Welcome to the first of our monthly newsletters. And welcome to the community of Women Leading Together! 2012 was a big year for us. We had a common desire to help business women get “unstuck” in their careers and to be released from that overwhelmed feeling that can creep into everyday life. We followed this desire by creating Women Leading Together, drawing on our decades of experience in the executive suites and in coaching executives to help women lead more fulfilling lives and careers. In 2013 we are introducing our development workshops to aid you in your career journey.
Our intention in this monthly publication is to provide you with relevant articles from our experiences and to inform you of other resources to help create the career that meets your definition of success and fulfillment. We wish for you a fulfilling 2013!
Susan & Lynn
In a recent workshop this question came up: “How can I maintain my integrity when I’m hanging out with people with whom I have nothing in common?”
The question came from a woman business leader who has friends who don’t work outside the home. She has no interests or hobbies in common with them and her friends aren’t interested in her business world. By having these people as friends is she compromising her integrity?
Working Women Wear Many Hats
We may negotiate a game changing business deal during the day, then find ourselves making a costume for the school holiday program at night. Or we may be engaged in a deep discussion about the impact of the fiscal cliff over lunch, then end up in a conversation about the flowers in the subdivision over mailbox chat that evening. It’s a weird world — or many worlds — that we live in. Are we the same person in all situations?
What to do?
Here’s the formula we recommend when in a situation or conversation that is out of your normal or preferred set of activities.
(1) Can I influence the person or change the situation?
I can’t make everyone be like me. (In fact life would be pretty boring if we were all the same.) If I don’t want to talk about the flowers in the subdivision I’m not going to move to a new neighborhood to avoid it. If the mothers of my kids’ friends don’t share my interests, I’m probably not going to change their lifestyles. And if my uncle’s dyed in the wool political views don’t align with mine after two decades, they’re not likely to change in the next one. If the answer to (1) is “No” then…
(2) Is there a higher value that I am honoring?
This is the critical question that allows you to act with integrity and be yourself. You may not find your neighbors interests aligned with you, but do you enjoy their company and laughing with them? If so, you value friendship more than sharing common interests. If your uncle is the hard core Republican and you’re a committed Democrat, you can enjoy his companionship if you value family more than politics. And if your kids’ friends’ moms don’t understand why you get up at o-dark-thirty and slog through the business world every day, that’s ok if you value the relationships and community that are important to your child.
The underlying principle to all of this is…
We don’t change or compromise our values. If it’s important to us, we act accordingly and don’t change just to fit in. Don’t agree with someone if their actions or beliefs are not in alignment with yours. But you can still honor the relationship with silence or inquiry, or if appropriate, respectful debate. (There’s an obvious caveat here, and that is if the actions are illegal or harmful to others the rules change.) Don’t be someone you’re not, but know that you can express interest in the lives and hobbies of others without participating yourself. You may even want to try a little quilting one evening, just to try something different and honor the friendship. It doesn’t mean you need to enter the quilting bee at the county fair!
The key to acting with integrity is to honor your own values, while showing respect to the values of others.
Tip: Honor your integrity by reminding yourself of what value you’re honoring in any given situation.
What Others Are Writing
Article: “6 Secrets of How Successful Women Lead” from Inc. Magazine
We found this article before the holiday season. What we like about it is that it acknowledges women lead differently, and those differences in partnership with men produce stronger teams and business results. The research shows that businesses with more women in leadership reported higher financial results than those with fewer women leaders. To read the article, click here.
What We Are Reading
Book: Going to the Top by Carol Gallagher
Each month in this section we’ll refer you to a useful resource. It may relate to women in business, personal development or general leadership. It may be a recent book, or in the case of today’s book review, one that we particularly like that has been around a while. “Going to the Top” is one of those earlier publications loaded with relevant advice for women in business today.
I, Susan, met Carol Gallagher and became familiar with her book when I spoke at one of her “Windows in the Glass Ceiling” seminars a number of years ago. She draws on the very real experiences of more than 200 women who have reached the top of America’s Fortune 1000 companies. The book is well written and the advice is practical and from the heart — from top women executives, from men in executive roles and from Carol. Her research supports key areas that we teach in our Women Leading Together workshops, including the importance of being yourself and making conscious choices in your career.
As Carol writes on her first page, Going To the Top is written for “the millions of women who want to make the next strategic move in their career or who simply want to know what it takes to make it to the highest corporate levels — so they can evaluate whether they have the desire and the personal and professional skills to make it.”
On January 25 we will hold our Building the Foundation For a Fulfilling Career workshop. You can register for this event at www.WomenLeadingTogether.com. Watch our website and our February newsletter for more details about this workshop to be offered again on March 22.
About Susan and Lynn
Susan Hodge and Lynn Rousseau created Women Leading Together in order to provide seminars, workshops, and coaching circles to help career women move forward to create fulfilling careers. Visit our website at www.WomenLeadingTogether.com.