I swear, columnists are getting on my very last nerve. I would pull my hair out if it weren’t too short for me to grab. Once, while I was waiting to get my hair cut, I read yet another list telling me what women of color need to have or do to progress in corporate America.
"How do I say 'no thanks' to a promotion without removing myself from consideration for other opportunities?" If you find yourself in this position, it's because not enough people know what your career vision is. Use this situation as a red flag. Ask yourself, "How did I get into this corner?"
Executive presence is the magnetic force that compels others to listen and act. The lack of it can hold you back professionally. But what is it, exactly? Michelle Gloeckler tackled the topic several years ago at the Network of Executive Women’s NEW Leadership Summit. She had the audience laughing as she shared stories of what she’d learned about business from her mother, a veteran sales rep. She then surprised everyone by inviting her mom onto the stage to make a few remarks. Her mother proceeded to demonstrate where Michelle got her sense of humor (and executive presence).
What is it about powerful women leaders that make others want to sabotage, dismiss or fight against them? Through my work with emotional intelligence, particularly the EQ in Action Profile Assessment, I’ve learned that executive women leaders with a well-developed emotional quotient may inadvertently create difficulty for themselves by failing to show their more vulnerable, human sides.
"Sometimes situations in the workplace are very stressful or emotional. Is it okay to cry at work?" We are wired emotionally — both men and women. As little girls, we are taught to cry as a way to express ourselves. But crying is not a language that the dominant group (white men) understands.
We all want diverse teams. That’s a given. Study after study has confirmed: The success of diverse, collaborative teams navigating the complex retail and consumer goods industry depends on the combined skill sets of the team members, their personalities and the way they approach and solve problems. If we truly respect diversity, team members will have very different communication styles, views about traditional corporate hierarchy and decision-making processes. There may language barriers, too.
I realized that I was over-thinking the topic for this blog when I sat back and thought about something that was completely obvious: Why do we forget how resilient we are? In fact, why do we not embrace our power? After all, that is the one thing that has helped me achieve much of my success. And I’m sure the same is true for many of you.
An emerging leaders asks, "I had my midyear review and received feedback that I am not perceived as being aggressive enough. They would like me to be more aggressive, push back and challenge my leaders’ ideas. But my experience is that women can be quickly labeled 'too aggressive.' This can be especially true for women of color like me. Do you know of any resources that might help me have a stronger presence without having to walk the line of aggression?”
"I'm the new leader of a team that has worked together for a while. How do I get to know them and gain confidence in their abilities without stepping on toes?" Three words: Make it personal. Make it your priority to spend one-on-one time with each member of this team. Get to know them as people before you ever ask about business.
In a recent conversation with a person I am mentoring, this question came up: "How do I build my personal brand and get my name out there so that I'm thought of when a potential promotion comes up?” It was a great question and one I get quite a bit. Building a personal brand is done over time and certainly not the moment before you apply for a position. Like advertising in retail, you have to first determine who the target audience is and the message you want to get across.