Tag Archives: leadership

I can’t change the world-My legwarmers and leadership clash!

10 Mar

Build your leadership skills so that you can change the world. That mantra expresses my world view.  And it focuses mostly on building external leadership skills.  However, recently, I was reminded that internal leadership is as important as external leadership.  In 2010, we work in a workplace where women leaders are prevalent and their leadership style is considered the WAY to do business.

But some of us are stuck in the 80s.

This weekend a twitter friend, @heidiekmassey, sent me an article posted in the New York Times entitled ” Neither Men Nor Mice” by Peggy Klauss, a career coach.   The gist of the article advises women to adjust their communication styles in the workplace.  Specifically:

Ultimately, women must be more mindful and use greater finesse when conveying messages.  We need to be better chameleon communicators and to carefully read our audience, adjusting our style to the circumstances.

That is a nice nugget of advice.  It makes sense.  And it should apply to both MEN and WOMEN.  But, when  I read it  she was only applying this advice to women.  And it was then that the time warp to shoulder pads, Reeboks  and manly suits began.  I was in the 80s’ and it was not pretty.  Simply put:

The rest of  this column  illustrates a short sighted, lazy view of the workplace that reinforces the perception that todays workplace culture is governed by men and what men want.

This is not  the movie, ” Baby Boom” where women who are  senior leaders in the workplace are still a “novelty” .   It is 2010 – women are a force in the workplace, our skills are valued as the new leadership skills necessary in the workplace and that training more women leaders is what is  going to move innovation in every sector forward.

New York Times , you let this Coach  sell women and women leaders short .

Here are some very choice snippets that got under my skin.

  1. Either you are the victim or the B*&^tch

Continue reading

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I can't change the world-My legwarmers and leadership clash!

10 Mar

Build your leadership skills so that you can change the world. That mantra expresses my world view.  And it focuses mostly on building external leadership skills.  However, recently, I was reminded that internal leadership is as important as external leadership.  In 2010, we work in a workplace where women leaders are prevalent and their leadership style is considered the WAY to do business.

But some of us are stuck in the 80s.

This weekend a twitter friend, @heidiekmassey, sent me an article posted in the New York Times entitled ” Neither Men Nor Mice” by Peggy Klauss, a career coach.   The gist of the article advises women to adjust their communication styles in the workplace.  Specifically:

Ultimately, women must be more mindful and use greater finesse when conveying messages.  We need to be better chameleon communicators and to carefully read our audience, adjusting our style to the circumstances.

That is a nice nugget of advice.  It makes sense.  And it should apply to both MEN and WOMEN.  But, when  I read it  she was only applying this advice to women.  And it was then that the time warp to shoulder pads, Reeboks  and manly suits began.  I was in the 80s’ and it was not pretty.  Simply put:

The rest of  this column  illustrates a short sighted, lazy view of the workplace that reinforces the perception that todays workplace culture is governed by men and what men want.

This is not  the movie, ” Baby Boom” where women who are  senior leaders in the workplace are still a “novelty” .   It is 2010 – women are a force in the workplace, our skills are valued as the new leadership skills necessary in the workplace and that training more women leaders is what is  going to move innovation in every sector forward.

New York Times , you let this Coach  sell women and women leaders short .

Here are some very choice snippets that got under my skin.

  1. Either you are the victim or the B*&^tch

Continue reading

Get a little closer, dont be shy: The impact of personal storytelling

2 Feb

“Our stories are our currency” Gina Rudan-Genuine Insights

The art of storytelling is something all leaders need to master.   Storytelling is informational and persuasive, and it helps us build relationships. When we use it, we tell the stories of our  clients, or the communities that we serve, but I have often thought: What impact would telling my own story about the  path to social change have on a person (or people)? Would it open up doors to donors who share similar paths, would it make a “decision maker” understand you or your cause a bit better because they see the personal connection between you and the work that you do.   I like hearing other “socialchange people” talk about their path to work that they do.

I elude to the importance of storytelling in leadership work that I do, but I don’t think I practice it very often.   So, I decided to do it here.

Snapshots of Social Change

It was personal

It started early.  Sitting on a lawn chair at the age of five watching my mother go on strike as a communications worker, I would hold up her signs asking cars and trucks (woohoo-semi truck drivers!) to honk if they supported the strike.  It was a thrill, but as the strike extended it became a mission.   My mom had to work so that we could eat.   Eventually, the strike would end and my mom would return back to work.   But every 3-5 years, the fight would flare up again and I would be right there, ready to do my part for change to occur.

To read more, click on the title above.

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With leadership comes challenges: Three women I admire

25 Jan

I know some great women leaders doing great work. And they have leadership challenges.

These women are my friends and colleagues.  They are  smart, strategic, savvy women who have committed themselves to a variety of causes  that make the world a much better place to live in.

When we go out for lunch or dinner our conversation often turns to work .  Over appetizers,  we share the challenges that we face.  During the main entree, questions are asked . By dessert,  advice is being given.

Because,  I spend a good deal of time thinking about , reading, pondering  the subject of leadership ;  it should not surprise you that I tend to view most workplace challenges through that lens.

I wanted to share three of my friends challenges because I think that they are  commonplace and still in need of solutions.    And I love a good challenge.

Meet the ladies/ Read my mind

Lady Diva #1- Does my outside match the inside

She is second in command at her non profit and a member of the senior leadership team.  Her work links together many facets of activism: lobbying, education,  and coalition building.   She oversees a staff  of 3-5 employees and is committed to their growth and advancement.

Her challenge: She feels like she is hitting a soft wall in terms of advancement  because of her position as # 2 in the organization.  She wants to increase her  external leadership role and become more visible.

To see what happens click on the title above.

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Lead, follow or stand aside: Gen X, its our time to lead!

11 Jan

Hey! Wait! We are right here!

In my community (non-profit), there is much being written about  the great leadership opportunities available for Gen Y (millennials) and the leadership positions of Baby Boomers. Titles like “Daring to Lead” and “Ready to Lead” . Deafening silence about the leadership “anything” of  Generation X.

As far as I can tell,  Generation X  ( of which I am a proud member- 1970 baby)   is not currently leading the non-profit sector.  Yes, many of them are in the senior leadership  (#2 positions such as vice president or deputy director), but they are not running organizations at the rate that I (and they) would like.

It’s like Peanut Butter and Jelly

We are considered the “sandwich generation“.  In the sociological aspect, this means that we are taking care of two generations (our children and our parents).  Professionally, we are the sandwich generation because we are in between two very dynamic generations.  Baby boomers continue to be very much in power because they do not want to or cannot leave. (Side note: many current non-profit executives say that they do not have the retirement security to leave their current positions). Millenials are hungry to lead,eschew hierarchy and have a desire for warp speed movement up the career ladder.

Feeling squeezed, my fellow Gen Xers are worried, annoyed, competitive, and, as far as I can tell, being asked to accept their fate as being overlooked for leadership positions. They want to be team players so they serve in their #2 positions; they mentor and train the younger staff; and they fill in the leadership shoes of the executive directors when they need to.

Words that still ring true

Not so secretly, they want to lead, they are ready to lead. But will they get the chance?  What will happen when the next generation comes of age after Gen Y? Will Gen Y be pushed out of the way just as Gen X has? Or is this the evolution of leadership, i.e. those not in power always want power, regardless of the generation?

I am going to do some research and find out.  Hey Gen X, am I off base?   Tell me.  Gen Y, Baby Boomers, what do you think?

Ericka