

Communication (superior speaking skills, the ability to command/read a room, assertiveness and sense of humor) and appearance (being polished and groomed, fit/slim, appropriate wardrobe choices) tend to be significant factors in assessing a person’s gravitas.

The book is organized into seven simple chapters that will lead the reader on the journey toward building up their Executive Presence:

Chapter 1: What is Executive Presence

Chapter 2: Gravitas

Chapter 3: Communication

Chapter 4: Appearance

Chapter 5: Feedback Failures

Chapter 6: Walking the Tightrope

Chapter 7: Authenticity versus Conformity

Each chapter contains specific examples from well-known companies, brands and people that you’ve watched on the news.

Much of the book is taken up in discussing how cultural prejudices can be overcome. The author is of the view that the best results are achieved by accentuating the strengths that make you different from the white alpha male, rather than by trying to pretend to be a white alpha male.

In order for your voice to be heard, you must first be in a position where people will listen to you. If you are at a point in your career where you are delivering solid results, but just can’t seem to get to the next level, Executive Presence could be the missing link. Regardless of where you are in your career or even to what level of leadership you aspire to, “Executive Presence” can serve as a helpful guide to ensure you can bridge the gap between merit and success.

This book is for sure also useful for leaders who are ready to have their preconceptions challenged to ensure that going forward their workplaces can experience the benefits of greater diversity.

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Situation 43: asking for approval

Femsy wants to organize a two days teambuilding meeting with her team. She asks Boss to approve her request. Due to budget pressures Boss rejects.

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A great leader:

  • Is focused on doing value-add activities that enhance the capabilities of her people and delivers superior performance for the organization;
  • Is clear about the rationale for people development activities and the return on investment;
  • Manages her budget wisely so that she can enhance the effectiveness of her team and deliver on all her commitments within budgetary constraints
  • Demonstrates her trustworthiness in handling financial matters.

How to best handle the situation:

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By: Anja Uitdehaag

Women are more likely to be sensitive to the people issues at work.

Especially when it involves our selves, the sensitivity heightens. Issues can be interpreted as personal (one may think that she is being shamed, disrespected or embarrassed even when that it not the intention of the other person) and that leads to an increased likelihood of becoming defensive.

Defensiveness makes it hard to be honest with your self. It makes it harder to absorb honest feedback from others. Defensiveness means you easily and quickly feel “attacked” or misunderstood.

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