Tag Archives: leadership development

ASSERTIVE LANGUAGE

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There are some conflicting views about whether women should minimize the use of weak language; word such as ‘just’. A few years ago Ellen Petry Leanse, former exec at Google and Apple (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/just-say-ellen-petry-leanse) noticed that women use the word ‘just’ frequently in emails, conversations and emails. She felt that this was a ‘permission’ word that put the other party in a position of authority and control. Shane Ferro, writing in Business Insider (http://tinyurl.com/zkjutoy), disputes Leanses’s claims saying that women should not have to self-regulate everything that they are saying since this in itself undermines their confidence.

When women try to act more like their male counterparts and use strong language they are often viewed negatively. Therefore, it is important to find your own, unique voice and style that reflects who you are and how you want to be seen. If you are happy to be seen as hard and aggressive, that’s fine. If you want to have a different reputation, look for a way to get your message across in an assertive, yet feminine way.

Believe in yourself, you are in your position because your colleagues and seniors think that you are capable and have a valid perspective. Speak out with authority on topics where you have a viewpoint and something to contribute.

Think about how you want to come across to other participants; what impression do you want to make? What do you want them to say and think about you? Ensure that you wear outfits that make you feel good and confident whilst respecting the dress code.

 Learning suggestions:

  • Think about what you want your reputation to be. What behaviours will reinforce this brand? Make sure that you look and act the part. For example, if you want to be promoted, take actions that demonstrate that you are capable of operating at that level and people will start visualizing you there;
  • Set yourself a goal to be more assertive in meetings. Enlist the help of a trusted colleague who can give you feedback on how you came across and what impact you had on the other attendees. Take this feedback on board and try to improve your interactions in future;
  • Listen attentively to how others put their ideas across. What language do they use? What emotion do they convey; do they remain calm and composed? Do they get angry? Do they emphasize important points? Analyse what techniques are effective in which scenarios and try to incorporate them into your own communication style;
  • Remember these following tips:
    • Use the word ‘I’ so that you retain control;
    • Maintain eye contact;
    • Have a good posture;
    • Express body language by using gestures that convey warmth and openness;
    • Be clear. Make short statements that are to the point and unambiguous;
    • Learn to be comfortable with silence and pauses. This can emphasize the point you are making and also give people time to think and digest what you are saying;
    • Use appropriate language i.e. no swearing and don’t be rude!
    • If you feel strong emotions welling up (for example, tears or anger) take some deep breaths to give you time to compose yourself;
    • Be aware of your voice i.e. not too soft or too loud;
    • Take responsibility for yourself.
  • When you find yourself doubting your ability, remember that ability grows with experience and effort. In other words: “The will must be stronger than the skill” (Sheryl Sandberg);

How many of the tips above do you follow? Identify areas and situations where you can increase your assertiveness.

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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The secret to becoming charismatic is less about you and more about how you make others feel.

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By: Anja Uitdehaag

 Recently I’ve met Tamara – a Sales Leader of a big International Company. She has that extra special something that you just can’t put your finger on. She has a magnetic energy and ability to engage others that truly sets her apart.

She has “charisma.”

Charisma is the ability to attract, charm, and influence the people around you. Related terms and phrases include: grace, exuberance, equanimity, mystique, positive energy, joie de vivre, extreme charm, personal magnetism, personal appeal, electricity, and allure.  Usually many of these specific qualities must be present within a single individual for the person to be considered highly charismatic by the public and their peers.

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Why mentorship matters for women

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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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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.

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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