women

The Future of Work Unleashes Human Potential

Ever want to look into a crystal ball and see the future? Check out Dana’s vision of the future of work in this 1 minute video. – InPower Editors

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.

 

 
 
 

Part 2 of the Values Schism: Corporate America Needs To Get Real

A young attractive businesswoman working on her laptop

In my last post about how there is a growing schism between the values held by employees and those held by their employers, and how it’s driving employees out the door.

I noted that 54% of millenials are planning on leaving their firms to try entrepreneurship. This is a big number, but even that is dwarfed by a study by Harris Interactive that found 74% of employees of all ages would look for another job if they could. The reasons? According to Alan Hall, Accenture reports that 31% don’t like their boss, 31% feel unempowered, 35% are tired of internal politics and 43% don’t feel recognized for their work.

A 74% level of employee dissatisfaction represents a costly vulnerability for companies, especially as affordable health care and technology reduce the costs for employees to take the risk of entrepreneurship. Projecting forward, the cost to a dissatisfied employee going out on their own is going down as a percentage of their annual salary, while the relative costs to the employer to replace them are on the rise. Today employers can spend 150% or more of a skilled employee’s annual salary recruiting and training their replacements.

While the cost to replace a low-skilled worker is decidedly less than this, many of the people leaving are the most emotionally intelligent and creative. When so many analysts point to both these qualities as keys to competitiveness, on a company- and economy-wide scale, creative brains draining from cubeville should be of concern to employers (though it might actually be good news for the entrepreneurial economy. Continue reading

Don’t Take It Personally – Self-Esteem for Women Leaders

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People talk a lot about thought leadership, and we believe it’s a powerful success strategy available to women. But let’s get real, most of us don’t feel comfortable putting our big ideas out there because we’re don’t like to get negative feedback. We like how Dana takes this subject on, showing us how to transform this fear into a self-esteem success strategy. Don’t miss one of her upcoming thought leadership webinars for entrepreneurs or executives. – InPower Editors

In my work with professional women, ladder climbers and entrepreneurs alike, I see one particular challenge hold us back more than any other (no, I’m not immune): we are prone to take any kind of negative feedback personally, as though comments on our performance or ideas directly relate to our value as people.
 
I’m not alone in noting this problem in self-esteem for women, as early as 1989 researchers documented the fact that women take negative feedback personally (whereas men are more likely to filter it out or attribute it to factors outside themselves).

As I work with women to help them develop their inner power to lead and succeed, I find that most don’t want to “be like the guys” and develop an over-inflated sense of themselves, but they do want to develop authentic self-esteem strategies that allow them to invite feedback with confidence. The good news is that this is very possible! Continue reading

6 Lessons Learned on the Work Life Jungle Gym

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Sheryl Sandberg contributed many valuable insights to professional women in her book, Lean In. The one that hit me most squarely was her analogy of a career as a jungle gym instead of a ladder. Truer words have never been written, and I think this is a major contribution to the discussion of work-life “balance.”

The current mythology of success defines our career journey as a climb up the ladder. The ladder represents many things – all artifacts of the hierarchically structured industrial age economy (which, by the way, is being radically restructured as I write). The higher we go on the mythical ladder, the more money, influence, power and respect we get. This is why when women (and men!) “opt off” the ladder to pursue a more “balanced” life, the mythology defines them as unsuccessful until they acquire those same top-o-the-ladder treats via other means.

But what happens when you take away the ladder analogy and replace it with something resembling a jungle gym? A more integrated, geometric structure that offers progression in many directions, just not all at once?

When the analogy shifts, so do the definitions of success. In a jungle gym analogy, many of the same kinds of success are attainable, but not in any particular order. Our personal journey to find them becomes an individual search for “what’s next” in multiple directions instead of what’s next on a defined path. Our path becomes our own and our definition of success does too. Continue reading

3 Leadership “Truths” Women Should Ignore

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Leadership advice runs rampant on the internet, which is fine because most of it comes from a place of wisdom and reflection.

If you’re a woman aspiring to lead, however, there is one tiny problem with this spew of “how to” and “Top 10” lists. Since our dominant leadership culture is male, the majority of the advice is largely designed to make men better leaders. In most cases, the advice is fine for women, too, but watch out because some of it can be disastrous to your career.

Specifically, ladies, keep an eye out for the leadership lessons trying to help men overcompensate for some testosterone-induced bad habits. These bad boss habits include lack of empathy, rigidity and egotism. On average, this is not your problem!

Here’s the catch for the women. On the whole – women are already very empathetic, flexible and happy to deflect credit. If you’re a high-potential woman, following advice that tells to you over-emphasize these traits is at best unnecessary and at worst will encourage you to go too far the wrong direction. You see, leaders have to have some inflexibility, emotional distance and healthy ego in order to effectively herd the cats and manage the chaos of modern business.

Simply put, while on average men could use a little more flexibility, empathy and humility, women – on average – could use a little less! Continue reading

Am I a Feminist? Yes, and…

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Am I a feminist? My whole, half century life as a professional, a wife, a mother of two and now a women’s leadership advocate I’ve never had a comfortable answer to this question. While this might seem odd since I now run a women’s site, I know more women who feel this ambivalence about identifying a feminist than those who don’t. Maybe you feel this way too. On the bring of Women’s History Month starting tomorrow, I think it’s a good time to take a look at this question more deeply. Continue reading

How Sheryl Sandberg, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Marissa Mayer Prove That We’ve Found Equality Where We Don’t Want It

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I have great respect for the ways that Sheryl Sandberg, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Marissa Mayer are doing what they think is right and completely ignoring all the chatter about them on the web. They are doing what any man would do – running companies and professoring – and sparking a national debate on the issues of work-life, family and leadership.

They’re doing a great job, which is more than I can say for most of the rest of us. Continue reading

The Real Reason Marissa Mayer Should Catch Flack

The same week Yahoo! rescinded teleworking policies for its employees, Best Buy did the same. Many pointed to the fact that Yahoo!’s working mom CEO got flack when Best Buy’s working dad CEO didn’t as unfair for gender inequity reasons. While I suspect that unfortunately Marissa Mayer was a better criticism target because she’s a woman/mom, I also think Yahoo! was a better target than Best Buy for pure branding reasons. Yahoo! builds exactly the kind of products designed to help work-at-home employees. On its face, then, Yahoo!’s rejection of such practices for its own employees looks like a brand misalignment. I mentioned this in a previous article and it generated a Twitter conversation that I thought deserved more than 140 characters. Continue reading

The Woman Effect: TEDx MassAveWomen Video & The Research Behind It

On December 3, 2012 I had the honor of speaking to a group of powerful women in Washington DC at a TEDx event, TEDxMassAveWomen. I’m very excited because I’ve long wanted to distill down what InPower Women’s about, into a simple but powerful video, and this gave me that chance (video below). Since so much of what we do here is research-based, however, there’s no way I can include all the appropriate research references in my talk, so I’ve decided to post them here, with a short synopsis of the argument of my talk. Also, posting it here means I didn’t have to turn my talk into a blathering of statistics and the information is still available!

The Stories of The Tragic Queen and the Underdog Princess

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Do You “Fake It” to Succeed? (Video)

The higher you go in any organization, the more the leadership culture tends to solidify around you. This increases – or decreases – the chances that you’ll fit in. Too many fast trackers see this as a reason to conform to the culture around them and thus too many end up feeling like they’re faking it and becoming inauthentic. Inauthentic leaders alienate the very people they’re trying to motivate and set themselves up for leadership failure and personal disappointment as they move farther and farther away from an authentic leadership presence; one that motivates both themselves and the people they work with.

This is true for women and men alike, but women have a special challenge. Quite often women don’t feel like we fit into the predominantly male leadership culture by virtue of the behaviors, attitudes and values that are fundamental to who we are. So quite often we end up “faking it” without even knowing it. The problem is that this catches up with us one way or another. Either we alienate people we work with, we alienate ourselves – or both. Don’t be “that gal,” the one that fakes it and fails.

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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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