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Are you living the life you want or submitting to the directives, aspirations and advice that others impose on you?

 

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From the moment we are born we develop both our motives and values. Motives are deep-seated non-conscious desires and are the things that we enjoy doing. Values develop through social conditioning – home, school, religion, work, friends etc. Values are what we feel are important; the things we should do.

David McClelland’s theory on human motivation states that in normal, healthy human beings there are 3 social motives and values that describe the widest range of behaviors; achievement, affiliation and power. Achievement is a concern for achieving a standard of excellence that the individual sets for him/herself. Often people with a dominant achievement motive strive for mastery and expertise in their chosen field. Affiliation is concerned with having positive relationships for the sake of the relationship (and not in service of something else). Individuals with a dominant affiliation motive invest in a few, deep relationships and often have strong reactions towards others – they are clear whom they like and dislike. They prefer environments that are convivial and foster friendship. The power motive is a concern to have influence and impact on others. People with a dominant power motive like to have an audience and visibility. They are often good networkers.

There is no ‘right’ motive profile that determines success; we are all different.   The key to our success lies in understanding what drives our behavior in various situations; this is a combination of our motives and our values (what we believe is important at the time) and the conditions that we find ourselves in. Defining personal success is a journey of self-discovery; you need to figure out what is your true purpose, what you are passionate about, what you enjoy and find ways at work to satisfy that need.   You must to listen to your inner voice rather than be influenced by others so that you can lead a fulfilling life and not feel regret when you retire because you did not follow your heart.

Learning suggestions:

  • Take some time to determine what your motives are. There are several ways to do this:
  1. You can work with work with a coach who is accredited to help you uncover your motives and values. Usually, he/she will recommend that you take a survey to more accurately diagnose your dominant drivers since we are often not conscious of what these are.
  2. Assess your behavior patterns over time; whilst the specific circumstances may vary you look for opportunities to satisfy your motives. For example, do you always put your hand up when there is a challenging or complex problem to solve or project to run? Do you like to learn new things or deepen your knowledge in a certain area? Do you love taking the floor and entertaining people?   These patterns will be related to your underlying motives.
  3. Consider what you do in your spare time when you are free to choose. For example, do you like to spend time with close friends or family? Are you learning a new skill? Do you chair a group? Again, this will indicate your dominant motive.
  4. Get feedback from the people who know you well about what they see in your behavior.
  • Do some reflection on your life story so far. What was it like growing up? How have events shaped you? What lessons have you learned? What does that mean for how you want to live your life?

Determine what your purpose is. This should come out of your motives and values and be a guiding light in terms of what you want to achieve and how you define success.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

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Situation 48: taking things personally

Billy and Betsy are having their monthly ‘mentoring’ session. Boss was not happy with the monthly performance report Betsy has sent in. She takes the criticism highly personally  Billy gets fed up after a while and tells her to toughen up.

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A great leader:

  • Is open to and actively seeks feedback to improve her performance;
  • Learns from her mistakes;
  • Develops a network of support to help her succeed in her role.

How to best handle the situation:

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Situation 47: Financials

In a face-to-face meeting between Boss and Betsy, Boss is wondering why Betsy did not ask for a salary increase since her accountabilities changed significantly. Betsy believes that learning as much as possible is more important for her at this stage than a higher pay check. Boss advises her to develop a responsible behavior around financials.

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A great leader:

  • Takes a holistic view of her rewards and benefits, valuing both financial and non-financial aspects;
  • Sees that having opportunities to learn are equally as important as receiving higher salaries;
  • Ensures that her financial compensation is in line with her responsibilities and commensurate with other people in similar positions;
  • Is able to negotiate the appropriate salary for her role.

How to best handle the situation:

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Situation 46: Female competition; Personal branding

Femsy noticed that all senior staff had their diplomas, awards, certificates etc. in a visible place in their offices. Now she is not longer sharing the office with Mansy, she puts hers up as well only to be told by a female colleague: “I guess some of us prefer not to show off.”

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A great leader:

  • Is her own person and is guided by her values and principles;
  • Is attuned to the organizational culture and understands the inexplicit rules and norms of behavior;
  • Pays attention to her personal brand and reputation.

How to best handle the situation:

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Situation 45: Second guessing one self

In a face-to-face meeting Boss is requesting Betsy to replace Mansy during his leave of absence. Betsy is obviously flattered by the request but also doubts whether she is ready for this responsibility. She asks whether maybe Billy would be a more logical choice.

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

A great leader:

  • Is self-confident and readily seeks and accepts new challenges;
  • Looks for opportunities to grow and develop her capabilities;
  • Seeks help from others to enable her to succeed.

How to best handle the situation:

If you are invited to step up and take on new responsibility, this is because you are seen as someone with the capabilities required to succeed at this level. Of course, it may also be a test to see how well you perform in new situations, however, this is borne out of a belief that you have potential. If you are ambitious and want to move up in your career you should welcome the new challenge with open arms.

Treat this interim assignment as you would any new job: understand what the expectations are of you in the role, be clear on the goals, objectives and priorities you need to deliver on, meet with key stakeholders in your new capacity. It is probable that you will be working with the same people as you did before this assignment, so it is vital that you act at your new higher level and communicate to your colleagues that you are in a different role with different demand than previously. Take the time to establish new working arrangements with your colleagues and any direct reports you may now have.

It can be daunting stepping into a higher-level position, so it is worth enlisting some support – a coach or mentor – who can help you navigate the new complexities of your role and transition to act at the level commensurate with your new responsibilities.

Schedule some 1:1’s with your (new) line manager to review your progress and take steps to ensure that you stay on course.

Learning suggestions:

  • If you are seeking promotion, people are more likely to award that to you if they already think of you as operating at that level. Take time to know the accountabilities of the role(s) that you aspire to and start to assume/volunteer for some responsibilities related to these.
  • Observe how your seniors, particularly, those whom you admire dress, talk, behave etc., and try to emulate them.
  • Get exposure to more senior levels in the organization to learn about how work gets done, the decisions that are taken etc. – request shadowing opportunities, volunteer to sit on cross-functional steering groups, contribute to discussion groups and fora etc.
  • Work with a mentor, who is a seasoned professional, whom you admire, to learn more about your area of expertise and the organization and develop your capabilities to a higher level.

 Femchallenge:

  • Volunteer to join a high, visibility project or sit on a committee that gives you a different perspective of your organization.

 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

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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Situation 42: Unpopular tasks

A special project team, under supervision of Boss, is working on a business critical project. One of the project members is not pulling his weight and Betsy is gradually picking up more of his tasks. Boss praises Betsy for her flexibility and dedication to the project. Boss decides to take the project member concerned out of the project team. He discusses with Betsy how to best approach this sensitive situation since, according to him, she has very well developed interpersonal skills. Before Betsy knows she is the one who has to break the bad news to the project team member.

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

A great leader:

  • Provides support and guidance to build other’s capabilities without taking away responsibility;
  • Is assertive and expresses her needs in a calm, clear and professional manager;
  • Is courageous and willing to challenge authority to ‘do the right thing’.

How to best handle the situation:

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