5 Steps to Getting Back In Control

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Sometimes we feel yanked around by our work—our life—or both. We can’t get on top of the pile. We can’t even stop to catch our breath. The list of stuff we’re not doing crushes the list of stuff we’ve accomplished. We can’t breathe and feel helpless and out of control. All this means is that we’ve forgotten to deploy the basic process of control: plan, do, adjust, review, repeat.

Remember when you learned to ride a bike? That first hill was terrifying until you went down it, practiced using the breaks and stopped to rest and look back up the hill when you were done. Then you wanted to do it again!

Control is an illusion and we all know this, but that first bike ride taught us how to maintain a practical sense of control that can keep us from getting overwhelmed. Continue reading

3 Ways Managing Millennials Will Make You a Better Leader

millenials

My son is 21 and in his second year of a summer office internship. He’s working hard, getting good reviews and privately developing a chip on his shoulder because he believes all us old people think millennial workers (18-30 year olds) are lazy and too full of themselves.

I thought he was just being overly sensitive until I started to see the anti-millenial posts pop up on my feed recently. Really? We’re going to do this again? We’re going to complain about the younger generation the way our parents complained about us? They’re going to take over our jobs and run our world someday. Let’s get on with helping them be effective and – more importantly – allowing them to make us better leaders while they’re at it.

1-Millennials require us to be vision driven

Millennials are driven to make an impact. Maybe it’s because so many of their parents told them they could; maybe it’s because they feel like the post 9/11 and financial crisis world (all they know) is crumbling around them, maybe they’re just not afraid to want to make a difference the way so many of us are and were. Continue reading

Leadership Strategies: Leading From the Middle

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Traditional leadership paradigms are pretty “top down,” but as modern leadership gurus help us see that such hierarchical decision-making structures are reaching their limits, it’s time to start exploring ways that employees can lead from the middle.

Conveniently for those who want to rise in the organization, “leading from the middle” is also an excellent way to be recognized as a high-potential employee by potential executive sponsors who can help you get ahead.

So what does it mean to “lead from the middle”?

I believe that the most important implication of this concept is that you have to envision yourself as a leader, voluntarily shoulder the burdens of those above you and act in alignment with the interests of the organization as a whole – all while doing your job extremely well. This is easier in some positions than others, but working to imagine yourself at peer level with your boss and bosses’ boss can help you elevate your perspective and make your work more relevant. (I explore this concept more and provide exercises in my complimentary eBook.) Continue reading

3 Ways the Millennial Generation Can Help Your Company Get Real

As a species humans love to complain, and we seem to really love to complain about the younger generations. However, it’s time to give the kid-bashing a rest and look at the ways that working with the millennial generation (18-30 years old) helps us be better leaders and build better companies.

Overall, I love working with millenials. Where some see entitlement, I see self-confidence. Where some see a lazy work ethic, I see a respect for work-life balance. Where some see an unwillingness to get with the program, I see people who want meaning in their work. Who doesn’t want self-confidence, work-life balance and meaning? We all do; this is just the first generation to have the guts to ask for it at the outset. Continue reading

The Future of Work Unleashes Human Potential

Ever want to look into a crystal ball and see the future? 

How will you lead in the rapidly changing future of work? Start by understanding that the workplace is changing and becoming more fluid. Organizations are beginning to resemble organic systems more than mechanical ones. People are the dominant value and system in the work-world and to succeed you must master human systems. Develop your emotional intelligence and soft-skills, and you’ll be the kind of leader the world needs in the future of work. Start with yourself.

 

Why Does Equal Pay Really Matter?

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There is no question that women and minorities are not at salary parity with white males in our business culture. They are not. But the prevailing myth that this is an evil plot to oppress us doesn’t fly with me, because when you look under the covers of equal pay, things get much more complex. In sum, the current wage gap serves a purpose, both for businesses and for many women themselves; and in doing so it’s undermining the interests and needs of us all.

What a deeper dive into the data shows, on the surface is this:

  • There are generational influences and younger women are at less of a disadvantage than older women. (This may change – time will tell.)
  • The wage gap differs when looking at hourly vs. annual wages.
  • Wages for women are trending up while wages for men are trending down — leading to a future crossover point?
  • Women and men view work vs. life in dramatically different contexts, and make their choices accordingly, leading women as a demographic to drop in and out of the workforce more often, with less emphasis on upward career momentum.

The Truth Beneath the Wage Gap

Even with the factors above accounted for, there is still a significant and meaningful wage gap, but the explanation for it is simply less clear. Combine these insights with the fact that companies incent hiring managers to get the most value for the least price — a generally “good business practice” in our capitalist society — and what we see is a system that is designed to take advantage of women and men who don’t strategize and negotiate their value. Continue reading

Managing People – Do We Really Do That?

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My first management experience was a disaster. I had a poor manager myself and was told to “be in charge” of a group of my peers, who did not report to me and had no particular reason to do what I told them to do. It turned into a backstabbing circus within hours.

What I learned from that experience is that “management” comes in all forms and that reporting relationships are only one of many dimensions that matter when it comes to getting things done and building a professional reputation.

Over the years, and working with professionals in many professions and at levels I have come to understand that the very term “managing” can be misleading if we assume that it has much to do with “control.” Sometimes we do control resources, budgets, job descriptions and other assets, but we never control people.

What we do control is ourselves.  Continue reading

Do Men and Women Vision the Future Success Differently?

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One of the joys of my career has always been helping individuals and groups develop compelling, meaningful and guiding visions – the kind of visions that pull them excitedly into their future.

Most of the corporate visioning work I’ve done with executive teams has not included many women. No big surprise there, given that women are still struggling to penetrate the executive ranks. As a result, it wasn’t until recently, working with women-owned businesses and senior women leaders, that I’ve had the privilege of experiencing how women envision the future differently than men. In the process, I was relieved to discover that – as a woman – I am not alone in having an expansive, positive and exciting vision of things are headed.

What I learned in the process of working with women confirms the research I’ve read about how women are motivated by more success factors than men tend to be in their business interests. Specifically, while men are more apt to define success in business as the acquisition of money and power, women are interested – also – in impact beyond the bottom line. This has resulted in companies with women on their boards being more generous philanthropically and being 81% more motivated by how their contribution could create change when giving money to non-profits. My female clients also report viewing employee satisfaction and retention as key success metrics.

Interconnected visions of success Continue reading

Being Bold at Work

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We often give advice to leaders, “Be bold!”

Why?

Here are the typical reasons for being bold that I hear:
You’ll get noticed
You’ll move faster forward (failing and succeeding both)
You’ll get outside the box

All good reasons!

But here’s why I want you to be bold: you’ll develop the habit of stretching yourself.

Most of us move forward in our lives in a rather jerky fashion. We make a change (intentionally or otherwise) and then spend a lot of time dealing what just happened. Continue reading

Leadership Communications: 4 Steps to Co-Opt Those Voices in Your Head

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So much communications training is about what we say to others, but the most powerful leaders have open communications with themselves too. Learn from Dana’s insights on a new way to lead – from within! – InPower Editors

Great leaders often cite “self-awareness” as the top soft skill responsible for their success. There’s even some research that documents this correlation. I believe that self-awareness is a communication skill, one that starts with communicating effectively with yourself instead of just focusing externally on your relations with others. But how can you develop self-communication prowess and self-awareness if you don’t already have it, and turn it into a professional asset if you do?

I wish I knew a simple answer to this question. I don’t. Self-awareness is a journey, and your strongest ally on this inner journey is the voice in your head — the one you might be used to ignoring, or following without challenging. Learning to communicate effectively with yourself may be one of the greatest communications challenges you’ll ever face.
So much communications training is about what we say to others, but the most powerful leaders have open communications with themselves too. Learn from Dana’s insights on a new way to lead – from within! – InPower Editors

The truth is that we’re talking to ourselves constantly, and in those inner discussions lie clues to who we are and how we act that can make us extremely powerful actors in the world — or can make us slaves to unconscious patterns that doom us to irrelevance or bullying.

The voices in your head are your brain’s attempt to help you become more conscious and mindful about how you’re spending your energy, but to actually benefit from their wisdom, you have to engage with them and become a conscious participant. This means that sometimes you must reprogram them to be more helpful. Here’s the simplest process I know to begin to harness their power.
Continue reading

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Welcome, InPower Leaders…

I'm dedicated to supporting leaders driven to fuel their professional success through their personal development. In addition to supporting executives individually, InPower Consulting offers unique soft-skills development programs, team dynamics seminars, and leadership development workshops.

Be sure to check out InPowerCoaching.com for online professional development and InPowerWomen.com for inspirational insights from women leaders.

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