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Career Advice Women Receive…and Why You Shouldn’t Follow It

The Four Most Common Pieces of Career Advice Women Receive… and Why You Shouldn’t Follow It….
By: Alison Nail-Malone, Executive Coach & Founder of Malone Consultants Group

#1 Leave your job if you’re not passionate

Alright, I’m not saying to stay in a mind & heart suck job. However, I see WAAYYY too many women beat themselves up because they: a) aren’t working a job that fulfills what they are truly passionate about; and/or b) have no real clue what they are passionate about and how to do ‘that’ as a career.

Here’s the deal ….

You can ‘work a job’ that pays your bills and have the things you are passionate about outside of work. AND yes, you absolutely can have a career that includes what you are passionate and purposeful about.

Take your time to find what you are passionate about. Don’t just check out because right now this role doesn’t fit you. Find small ways in your job and your life outside of office that starts to feed your soul.

If you already know what your passionate about…begin your research on how to include that in your career. Then ask for those opportunities at work; but also keep your eye out for the open career opportunities too.

#2 Network, Network, Network

Seriously this is one that makes me crazy when experienced professionals say, “Network, network, network” to build your career credibility. It’s a waste of time!

Ultimately, your network should be made up of people who will be, or currently are, your advocate. Your professional network need to be the people who know what you do, how you contribute and how they can tell your story no matter who they talk to.

Your professional network should be the people you are an advocate for as well. But make sure…there is a balance between these two groups.

#3 Save it for the annual review

Ok, maybe this one really rubs me the wrong way. How many times have you been surprised about the feedback you received in your annual evaluation? I don’t know about you… but it’s happened almost every time I’ve had an annual review!

But …

Admittedly I have also been guilty, in the past, of not providing real feedback (both positive and constructive) until an annual review (or maybe not at all).

Let’s commit together to something right here. No more of that. Take a proactive approach in receiving and giving feedback on a regular basis. Perhaps you need to just start with once a quarter. Maybe you need to be committed to once a month. Whatever that is, commit to owning your career in a big way…and feedback is one of the most vital components of that.

#4 Stay at least a year

I know I just eluded that you shouldn’t leave your job. However, give yourself permission to leave when its time.

My clients, and other professional women I am connected with, will notoriously stay ‘committed’ to a job … even when they KNOW the job is not right.

Most likely you don’t have the luxury to jump ship without another boat to drive; AND you do have the RIGHT to explore and interview for new roles.

Do not limit your growth to time. If it’s not right, it’s not right. Don’t waste your time.

Your time…your talent…your presence is valuable. Step into that knowingness!

When you ask for career advice, first take it with a grain of salt and then consider it carefully before you follow it. It could either be the worst piece of career advice, or the best. Find out which before you bet your future on it.

Finding a tribe of other women heading on the same journey where you want to go. If you have not found a group of people, I created this FREE Facebook community of ambitious and high-performing women who are coming together to position themselves as top talent to advance in their careers quickly and with purpose. CLICK HERE TO JOIN THIS FREE FACEBOOK GROUP:

Alison Nail-Malone is an Executive Coach, Intentional Speaker, and Corporate Leadership Expert; and runs Malone Consultants Group.  Get her free leadership article by clicking here.

 

What No One Told Me … Before I Started Managing People

What No One Told Me … Before I Started Managing People

Did you know that over 90% of managers state that they have never been trained how to manage their direct reports?

Managers are expected to ‘know’ intuitively how to lead, inspire, and have direct conversations with their employees. As an Executive Coach, I often hear managers say, “No one ever showed me how to do this!” or “I am just winging this!” This lack of support and truly lack of knowledge often stunts the growth and leadership influence of a manager and can negatively affect the team.

When I became a manager of 17 employees, I made many mistakes at first. After a very candid and tough conversation with an employee I had to terminate, I received feedback from my team and the ex-employee that I had not communicated clearly about performance and expectations. This hit hard because I thought I had, and I assumed that my team knew what was expected of them when it came to performance. After all, I had to figure it out on my own and promoted quickly because of that. Why couldn’t they do that?

Unlike some roles, which can be studied and prepared for in advance, leading a group of people can best be learned on the job; as well as proactively pursuing knowledge. You will make mistakes. Embrace them and learn from them. Here are three key lessons I learned that I wished someone would have told me about being a manager.

1.     There is power in letting your team members do the thinking. In Kevin Crenshaw’s book, “NeverBoss: Great Leadership by Letting Go”, a leader inspires thinking by asking great questions that invite feeling, thinking, and action. “When people feel, think, and act on their own, they start to become leaders.” This is particularly true when you have to address mistakes. Mr. Crenshaw proposes asking these questions to engage conversation and brainstorming:

  • Tell me more about it…
  • What do you see?
  • Would A or B work better?
  • What is the standard or procedure?
  • What do you think?
  • What do you recommend?

When you engage your team to think for themselves and search for their own answers, there is a higher degree of ownership for solutions as well as follow through. As leaders who desire to be the very best, we tend to take on too much. Your role is to let them shine and succeed. In turn, this reflects positively on you as a leader and key contributor to your organization.

2.     Don’t aim to be liked. Aim to be transformational. Being liked is not the same as being respected by your team. Often managers have a tough time with this one. It requires a certain level of courage and self-awareness.

Transformational managers are models of integrity and fairness, set clear goals, stirs the emotions of people, and inspires people to reach for greatness (based on their terms and the company objectives).

Easy, right?

Not really! However, there are literally thousands of books, podcasts, and digital resources available on becoming a transformational leader.

Some of my favorites are:

Radical Candor – Book written by Kim Scott

Coaching for Leaders – Podcast by Dave Stachowiak

TED Talk: Tribal Leadership – Speaker David Logan

3.     Managers coach, not tell. Coaching your people helps build rapport, supports them through business challenges, develops self-awareness, and finds solutions. It also helps you understand how people think about their work, their careers, and their relationships with the organization. Coaching also helps you to improve a person’s performance and deal with issues before these become problems. This skill takes a lot of time and thought.

Daniel Goleman wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review Leadership that Gets Results, in which he characterized the coaching style of leadership as one that

 “…help[s] employees identify their unique strengths and weaknesses and tie them to their personal and career aspirations. They encourage employees to establish long-term development goals and help them conceptualize a plan for attaining them. They make agreements with their employees about their role and responsibilities in enacting development plans, and they give plentiful instruction and feedback…”

Management can be demanding and consume a lot of time. The best managers embrace challenges and build trust with each employee one day at a time. However, being the kind of manager described above also brings unmatchable rewards: positively impacts the lives of people, grows the business through productive teams, and enriches your career journey and purpose.

Alison Nail-Malone is an Executive Coach, speaker, and corporate leadership consultant; and runs Malone Consultants Group. Get her free leadership article by clicking here.

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