Your Voice, Your Seat

Helping women be heard & claim their seat at the leadership table

What Can You Do Differently?

     As the end of the year approaches many of us stop and reflect on the year, what did we achieve, what goals were met, where we fell short, and what did we fail to get done. At work this comes in the form of performance reviews, those dreaded annual events where we must tell our boss all our failures, our successes and hope we are seen for the good we did. There is a better way.

     First, it is important to evaluate our performance, it tells us where we need to improve and what gains we’ve made. It can also tell us what changes need to be made to be better in the future. The key is in how you frame this evaluation process. Avoid thinking good/bad, right/wrong, black/white, success/failure and instead look at what went well and what you can do differently to be more successful.

     I believe all of us are more excited to celebrate our successes than we are to dive into what didn’t go well. That’s a normal and...

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How could you?!?

As 2020 crawls to an end I keep hearing people say, “How could you not wear a mask/ go to a big gathering/ travel to someplace/ or vote for him”. An already ugly year has sunk even deeper for most of us as the US election grinds towards a conclusion. Fatigue has set in; tensions are high, and tempers are flaring.

Friends are attacking a friend because her state voted a way they oppose. Kind, mild manner people are snapping at co-workers. Friendships are ending due to differing political perspectives. Bridges are being burned between family members, friends and colleagues. It’s disheartening to most of us. We want to get back to a time where family and/or friends could meet up for dinner and drinks, have interesting conversations and connect on a personal level. A dose of normalcy would be welcome right now.

Sadly, the pandemic isn’t ending this week, the election results are taking time to get sorted out, and yet life must go on. How do we find peace during...

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Trick or Treat

balance happiness Oct 30, 2020

Well we’ve reached the end of October in a year that dove into uncharted waters early and hasn’t found its way back to dry land yet. What is often a fun filled time for kids to get out in costume and collect tons of candy from friends and neighbors is now more fraught with worry. Do we go out, is it a drive-by trick or trunk, will any kids come by, and how will people be acting?

The world is a frightening place with all the unease and discord that exists in the world right now. People are stressed, worried, and tired. It seems like every where we turn there is a new problem, another argument or more discouraging news. How do we find any fun again?

It’s important to remember that even when things are difficult it’s okay to have a little fun, find a moment of joy in the smile of a child or in the changing colors of the season. While the world is a hard, troubling place right now, there are moments that are fun and should be cherished for the light they bring.

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Adapting is Critical

Well we are closing in on the end of 2020, a year full of upheaval and uncertainty. I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t felt the pressures of the year. Figuring out how to work from home, go to school from home, find a new job, figure out how to safely navigate shopping, and how to keep ourselves and our family healthy have pushed many of us into exhaustion. It seems like for every step forward we uncover a new challenge.

These crazy times give us an opportunity to grow skills that apply to work as well as to life. We are faced with constant change in the world around us right now. How do we handle it? Do we pull back and hide from it all? Do we step forward and look for a way forward? Do we step back and look for options? Do we charge ahead without a plan just to get through it? These are all decisions we make, often without conscious thought, each time a new situation hits us.

Like the fight or flight response that is natural we find ourselves holding tight to what was or...

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Interesting Perspective

It seems like too many people only want to see what they want to see. When we close our perspective down to what is known and comfortable, we stop learning. Additionally, our credibility can start to be eroded because we deem anything outside our accepted perspective as “wrong”. The reality is that we don’t know everything that is possible, nor do we know what others have experienced unless we open our eyes.

Leaders need to be able to create a vision for the future, so people know where they are headed. For that vision to resonate with others it must connect to their perspectives. With the huge variety in people’s experiences, priorities, and concerns being able to share the vision in terms of other people’s perspectives helps gain acceptance. If a leader speaks only from their perspective they are missing out on the connection with others, and you can’t lead if you don’t have followers.

I think all of us have had a boss or other leader who...

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Do You See What I See?

Over the last few days, I’ve been watching all the comments about the Vice-Presidential Debate. Not because I am polling people’s political stance, but rather because I’m curious about the perceptions of how the two candidates performed. I’ve been fascinated by the responses to Kamala Harris.

What I’m seeing looks a lot like gender bias and the fine line women walk when attempting to be assertive. This isn’t a new topic; I’ve seen articles going back to the mid-1980s on the perceived differences in how men and women leaders communicate. What’s is striking to me is that little seems to have changed in the last 25 years.

One description for this is that it is a double-bind for women. Most desirable leadership traits are masculine in nature: confident, bold, assertive, focused, decisive, among others. However, women are expected to be collaborative, empathetic, and compassionate. We have learned a bias that is gender based. Leaders are...

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Taking the High Road

integrity respect trust Sep 30, 2020

Growing up I heard that it was better to take the high road, by which my mother meant don’t sink to the same level as the people who bullied, cheated or took short cuts. It was not an easy lesson to hold on to in high school or college. It seemed so unfair at times that others were getting ahead while I was taking the long way around. I did learn that it didn’t pay to go low, at least for me.

My definition of taking the high road is to treat others with respect and behave professionally in all situations. This is hard when the people around you aren’t acting the same way.

In several jobs I had to deal with bullies as well as navigating the mine field of well-connected co-workers who would take undue credit via shortcuts. These situations created experiences that were toxic for me and yet I couldn’t throw in the towel quickly. So, I stuck to the high road and even though nothing really changed I could feel good about my behavior.

Here are 4 reasons for...

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How dare you sit at the table!

I walked into the conference room about 5 minutes before the meeting time. There were several guys already in the room chatting. I sat down at the table and said hi to a few that I knew. Several of the men in the room were giving me a side-eye look, obviously wondering why I dared to sit at the table. This was outside their experience for these weekly meetings. The women who attended sat in the back, along the wall and took notes. They didn’t sit at the “big boy” table. Wrong! As QA Manager had some items they needed to hear, and I was not sitting in the back. I belonged at the table just like they did. Once I was introduced and some of the senior men on my team deferred to me, attitudes changed, albeit slowly.

The reality was I was 25 years into my career and really didn’t care what the men in the room thought of me being in my role. I knew what I brought to the table and was comfortable with it. Honestly, it was kind of fun making some of them squirm.

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Why are you on this team?

credibility teamwork Sep 16, 2020

Over the past week I’ve heard several women comment on statements from male team members that question why the woman is on that team or how they got there. Grrr…. These comments make my blood boil. There was an implied and inherent assumption that the woman couldn’t be qualified to be on the team, despite years of relevant experience and expertise. Fortunately, the women involved had heard it before and quickly put the guy in his place.

My mind then started wandering back the Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” because there seems to be an absence of trust (Dysfunction #1) on these teams. Lencioni uses the word trust in the context of being confident that each team member has good intentions and it’s acceptable to be vulnerable with each other. The phase he uses that resonates for me is “Members of teams with an absence of trust …. Jump to conclusions about the intentions and aptitudes of others without...

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Enough People Pleasing Already

assertiveness balance Sep 10, 2020

There are so many demands on our time right now. Work from home, homeschooling, virtual meetings galore, house work, cooking, self-care, child-care, and on and on. The list seems endless on a good day and 2020 has seemingly eliminated those. We have so much to do between our families and our work.

Do you feel that you need to jump in at work to help at work whenever asked? That’s great – until it takes away from the things that are important to you. Are you overwhelmed because you are scrambling to get your work done because of the time spent helping others? If so, it’s time to step back and gain perspective.

It is important to help others, that is one of key requirements of being a part of a team. However, your personal success is dependent on what you get done. You must be someone who gets things done in order to move up. So how do you find the right balance?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does this request take away from a critical task I already have to...
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