Tag: leadership

Embracing Your Intuition at Work

Picture2Intuition is a funny word. Some call it gut feeling, others say inner voice, or it can bethat feeling in the pit of your stomach when I instinctively know something is wrong, or conversely when something is right even though the facts say otherwise.

Sometimes we shy away from embracing our intuition at work because it can been seen as irrational, based on emotion, and all about feelings instead of facts. InMalcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink, he talks about the power of those first 2 seconds of a situation where we make a fast decision (although he doesn’t use the word intuition) and many times this can lead to better results that working through mounds of research.

Disclaimer – before you get worried, I’m not at all saying we should make all decisions using intuition.

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to a group of women on this topic. Here are the five situations (including a quick tip to get started) I shared where embracing your intuition might help you in the office:

Situation 1 – Taking Risks  

Ever see a job description for your dream job and then get scared off by the requirements – either the years of experience or the potential impact to our home life? Ignore the job requirements and ask “why not me?” Many times the listed requirements are a guide, not a rule.

Growth comes when we are operating outside of our comfort zone so don’t be afraid to take smart risks and say yes to opportunities. Use your intuition to guide you to the right opportunities – and then once you get them trust that you will succeed.

Intuition Quick Tip #1 – When considering a new opportunity ask yourself – “what is holding me back from saying yes?”  If it is fear, maybe it is time to take that risk.

Situation 2 – Making Smart Decisions

Just as important as saying yes, is knowing when to say no. I read this great article recently by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg that talked about women’s tendency to do “office housework.” We instinctively like to help people – whether it be organizing office events, mentoring people, or even getting the coffee for a meeting. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – we get great satisfaction out of helping people – I know I do.

The downside is that it can be time consuming and overwhelming – and it doesn’t do much to further our careers.

Let your intuition guide you and tell you if something isn’t worth your time.

Intuition Quick Tip #2 – When someone asks you to work on something you feel might now be valuable, ask the tough questions. Try “how will this add value to our customers?”  

Situation 3 – Speaking Up

We’ve all heard Sheryl Sandberg talk about leaning in and taking a seat at the table.  This is very true. But once we sit, we need to speak.

How many times have you been in a meeting and people are debating an issue. You see a clear and simple solution in your head but don’t speak up because you aren’t sure it is right. Then, a colleague says exactly what you were thinking and is applauded for coming up with a smart solution.

It is okay not to be perfect.

When we do speak up, please don’t apologize. I wrote a blog a few months ago on meaningless apologies. Meaningless apologies in the workplace undermine our power and authority.

Intuition Quick Tip #3 – Instead of saying, “Sorry to interrupt but I have a question.” Try “Excuse me, I have a question.”

Situation 4 – Leading Your Team

Don’t copy someone else’s leadership style – embrace your own.  Use empathy if that is comfortable for you. Research shows empathy is powerful to driving business forward and in building relationships across cultures.

At times we can instinctively know what people’s strengths – celebrate those and share feedback with your team and others if they are open. Also, seek feedback – this can give us the confidence to trust in our decisions. Self-awareness is powerful.

Intuition Quick Tip #4 – Each week, actively give and seek out one piece of feedback. Ask “how did I come across in that meeting?”

Situation 5 – Investing in You

I like to say you need to be your own CEO. This means taking ownership, pushing forward, and thinking strategically about your career – just as you would the head of the company but in this case, the company is you.

Own your brand – embrace all that is you. The Oscar Wilde quote “Be Yourself Because Everyone Else is Already Taken” is very true. Make sure that when you google yourself, you like what you see. Authenticity is the best quality.

You need to ask and share…share your successes and career aspirations and ask for what you deserve in the workplace.

Finally, surround yourself with a smart network that you trust. Rely on your intuition to help you determine who these people are. They are the ones who have your back and are invested and support your success.

Intuition Quick Tip #5 – Set up time to share your career aspirations with your manager. It can be uncomfortable but it doesn’t have to be. Try “I’d like to set up time for us to talk through some of the career goals I Have set for myself.”

Let’s let go of our fear, be confident in ourselves, get out of our comfort zone, and please stop apologizing.

I’d love to hear from you – was there a time where your intuition told you something and you failed to listen? How would things be different if you listened?

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Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/73GY8k

Take the First Step Towards Job Satisfaction

2699933802_d1dd5414a3_zA few weeks ago I wrote a blog about some work resolutions everyone should take on in 2015, one of which is “find your passion.” The word “passion” gets a bad rap. It is said to be overused in in the workplace.  I get it – so instead of talking more about passion, I thought I’d share an example of how one person applied passion in their job successfully.

I talked to my friend and colleague Nicole McCabe, Senior Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion at SAP. read more »

3 Reasons To Get Off The Career Ladder

380240868_17cacecd3e_zSeveral years ago, I made a pretty major career shift. I had been on an upward career track – each move promoted up a level and taking on more, steadily moving up the ladder.  But I found, the higher I rose within my team, the less I was learning. Even for the roles I hadn’t tried in our team, I felt I knew enough to take it on and easily be successful.

Although my reputation was solid, my peers respected me, and my stakeholders were happy, I was feeling stagnant and my work felt like “been there, done that.” read more »

Don’t Do This To Find A New Job

76842148_1d693d1f7d_zA few years back I received a connection request on LinkedIn from someone I did not know. I’m not a person who gets bothered by this or who turns down random connections. I see LinkedIn as a great tool to expand my network beyond those people I currently know. Some of my best networking and opportunities have come to me via LinkedIn. read more »

Two Words I Banned This Year

2907434143_1037f2c742_zAt the beginning of our volleyball season this year, I went over the ground rules with the 5th and 6th grade girls that I coach.

 

The list included the standard ground rules like listening to the coach, supporting your teammates, and hustling at practice. But there was a new rule this year – one that the girls were surprised to hear – No one is allowed to say “I’m Sorry.” read more »

Four Things I’ve Learned From Coaching

coachYou could say I have a passion for coaching. I coach my daughter’s volleyball team, not only because I love the sport, but because I love helping others be successful. This follows me to the office too. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than seeing people grow and develop in their careers and realizing their potential. It gives me great joy to see mentees take on a new role or leaders building their social brands. Coaching fuels me.

The fringe benefit of coaching? The plethora of things I learn from those I coach and mentor – not only about business or sports – but about myself.

Here are a few of the I’ve learned over the years: read more »

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received

3219004793_a0d5a6de82_zA few years back I was struggling. I had just been promoted to a management role and had several major decisions that needed to be made quickly. I was worried. These decisions would set the foundation for my success in my new role – and really “make it” or “break it” for me. read more »

Four Things I Learned That One Time I Got Let Go

5711563136_96ac6fb29f_zOnce upon a time there was a girl who was a rock star at work. She just got promoted, got a killer mid-year review, and her customers loved her. Then, she got let go.

Yes, it happens. Organizations change and shift. Things happen that are outside of your control and no matter how good you think you are, you can find yourself in this situation. This happened to me – it wasn’t pleasant but it did teach me some really important things. read more »

Listen Up Employers – This Is What Millennials Want From You

Blades of grass, close-up

I keep reading article after article with unsolicited advice to millennials – tips on how to succeed, tips on communications, tips on how to lead.  It got me wondering – what would millennials tell their employers if they had the chance? I informally polled some of the best and brightest millennials I know and here are the things they want their employers to know right now, including their real quotes as backup.

read more »

Preparing for Social Media Success

This blog originally appeared on ASUG’s Leadership 2.0.

Perhaps my favorite moment at ASUG Annual Conference this year was when Olympic gold medalist and WNBA superstar Lisa Leslie shared the “7 Ps” that her mother instilled in her as a child – “Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.” It was a humorous moment but also amazing to learn that this phrase stuck with Lisa all these years. Personally, I had never thought too much about the role “preparation” plays in our lives. read more »