Tag Archive for achievement

Create a Different Filter for Workplace Interactions

If you’re someone who Is easily put-off, feels you’re being criticized, overwhelmed or picked-on at work, maybe it’s time for you to learn how to not take things so personally in the workplace.  To be blunt, it’s time to grow a thicker skin and grow up!  Put your big girl pants on!

I’ve seen this issue surface with coaching clients many times, and once you realize how to have a thicker skin, the benefits are huge.  When you can be pragmatic and less emotional, you will be seen as more of a professional, as someone who is tougher in the workplace and capable of playing with the big dogs.

A certain toughness will make you less vulnerable to the constant changes that can simply be part of everyday office politics and workplace changes.  For example, if you’re used to doing a project a certain way and parameters change, there’s less stress on you as the individual if you can roll with the changes.

Taking things too personally also takes a toll on your productivity.  For example, you are more creative and productive when you take things less personally.  The reality is, it takes mental and sometimes physical energy just to get through the day when you take things too personally.

And, the risks are too great, when you outwardly display your inability to put your big girl pants on.  When you respond to perceived slights and show that you’ve taken something personally, you’re seen as someone who is defensive at best and worst case, you’re perceived as a whiner.  Unfortunately, you can be seen as someone who is not willing and ready to grow in your professional development.

Bottom line, you live in intense fear and stress, maybe to the point of paranoia, when you take things personally in the workplace.  To help you learn how to deflect these unnecessary and sometimes harmful reactions in the workplace, remember some of these important realizations in your everyday dealings at work:

  • People want what they want and you may be an obstacle to what they want — this is not about you, you may simply be getting in the way
  • Workplace is the business of business and getting a good result — if you’re there to do a job and you’re not performing or producing, you’re obstructing business
  • It’s everywhere — you’re not going to move to a new position, a new job, a new state, a new country and find a place that’s different

When taking things personally, a common first instinct is to get a new job.  You need to manage that response and simply learn to own your behaviors and take things less personally.  I’m here to tell you this isn’t easy — we are who we are, flawed and growing all the time.

For example, I had a coaching client come to me, because she felt persecuted at work.  She reported crying about everything and left in tears every day.  One of the first things she said was, “I’m constantly being criticized by my boss.”  Her issues showed up right away in her interactions with me, making this criticism seem justified.

Unfortunately, she was late for coaching calls and didn’t complete her assessments.  She would agree to everything I suggested, then she didn’t have it done.  These were the exact same things she was hearing from her boss.  She was always late, didn’t get work done, and always had an excuse.  Yes, she would always agree and say, “Yes, I can get that done.”

When we uncovered what was happening, I think it was one of the longest pregnant pauses I’ve ever experienced.  She said, “You’re right, I’m taking things personally because these are personal problems.”  So, if this is you or you have some growing up to do, you’re not a bad person, just put your big girl pants on and move on!

Look at everything from a very pragmatic, business perspective.  Ask yourself, what will it take to do this?  If you’re making errors, do you need to slow down?  Maybe you need more technical skills to sharpen your performance.  Maybe there are areas where you actually need to say, okay fine, take the next step and don’t think about it too much.  Sometimes, it simply is what it is.

If you are struggling to have a more professional focus at work and know you need to take challenges less personally, coaching may be your answer.  Call Kay at 513-561-4288 or email kay@highheeledsuccess.com.

Risk-Taking 101: Find Balance

 “You can’t be successful in business without taking risks.  It’s really that simple.” 

–Adena Friedman, President and CEO of Nasdaq

Taking risks is necessary in business; however, you don’t want to be the one who jumps into anything or the one who lags behind and misses an opportunity.  Hopefully, after thinking this through with me, you’ll be able to find your sweet spot – being both confident and completely aware as you make a risky decision.  If you have any questions, after reading this, I’m always here to coach and support you!

First of all, there are three types of risk-takers:  jumpers, ruminators and sweet spot riskers.  Jumpers don’t exercise due diligence.  Jumpers are unrealistic about the circumstances, their resources and possibly time management.  Jumpers might be unrealistic about the potential revenue, haven’t thought about how time consuming something is and generally have blinders on.

For example, I had a client who was starting a business.  She chose to spend an excessive amount of money for website, rent office space hired an expensive staff member.  She has been working overtime just to cover her expenses and has not been able to turn a profit.

Ruminators tend to go over and over information, stalling and failing to make a decision.  Ruminators are driven by fear.  The numbers make sense, yet they do more research and more research.

Sweet spot riskers – that’s where you want to land by finding balance between facilitating the necessary due diligence and moving forward because the facts present themselves.  You have what you need to make a clear, reasoned and thoughtful decision.

When you have an opportunity that requires risk and are trying to follow a process that will help you find the correct level of risk, think QCAT as the acronym to find your sweet spot.

Q for Quick – be quick but not hasty and set a timeline for decision making

C for Committed – be committed, but not rigid, and if new data presents itself that suggests a change of direction, be ready to change

A for Analytical – be analytical, but do not over analyze and use data to push through fear

T for Thoughtful – be thoughtful, but not obsessive

Personally, I tend to be more of a ruminator.  When I first started my own business; however, I was a “jumper.”  So I’ve experienced the extremes and have used these exact same techniques over the years to find my own sweet spot for risk-taking.

If you would like to walk through these steps with someone who has been there and are eager to make a greater impact in your career, it would be my honor to be part of that process with you.  Please give me a call at 513-561-4288 or connect with me via email at kay@highheeledsuccess.com, so we can empower you to achieve that goal.

Emotional Intelligence is a Critical Factor for Success

Self-Awareness, Emotions, Empathy at Work

While you might not think much about the topic of emotional intelligence, it’s an issue that comes up frequently during my individual client sessions.  Putting your best foot forward as an emotionally intelligent boss and co-worker is a need in the workplace, a need for anyone who manages people.

By definition, emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of your feelings, being in control of them and able to express them.  For example, if you’re going to succeed with challenging employees, the administrator needs to set the tone.  The administrator needs to serve as the model for what you want others to emulate.

Historically, the foundation of emotional intelligence was laid when Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., wrote his 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence (Bantam Books), which helped to explain the differences between traditional IQ (intelligence quotient) and EI.  The book was on The New York Times bestseller list for a year-and-a-half and is available around the world in 40 languages.

The next major resource to come along was the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, written by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, Ph.D., which provides case studies, tools and techniques to improve your emotional intelligence.  In fact, Dr. Greaves is co-founder and CEO of TalentSmart, Inc., and the website talentsmart.com is a great resource to learn more.

Now, emotional intelligence is very much part of the fabric and conversation in any workplace.  If you work in a large company, you could probably talk to the human resources department to find out if you have taken or could take a formalized EI assessment.  When assessing EI, you’ll be looking at overall social awareness, relationship management and your ability to empathize with others.

If you find an area is lacking in yourself or your employees, there are strategies for improvement and some people can benefit from identifying an EI mentor – someone who seems to get along and understand others.  A mentor can be responsible for queuing you if you talk too long or if you misread communication.

For example, if an employee has negative reactions to someone else’s behavior and there is emotional fallout due to low self-awareness, this situation needs to be managed.  Or if you find employees want to leave a department because they don’t want to work with her, or headaches and stomach problems are being caused by a difficult co-worker, these situations need to be managed too.

5 Components of Emotional Intelligence

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation or emotional control
  • Motivators
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

covey-quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to social and relationship skills, we’re not just talking about charm.  As human beings interact with each other, we need to be able to interpret voice, facial expressions and body language.

Certain careers, such as information technology, engineering and research, require a high IQ; however, without emotional intelligence, success can hit a certain ceiling.  Both qualities are needed to be successful.  From Abraham Lincoln to Temple Grandin and Bill Gates, there have been many recognizable people who have lacked relationship skills.

Whether you decide to take a self-assessment or talk to a colleague for mentorship, it’s critical to identify where you have strengths or where you might need some emotional intelligence work to do.  A perfect opportunity to dig in on this topic is during your next job review.  Is there a tool or can your boss provide some guidance in this area?  A performance review is a gift to both the employee and the employer, so be smart and take advantage to help you put your best foot forward!

If you are eager to make a greater impact in your career, it would be my honor to be part of that process with you.  Please give me a call at 513-561-4288 or connect with me via email at kay@highheeledsuccess.com, so we can empower you to achieve that goal.

©Copyright 2018.  Kay Fittes.  All Rights Reserved.

Who do you need supporting your voice?

When it comes to career development, and really so many other things in life, you can’t do it alone, and because you can’t do it alone, neither can others.  Once you realize the power of your own voice, look around you and figure out who you need supporting your voice, who will be your greatest advocate, who will you talk to first when you have a ground-breaking idea?

While discovering and embracing your own power is important, the “Power of Us” can be the game-changer.  Men support each other all the time – where do you think the phrase the “good, old boys club” comes from?  If women employ some of the same techniques used by men to work together, support each other and lift while they climb, career support can be transformational.

As with everything, it’s important to find the power balance, a balance of mentor and mentee.  When you identify a woman boss or colleague who will help amplify your voice at work, you may have also found a mentor who could become a huge advocate for you.  A good mentor will support your voice and help transform your ability to speak out and speak up.  She (or he) can:

  • Advocate for you and open doors to resources.
  • Make strategic introductions.
  • Recommend you serve on boards, committees of the organization.
  • Provide inside information and help you learn the politics of your company or industry.
  • Help push you to the next level by shining a light on what you might not know about yourself.
  • Believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself.

If you’re the one in this scenario who has become the mentor, the work colleague who is ready, willing and able to lift while she climbs, make sure you’re not mentoring others to the detriment of your own career.  There’s a mentor for everyone.  Even if you need to look outside your department, company or industry, you need a mentor to help create visibility and open doors for you.

Internal and external mentors serve different roles.  An internal mentor is someone within your own organization, workplace or industry.  This person understands the culture of your workplace or industry.  A mentor who knows these intricate details can provide advice and insights that no one else can.  If you work directly with the person, she/he can also provide a unique perspective of how you are perceived in the workplace.

External mentors come from other companies, and different areas of business.  The balance of having an internal/external mentor, similar to the male/female balance, will help provide a holistic approach to the self-improvement process that takes place in a mentoring relationship.

Early in my career, I was more inclined to take a quick lunch at my desk.  I didn’t fully understand the value of having lunch with my co-workers, learning the players and gaining support for my ideas and my work.  Getting to know people and supporting each other is also more enjoyable, so don’t miss the opportunity.  It’s good for your career and good for your mental health!

If you are eager to make a greater impact in your career, it would be my honor to be part of that process with you.  Please give me a call at 513-561-4288 or connect with me via email at kay@highheeledsuccess.com, so we can empower you to achieve that goal.

©Copyright 2018.  Kay Fittes.  All Rights Reserved.

Don’t Let Women’s Unique Vulnerabilities Get in Your Way

It’s February, the middle of winter…blah, blah, blah, am I right?!   While we’re plugging along at work and also juggling the many roles women have, we often struggle to take care of ourselves.  Valentine’s Day and Heart Health Month remind me that this is the most important time to be sure that we value and love ourselves first.  My mentor mantra for women is: Take care of yourself, so you can be the best version of yourself with your family and in the workplace.

Throughout my decades-long career of coaching women to achieve the next level of success, I have become very aware of the fact that women have their own unique vulnerabilities.  While we strive to achieve c-suite level careers and equal pay in both the corporate and non-profit sectors, along with increased opportunities to start our own businesses, we cannot ignore that women’s life stages and ever-changing roles are unique.

My High-Heeled Success® list of women’s unique vulnerabilities is below.  Please read the list and honestly assess which of these eight characterize you and don’t flip out if they all do.  That’s not uncommon.  Think of this as a self-assessment, and maybe pick one or two that you can work on right away.

Women’s Unique Vulnerabilities

  • Tendency to belittle and de-value themselves
  • Strong need for perfectionism
  • Allowing emotions and feelings to color their experiences
  • Doing more than one task at a time
  • Assuming much responsibility from role overload
  • Difficulty relinquishing control
  • Difficulty nurturing self
  • Taking stress everywhere they go

Now that you’ve taken time to focus on yourself, to assess yourself, you’ve taken a high-heeled step or a track shoe leap in the right direction.  The beautiful thing, the loving thing is to care for yourself this Valentine’s Day and every day.  When you take this time for yourself, hopefully doing for others – whether it’s volunteering at the local homeless shelter, helping a child with his or her class valentines, planning a night out or caring for parents or in-laws – will bring you more joy.  Without time for you, the caring can reap resentment.

As long as you acknowledge what our unique vulnerabilities are, note them and think about how you can manage them, you will be surprised by how the results will also impact your work-life balance and your career success.

If you are eager to make a greater impact in your career, it would be my honor to be part of that process with you.  Please give me a call at 513-561-4288 or connect with me via email at kay@highheeledsuccess.com, so we can empower you to achieve that goal.

©Copyright 2018.  Kay Fittes.  All Rights Reserved.

Fall Focus with New School Year Excitement

No matter what the season or the stage of your career, balancing work and life successfully can always be challenging.  With the start of the new school year and fall just around the corner, this can be the season to renew and refresh your career goals.  At the start of the summer, we focused on the need to find your high-heeled equilibrium during the summer months when attitudes relax.

As July and August come to a close, work, school, volunteer and really everything seems to rev up to get back to business.  This new attitude allows for a fresh start; however, you now have opportunity to hang onto the summer balance tools that may have worked especially well for you.

For example, if being in nature was something you discovered as restorative this summer, make it a priority to continue to enjoy the outdoors.  Maybe you found that being less tethered to your electronics was a new discovery that allowed you to switch gears, enjoy the moment and even sleep better.  If you found that worked for you, keep it up!  Summer often forces us to find ways to simplify.  If you managed to feel positive effects from simplification, keep doing whatever worked for you.

In short, let’s approach your career guide for fall, like you would approach the excitement of starting the school year.  Remember what it was like to go back to school in the fall – everything was fresh and new.  You might have been excited about your new school shoes or excited about making new friends, either way, remember what excited you about this time of year.

If you were like me, you would wonder what new information you might learn in the coming year.  Just writing this column, I’m reminded of that feeling.  I’m challenging myself and challenging you to think about what new, exciting opportunities and challenges might be facing you in your career and in your life.  Is there a new technology you want to learn?  Do you need to be more assertive in the workplace?

If new friends are something you looked forward to in the new school year, think about your workplace relationships, both internal and external.  Take this opportunity to focus on new goals with your relationships.  Maybe you’ll decide to take lunch with a work friend or set your sights on developing a new mentor.  Whatever the goal, fall can be the time to refresh your plans.

When I was a kid going back to school in the fall, my parents took me to St. Louis to go shopping for new school clothes.  The brief family trip was full of tradition.  We went to the zoo and a baseball game.  The ritual provided the reset I needed.

As an adult, you can decide that a fall refresh involves reinventing your image and/or your wardrobe, deciding you need to update your style or sharpen your focus.  As a professional woman, monitoring your body language and the signals you send could be the reset you need.  (Watch for a more extensive conversation about body language and what it transmits in a future issue.)

As the regular school/academic year calendar pace picks back up, whether you have children at home or not, take advantage of this opportunity to renew and refresh with the same excitement you had as the new school year started in the fall.  Whether you’re wearing your high-heels or your fuzzy slippers, take time to keep what worked for you in the summer and sharpen your career focus to best suit your own personal needs.

If you are eager to make a greater impact in your career, it would be my honor to be part of that process with you.  Please give me a call at 513-561-4288 or connect with me via email at kay@highheeledsuccess.com, so we can empower you to achieve that goal.

©Copyright 2017.  Kay Fittes.  All Rights Reserved.

Don’t Underestimate The Power of One

We’ve been talking and posting on social media about #WomensHistoryMonth throughout March to celebrate the women who have blazed new trails throughout history and to increase awareness for the work that still needs to be done for each of us to reach our full potential.  This includes leveraging the experience of those who have gone before us through mentorship and support for other women.  When one of us wins, we all win!

Everyone is familiar with the “old boys network”.  If women are going to be successful, we need each other – we need to create the “new women’s network”.  While some women achieve success, and then want other women to have to “work as hard as they did”, it’s the true leaders that will encourage other women and help pull their chairs to the table.

We still have a lot of ground to make-up to reach C-Suite positions, upper level management and pay equity, so we must learn from each other along the way.  Take the time to seek advice from the one woman who has a seat at the boardroom table – she knows the players and the culture.  Men network and help each other, so women should do the same.

Most importantly, a woman boss or colleague who steps into that important mentor role for you could be the person that changes everything.  A good mentor can have many roles.  She (or he) can:

  • Advocate for you and open doors for you internally.
  • Introduce you to key people.
  • Provide inside information and help you learn the politics of your company or industry.
  • Help push you to the next level by shining a light on what you might not know about yourself.
  • Believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself.

When you’ve found that person, listen to her, appreciate her, because you might remember her for the rest of your life.  Personally, I met the mentor who would change the course of my life when there was a gap between my career in the mental health field and starting my own business.

During this period, I managed to land a position with the Flint River Girl Scout Council as a field director, and a woman named Gail Kirocofe was my direct supervisor.  I believed myself to be completely out of my element, with no experience hiring staff and managing the many details associated with being a camp director.

Every day, Gail reassured me that she knew I had the ability, strength and smarts to do the job.  She let me know that she wasn’t going to do it for me, but that she had the belief in me that I was fully capable of doing it myself.

In my effort to not disappoint her, I was able to dig deep and find what she saw in me.  I literally credit her with having a thumbprint on my success, which changed the course of my life.  Even though I was only with the Girl Scouts for two years, this story illustrates my conviction of the power of one mentor.  Gail believed in me, which gave me the confidence to raise my expectations for myself.  While I have had many mentors over the years, Gail was the one that touched my career at that pivotal moment.  When I left the Girl Scouts, I moved on to start my own business.

In 2015, the awareness of the impact Gail had on my life was particularly striking.  I was featured on an electronic billboard as a conference speaker in Pennsylvania.  Realizing how far I had come, I found Gail to let her know I would not have been on that billboard without her.  In her 80s, Gail became a children’s book author and was enjoying her next chapter of success.

When we talk about Women’s History Month and mentorship, don’t ever underestimate the power of one – that one mentor can have an astonishing impact on your life, your success and who you ultimately become.

If you are eager to make a greater impact in your career and be a game-changer, it would be my honor to be part of that process with you.  Please give me a call at 513-561-4288 or connect with me via email at kay@highheeledsuccess.com, so we can empower you to achieve that goal.

Read Kay’s Corner in the March newsletter to find practical tips for mentoring.

©Copyright 2017.  Kay Fittes.  All Rights Reserved.