Tag Archives: career management

Be proactive!

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It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan

Eleanor Roosevelt

Way too often we see women in the workplace keep their heads down, deliver more than what is expected and wait for someone to notice. They don’t get the things they want, the success they have earned or the respect they deserve.

Don’t wait for things to happen, make them happen. Taking personal responsibility means accepting that you, and only you, are in charge of your own destiny.

One of the keys to professional success is your ability to let others know who you are, what you have to offer and how you can make a difference.

Your career is totally your responsibility. It is up to you to do appropriate career planning and to take the necessary steps, i.e. obtaining the education and training that will support your career plans, changing job every 3-5 years, seeking advice from mentors, asking for specific and timely feedback, raising your hand for high profile assignments and building strong, supportive networks.

Women who professionally succeed take control of their lives. They don’t believe they are owed anything. They speak up and put themselves forward. If, after using their best efforts, they still don’t get what they believe they’re due, they move on.

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

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

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Be “You-Er”; Lead Like You Do

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by Anja Uitdehaag

All things being equal, people will work with people they like. All things not being equal, they still will – John C. Maxwell

Let me start with a question:

In Business or elsewhere in your life, think about times when you tried to be something you weren’t to impress others or gain acceptance. What did that experience teach you? Why do you think you fell into it?

It is tempting for women who report primarily to men to believe they have to copy-paste men’s management, leadership and interpersonal styles. They adhere to many of the “rules of conduct” that spelled success for men.

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Having a manager but still unmanaged

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By: Angie Falls

In my view, managers are facilitators of their team members’ success. They ensure that their team members have everything they need to be productive and successful; that they’re well trained, happy and have minimal roadblocks in their path; that they’re being groomed for the next level; that they are recognized for great performance and coached through their challenges.

It has been now 6 years that I am at an organization where I have performed in a team with 2 different managers.

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Reflecting on Career and Professional Development

stairs of knowledgeBy: Angie Falls

I think about a famous lesson from Confucius around 450 B.C. that illustrates the importance of active engagement and real-time experiences in learning:

“TELL ME, AND I WILL FORGET, SHOW ME, AND I MAY REMEMBER, INVOLVE ME, AND I WILL UNDERSTAND.”

By reflecting on the actions, I took at work and the concrete experiences I had has taught me to recognize that the experiences have shaped a new way of thinking for me.

Communication is one of the most important professional skills that I could develop. I use action-oriented and positive words whenever communicating.

By describing how I perform my work, including skills and tools I use to manage my work tasks give me a clear picture of the past. The learning objectives that I established can highlight the skills that I have developed. I used the PAR strategy to have a clear method to document my accomplishments.

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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.

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

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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I wish I had just done the job myself….

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By: Anja Uitdehaag

Sometimes I really believe that if I want something done right, I must do it myself.

Do you recognize this?

As women, we’re not naturals at delegating.

For many women, “delegating” equals asking for help because we are not able to do something, when for most men it means a sign of leadership.

Most of us, still feel this need to show that we are able to do everything ourselves to avoid being perceived as weak.

Furthermore, we tend to slip into the responsibility mode all too easily.

No one, however, can do everything, and to attempt to do so usually results in incomplete tasks or poor execution (there are only so many hours in a day…)

Successful women do not do it all themselves, they learn to delegate.

Delegating to others is not only helpful, it’s crucial to your success. As you advance in your career and begin taking on larger and larger projects, you won’t be able to juggle all of your responsibilities and keep up with a high standard of work, too.

Sharing tasks allows you to focus on the things that you need and want to do, rather than extra work that just needs to get done.

When done properly, delegation allows you to make the best use of your time and skills, and it helps other people in the team grow and develop to reach their full potential in the organisation.

I like the following definition:

“Delegation is assigning responsibility and authority to someone in order to complete a clearly defined and agreed upon task while you retain ultimate responsibility for its success.”

When you delegate it is important to use the following steps:

STEP 1: Clarify expectations by sharing exactly who, what, when, where, and how you would like something to be done. Clear and precise expectations will eliminate assumptions and misunderstandings;

STEP 2: Ask questions to make sure the team member understands your expectations;

STEP 3: If it will take more than two steps, write them down in bullet points. Often times the team member will stop listening after a couple of steps because they start thinking about how they will accomplish the task or how they will work it into their day;

STEP 4: If it is a large project, schedule a check-in time(s) for the person to keep you updated on his or her progress. This will also enable you to give the person ongoing support and answer any questions that may arise;

STEP 5: Establish and agree on a realistic goal date to complete the task, and schedule a final check-in and update that the task has been completed;

STEP 6: Show your appreciation by thanking the person for a job well done!

Let me summarise with some Key Takeaways:

  • Delegating is part of a manager’s job. You can’t do it all;
  • Surrounding yourself with good people makes delegating work easier;
  • Understanding the skills and motivation levels of your team helps you decide how to manage the delegation of tasks;
  • You should always follow up so that no work is overlooked.

 

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

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

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

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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.

Want to buy book

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

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com