Category Archives: Co-Colours Life

Co-Colours Life is your wake up call rolled into realistic every-day work place situations (cartoons) in a company called Co-Colours.

Situation 37: Clear vision of success

Femsy and Betsy are discussing the meaning of personal success. For Femsy it is important to have an interesting job in which she is appreciated and respected. Betsy wants to launch her own art chain in 5 to 7 years and that is why it is important for her to understand the industry thoroughly, understand how companies are working and to develop into an all-round leader.

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Situation 36: Female Leadership Mentoring

Femsy admits that self-confidence remains an issue for her. She sometimes finds it tough to operate in a macho environment. Furthermore she feels she does not have a strong network. She agrees with boss to find a third party mentor.

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Situation 35: Friends on Facebook:

Femsy friends Betsy on Facebook, however, Betsy does not feel comfortable melding personal and professional lives.

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A great leader:

  • Is able to set boundaries around her working life and professional relationships;
  • She demonstrates empathy and builds relationships with her colleagues based on what feels natural to both parties and fosters great collaboration;
  • Is assertive and respectful towards others whilst making clear her expectations.

How to best handle the situation:

Given the increasing demands of work, it is likely that you are working long hours on projects with your colleagues. The intensity of the work can result in camaraderie and the formation of strong bonds – a feeling of ‘we are all in this together’. Therefore, it is not surprising that some work colleagues may consider you to be more than just a coworker and try to extend the relationship to your personal life.

If you feel uncomfortable with any invitation to socialize either physically or virtually it is best to have a face-to-face conversation with the person concerned. Do not respond to a friend request on Facebook directly on the app/platform. Ask the individual why they sent you the invitation  Remember to use a tone that is conversational rather than judgmental. ‘I saw that you sent me a friend request on Facebook, I’m curious as to why’ or ‘By the way, I saw your friend request on Facebook, that was a surprise’ are better than ‘Why did you send me a friend request on Facebook?’ Actively listen to what he/she is saying to you; your aim is to get the other person to open up to you so you understand his/her motives, then you can decide how you want to respond.

If you still feel awkward with having a personal relationship say that politely; thank him/her for the invitation and say that you normally prefer not to mix business and pleasure. However, it may be that once you have heard the reasons, for example, the person does not know many people in the area and would like to meet up occasionally or feel that you have mutual interests that you can share via social media, you will feel able to give this a try.   It is fine to tell him/her that you feel a bit awkward since this is not something that you normally do, but will give it a try to see how it goes. This signals to the other person that there is a chance that you will ‘unfriend’ him/her at some point if you continue to feel awkward.

Learning suggestions:

  • It is hard to be strict about never mixing work and personal life since you may find that there are a few people at work whom you both respect as colleagues and gel with on a personal level. Therefore, it would be a shame to cut yourself off from the possibility of cultivating them as friends because you feel that would be unprofessional and/or you like to keep your work and personal life separate.   If you have adopted this philosophy ask yourself these questions:
    • Why do you feel this way?
    • Why is this important to you?
    • What do you gain from this approach?
    • What do you lose out on?
  • Reflect on your answers and determine whether you want to set rigid boundaries around work and personal activities. If yes, consider:
    • How will you come across to your colleagues?
    • What impact will this have on your reputation?
    • How can you convey that you enjoy working with them so that you still have a positive work environment?

 Femchallenge:

Consider whether you can be truly successful without making some friends at work.

 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 34: Assertive language

Femsy is slowly but surely growing in her role. Her communication style though, differs greatly from the assertive style from her male peers and subordinates. Billy strongly suggests her to start every sentence with “I” (“I think”, “I believe”). In this way she will come across much more confident.

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SITUATION 33: MULTI TASKING

Femsy has a lot on her plate. She is used to working on many different tasks at the same time but feels she is unable to finish her to-do list. Boss advises her to stop multi-tasking.

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SITUATION 31: SHIFTING ROLES

During the weekly team meeting, work progress of a special project is being discussed. Billy is unable to complete his part of the project due to vacation. Femsy – not happy – replies “Well let me handle it”. Boss is making clear that Femsyis not managing her team; she is “mothering” the team.

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A great leader:

  • Sets clear expectations of what she wants from her team members both in their behaviours and required outcomes;
  • Understands the unique capabilities of her team and works with them to set goals and targets that make the best use of their talents;
  • Keeps on top of project deliveries and ensures that key milestones are met. She asks questions to uncover potential (or actual) difficulties and works to remove obstacles.

How to best handle the situation:

Sit down with your team member to understand the specific problem. Break down the tasks into its components and determine what can be achieved within the required timescale. Agree how the outstanding work will be completed and make sure that your team member is still held accountable for full delivery even if he/she cannot perform the work him/herself.

Reflect on how you lead your team. If you have a tendency to take care of your team and put their personal situation ahead of the tasks that they need to perform, you will not get the desired performance and achieve results. Change your style to be more authoritative. Set out clear goals with your rationale for why these are important. Give individuals personal accountability for delivery and give them balanced feedback on how they are doing.

 Learning suggestions:

  • Craft a clear and compelling strategy for what you need to achieve for each project. Share this with your team and solicit their feedback so that you can answer any questions and concerns they might have. Test their level of understanding and commitment;
  • Make notes about each of your team members. What are their strengths and limitations? What activities do they excel at? What are they passionate about? Try to establish goals and tasks that make the most of their unique talents;
  • Create a project plan that outlines the key tasks and milestones, the person responsible for delivery and the deadline for completion. Share this with your project team. Hold regular project meetings where you discuss progress and identify potential problems. Take actions early to ensure that your project stays on track;

Femchallenge:

  • Take a visible role, such as Chair in an important meeting, or project leader of a task, where you have to shape and lead a discussion and draw out conclusions and decisions.

 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 30: DEMEANING YOUR POSITION

Femsy is attending an off-site leadership training. Most participants are more senior than she is. Participants take turns introducing themselves: Femsy introduces herself as: “I am just the sales manager of a small region in an Art Company called “Colors”.

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Situation 29: ROMANCE

Betsy gets romantically involved with someone at work. Billy advises her to handle the situation in a highly professional manner.

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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.

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