The likeability factor is something that’s a real example of gender bias in the workplace.
Research has backed the anecdotal evidence that as women climb the leadership ladder they have to find the sweet spot between being liked and being seen as a leader.
Some of you may feel that isn’t true for your organisation or the team you work in. Unfortunately for many women they find the social expectation to be nice, warm, friendly and nurturing doesn’t fit well with the stereotype of a powerful leader. As a result their likability factor drops.
You may have found if you act in an assertive, competitive or forceful way that you get a pushback from others. They may describe you as aggressive or to0 masculine and then your likeability factor drops.
On the opposite side of the coin, it’s also dangerous to focus on pleasing people and moulding yourself to be what others want. You may then find you get feedback that you need to “sharpen your elbows” and be assertive and direct.
What is the answer then?
The ideal solution is not to worry as much what others think. That’s easily said I know, but you have so little control over whether others like you or not. If you try to make yourself likeable you will lose yourself and your authenticity.
Obviously it’s important to be aware of your affect on others and you can influence that impact rather than control it.
Here’s some ideas on how to do that:
Build relationships – when you’ve built connection and trust with other people it’s far easier to influence them and bring them along with your ideas and opinions
Show you care – compassion and understanding are important in all relationships. Focus on listening to colleagues and clients to get clarity on their needs and motivations
Be consistent – to maintain trust in your work relationships you need to deliver on what you say you will and to apply your guidance and actions consistently
Don’t make it about you – when someone pushes back your idea or challenges your thoughts it’s generally about the work not you. Take your ego out of the situation and accept that there will be differences of opinions.
Be authentic – speak up for what you believe and boldly ensure your voice is heard
By forming connections and relationships you are building a stronger foundation than just being liked.
If worrying what others think is a big challenge for you then I’d love to explore the issue with you. Book a free call with me at www.speakwithjo.com and I’ll give you clarity on your concerns as well as strategies on how to resolve the situation.
Does the word conflict make you feel immediately uncomfortable?
Would you do anything to shut down or change a conversation if there was a disagreement?
That’s a normal reaction because fighting isn’t fun. It’s stressful and it can affect your important relationships.
However, in many situations at work or with friends it can be a healthy way to express your feelings and to have your thoughts and opinions heard.
What stops us speaking up when we disagree?
There’re a lot of different reasons why we avoid conflict and I’ve picked out some of the common ones my clients mention:
A deep fear of upsetting the other person, being disapproved of or causing other negative emotions
An experience of bad arguments in your childhood or adulthood
A childhood where there was never conflict and disagreements weren’t discussed
Conditioning by society, school or parents to behave like a ‘nice’ girl
How do I build my conflict resolution skills?
Step 1 – is this issue important enough to me to speak up? You don’t have to confront every situation but if it’s happened before or you’re having conversations in your head about it or it breaches your personal boundaries then go for it
Step 2 – speak assertively. This means acknowledging the other persons point or summarising the facts of the situation and using ‘I’ statements. Then you won’t be blaming the other person and they’re less likely to be defensive
Step 3 – Listen and question. I like to think about Stephen Covey’s famous quote “Seek first to understand, then to be understood“
Step 4 – what is the real issue behind the conflict? The other person’s issue might not be what you’re disagreeing about. For example, a heated team meeting about who takes what role on a project, might actually be about feelings of jealousy or being left out. When you know the real meaning it’s easier to be compassionate
Step 5 – winning isn’t always the right outcome. Having a set outcome in mind is important, such as an apology or change of opinion. Sometimes just speaking up for yourself is enough. It gives a great boost to your self-respect and also builds the other person’s respect for you.
If dealing with conflict and being assertive are challenges for you, then do book a call with me and I’ll share with you strategies to make it easier.
Today’s blog is all about how to work with colleagues who seem to be manipulative or obstructive but never actually confront you face to face.
This sort of behaviour is known as passive-aggressive. The person will appear to agree with you on the surface but you’ll pick up that they’re not happy. They may then cause you problems by undermining you with little comments or ignoring what you asked or side lining you.
If you have a colleague like that then you may be surprised at the best way to deal with them.
I once worked with a passive-aggressive colleague who never actually criticised or disagreed with me face to face. Instead she made life difficult and incredibly frustrating for me. She’d agree to actions in a meeting and not deliver on them. In front of senior managers she’d be very supportive, but away from them she’d not even give me a good morning.
What I found most annoying was the way she’d put in little digs at my ideas and achievements in front of others and never backed my suggestions.
I thought the best way to deal with it was to confront her, give examples and ask whether there was a problem. Instead of opening up a discussion she reacted by suggesting I was oversensitive and imagining it. That triggered my defensive anger and left me looking like the aggressive one, which isn’t a response I’d recommend!
People who behave in this way aren’t usually the toxic slackers we think they are. Usually their behaviour is coming from a fear of expressing their emotions and getting into conflict. There can also be an element of self-centredness, assuming others should know what they want. That their feelings are more important than yours.
How do I deal with this?
Rather than responding to a passive-aggressive person from the hurt and frustration you’re feeling. Think of them instead as someone who is suffering and unable to share their emotions constructively.
1. Listen to what they’re not saying rather than how they deliver it – what is their underlying opinion?
2. Do you have any role in the situation? Reflect on how your behaviour could be contributing, even if it’s just your emotions ‘leaking out’
3. Have a calm conversation with them, using your emotional intelligence and asking questions to uncover their concerns or issues. Ignore any toxic elements to their delivery and keep the focus on the content
4. Try to avoid having an emotional response to their comments, as not only is this not productive but it may feed their behaviours.
5. Join with them to find a solution or discuss a compromise. They may just want to be heard and be open to options
6. You don’t have the ability to change their behaviour that’s upto them, but if it becomes extreme then do ask for help
7. Maintaining good working relationships with you colleagues is very important to your happiness at work, but sometimes whatever you do, it’s not possible. In those situations make sure you protect yourself by getting support from other colleagues, recording any incidents and ensuring your work performance isn’t affected.
If you’d like to know how you can confidently deal with similar issues in your work then do book a free call with me at www.speakwithjo.com and I’ll share with you some successful strategies.
Achieving success in your career is a wonderful thing,
but not if you still continue to doubt yourself.
It’s the feeling that at any time you might be found out as
not being as good as they think you are.
Or being scared that you only achieved your
success out of luck or because you worked so hard.
Maybe someone else could do the job better?
Those feelings can make you anxious and stressed,
so, you spend time and energy on worrying
rather than being creative in your job.
Are you scared that others can see your self-doubt
and that they’re judging you?
What if they know that really you’re not that good, even if
they don’t say so?
The problem is…
No matter how much you achieve and how much
positive feedback or approval you get.
Unless you can quieten that Inner Critic behind your
Imposter Syndrome, you won’t feel good enough.
You’ll barely focus on your achievements and instead
overanalyse any negative feedback or criticism.
I know how anxious this can make you,
because I have felt like that.
Despite having a really successful corporate career
I would worry that the next piece of work I did wouldn’t
be good enough. That even though I had the job title and
the reward, I didn’t actually deserve it.
That drove me to work harder and to higher standards
BUT, the harder I worked, the less visible I became
and the more the self-doubts crept in.
I couldn’t understand how colleagues seemed so confident
and able to give opinions without knowing if they were right.
Or to challenge ideas without worrying that they’d got it wrong.
So I get it!
The reality is that in today’s workplace culture
doing a great job isn’t enough. You need to feel
confident and to demonstrate that confidence too.
While you’re in your head listening to your Imposter
Syndrome, that confidence is being knocked. Which
leads to anxiety and stress.
I talk to hundreds of incredible women who have enormous
potential. But, they are suffering with anxiety and stress or
holding themselves back in their career with self-doubt.
The Good News is…
You can shut up your inner critic and overcome your
feeling of being an imposter
You can build your self-belief and stop wasting time,
energy and emotion on battling yourself.
Then when senior people and colleagues recognise
your ability and potential you’ll agree and realise that
you are good enough.
So, if you’re ready to send your Imposter syndrome packing
and replace it with the freedom of self-belief.
Then click the link below to book a call with me and
we can create a plan to cure you of the imposter.
This week I’ve had the privilege of having meetings with 3 new clients, which I love doing. One of the common subjects that has come up is procrastination – the art of putting things off and wasting time on other less important tasks.
For some people it’s just a frustration that means they tend to leave everything to the last moment. For others though it has a serious affect on their productivity and ability to perform well at work.
Are there certain tasks that you always put off to the last minute?
Do you find yourself rushing to complete a job when you’d had lots of time initially and as a result it’s not your best work?
Does the battle to try and make yourself do the work cause you stress and anxiety?
There are a number of reasons that people procrastinate such as:
Lack of motivation
No tangible reward for completion
A non-specific or extended timescale
A fear of failure
Lacking confidence and self-esteem
The first step to overcoming procrastination is to identify what type of task it is that triggers it. It could be those jobs that are on a subject you’re not an expert in, or when you’re not clear what the expected output is.
Once you’ve identified the work you procrastinate on then you can work out the reason you are putting it off. Is it any of the suggestions above?
There are many strategies suggested to break the cycle of procrastination. One that I share with my clients is to set a timer for 15 minutes and give yourself permission to stop working on the task after that. If you want to continue afterwards that’s a bonus, if not repeat the 15 minutes at another time.
The great thing about this is it enables you to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed or of no reward as you’re only doing 15 minutes.
Why not give it a go, who knows what you can achieve when you’re not procrastinating!
If you’d like to find out more strategies on how to overcome procrastination then book a call with me at www.speakwithjo.com and I’ll get you started.
In my experience of working with hundreds of clients the biggest fear many of them have is of being rejected or not fitting in.
It was a conversation I had with a new client this week that sparked the idea for a blog. She lacked confidence in meeting new people and doing small talk, which was affecting her ability to network and progress her career, as well as her social life.
Her fear was that she would have nothing to say, people wouldn’t find her interesting and would judge her as not being of value or ‘one of them’.
From the outside it’s easy to say that’s obviously not true. But when our thoughts are telling us this story of what will happen and the feeling that comes with them is so real, it’s very difficult to ignore what they say.
The fear then builds and you start avoiding situations where your worries could come true. Which is exactly what my new client is doing.
The starting point to develop the courage to overcome these fears is to recognise that they are almost certainly not true. Just because you’ve thought them, it doesn’t mean they’re coming from your inner guru and you must believe every word. They are a story your thoughts are telling you and you can ignore them.
As humans we are rubbish at accurately predicting how others will think and behave, so we create a scenario and that is often a negative one.
Another idea is to imagine that the worst has happened and you have been rejected/don’t fit in/judged as boring. What would you do then? Yes you could allow yourself to feel upset for a short time. Then you could start the process of growing and moving on. Imagine this happening now, how does it feel to carry on being you and not being pulled down by other peoples opinions.
When did you last have to start a difficult conversation with a peer, your boss or a client? Disagreeing with someone and potentially causing a conflict can be a scary and an anxiety provoking idea.
You know you ‘should’ have that conversation, but wouldn’t it be easier to avoid it or let it go? It wasn’t that important anyway (was it?)
You probably spend days or hours worrying about what to say, when to say it and what their reaction
might be. A great loss of time, energy and emotion.
I’m sure you’ve found many logical reasons (excuses) to not initiate the discussion. But that just leaves you
with a churning feeling of guilt and shame, because you know you lacked the courage to speak up.
You’ve not expressed to the other person your thoughts. So, they’ll either not realise that something was wrong or they’ll see you as easily walked over.
Even more importantly…
It sends a message to your self-esteem that your ideas, thoughts and needs aren’t important enough for you
to speak up for them.
And guess what…
That knocks your confidence even more and reinforces the habit of not being assertive.
In my research with successful career women about 70% say they weren’t naturally assertive
and they had to learn the skill. But 100% say assertiveness is essential to achieving career success.
Of my clients, over two-thirds are looking for support to develop voicing their thoughts and needs. To be able to disagree confidently with seniors and to have the strength to stick to their ideas.
No matter what behaviours you see around you it is possible to discuss difficult issues in a calm, rational and respectful way. You just need to learn how.
Here are some top tips to help you:
1. Check your mindset. Are you feeling angry, resentful, frustrated or hurt? If you go into a difficult conversation driven by your emotion it will cloud your thinking and the chances of conflict are a lot higher. Instead take the personal out of it and go into the conversation ready to listen and understand the other person.
2. Have a plan. If you have a loose idea on a structure for the interaction you’re more likely to cover your key points. If you worry you’ll get flustered or overwhelmed then write down those points too ensure you raise them.
3. Actively listen. As Stephen Covey (of The 7 Habits Of Successful People) says “seek first to understand before being understood”. This means actively listening and not just waiting for a gap to make your next point.
4. Slow down. Whether you’re giving or receiving bad news you both need time to reflect, ask questions and offer answers. Because these conversations are uncomfortable we tend to rush through them. By slowing down and respecting each others point of view it gives a chance for emotions to settle
5. Offer a solution, compromise or follow up. Wherever you can, offer a solution or a suggestion to support the other person or to help you change your performance. If you can’t agree on a compromise then book a follow up session after you’ve both had time to reflect.
So next time you get that feeling that you ‘should’ have a difficult conversation, you’re probably right, take action!
If you’d like to learn more about assertiveness and speaking up for yourself, book a call with me at www.speakwithjo.com
Are you too accommodating in your daily life—so much so that it’s actually a hindrance to your work?
Well, you might be a people pleaser. While it’s a great set of skills to be able to work with others being too much of a people pleaser actually sets you back. It diminishes your work, undermines your authority, and—eventually—it stunts your professional growth.
Here are 10 signs that you might be suffering from people-pleasing—and how to nip it in the bud.
1. YOU AGREE, EVEN WHEN YOU DISAGREE
This is a common trait of people pleasers. Whether it’s in a meeting, having a one-on-one conversation, or in the middle of a big negotiation, people pleasers tend to agree—even when they don’t. There are certainly circumstances where sharing your personal or political opinions is not necessary. However, people pleasers tend to agree even when they vehemently disagree.
If you find yourself being agreeable for the sake of being agreeable, ask yourself a few questions:
Does agreeing with this particular opinion/direction/move go against my personal values?
Is agreeing with this undermining the work and research I have already done up to this point?
Does agreeing to this do more harm or more good?
2. YOU APOLOGISE TOO MUCH
I talk about weak language at work—a lot. Why? Because we recognize it in ourselves too often.
Apologies are fine when you’re actually sorry—or when you have something legitimate to apologise for. But, again, ask yourself a question. Are you undermining yourself by constantly apologising? We tend to use apologies to smooth over awkward events and to make room for others to be comfortable.
Try to avoid saying the words I’m sorry for a week and see what happens.
3. YOU ALWAYS HAVE SOMEONE DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR WORK
This is something people pleasers do in order to get feedback and to make sure their work is up to snuff. Like a lot of “pleaser” behavior, this isn’t always a bad thing. Generally speaking, feedback is great and we should seek it out where we can.
However, constantly asking for feedback, approval, or credit can actually diminish the quality of your work—and it can diminish how others view you. Rather than constantly asking for feedback, find new confidence in your work. If you’re looking for a second pair of eyes for edits or mistakes, create a checklist of yourself. Run your own work quality checks through a battery of filters. Is everything spelled correctly? Are the dates all correct?
Asking for help is good. However, you also need to enlist the self-confidence in your own work rather than relying on approval from others at every turn.
4. YOU ARE CONSTANTLY BURDENED BY OTHER PEOPLE’S FEELINGS
Do you find yourself constantly distracted by your boss’ moods? Do you feel personally attacked if your coworker wears her headphones for an entire day?
People pleasers commonly find themselves involved in other people’s feelings. Think of it as an empathy overload. Empathy is crucial in the workplace, but there is a line where empathy can actually manifest as nosiness in disguise. Recognise when those around you are in need of a soothing word or a walk around the block. However, also recognise that when people need a few minutes of solitude or when they are having a personally bad day, they might want to be left alone—and it has nothing to do with you.
Know when your attention to other people’s feelings is an intrusion on your work and your own well-being.
5. YOU RARELY ACCEPT CREDIT OR PRAISE
Raise your hand if you’ve ever shaken off praise by saying something like, “Well, the whole team helped, so…”
Accept your praise when it’s due, Take a bath in it. Treat yourself to a nice lunch. It’s that simple. Next time praise comes your way, recognise if you’re about to explain it away. Instead, try a simple thank you. Enjoy the victory—you’ve earned it.
6. YOU TAKE BLAME WHEN IT’S NOT YOURS
Does confrontation make you uneasy? Does dischord send your day into chaos? This behavior is a little extreme, but listen up. If you find yourself taking the blame for someone else’s mistake—maybe in the interest of settling a dispute or calming things down—you are probably a people pleaser.
if you’re not going to accept credit or praise for work well-done, then do not accept blame for missteps by others. While you feel like you are diffusing a situation in the moment, you are actually adding to long-term problems. When teams are unable to find the true root cause of a problem, it will likely reoccur and have bigger repercussions.
Next time there is unrest in a meeting or between members of your team, let the real problem come to light.
7. YOU ACT LIKE THE PERSON AROUND YOU
Everyone has a little bit of a different personality for different environments. For example, when you’re out for dinner on a Saturday night with your three closest girlfriends, your demeanor is going to be slightly different from your Monday morning vibes.
The language you use with your partner or your mom will be different than the language you use with your manager or a client. Everybody wears different hats throughout their entire lives. However, if you find yourself constantly shapeshifting at work, you might be a people pleaser.
This is not a matter of using professional language with one person and more casual parlance with another. This is when you find your views and outlooks changing when speaking to one person or another. This type of behavior can have especially damaging consequences when you ally yourself with someone who is unhappy or negative in the workplace. If you recognize this type of behavior in yourself, conduct an honest check-in. Are you doing and saying the things you really believe? Is this relationship capable of hurting your career in the long-run?
8. YOU ALWAYS SAY YES
You might be a chronic people-pleaser if you often find yourself in the office, after hours, doing work that isn’t technically yours. Once you become known as the office people pleaser, you will become a sitting duck—an easy target.
If you work with people—especially someone who is slightly senior to you—you might find work being passed on to you. Do certain colleagues seek you out and overload you with work? Since you don’t want to say no, you do it, again and again. Thus begins a vicious cycle.
Help out when you’re needed. All hands on deck are necessary in any work environment at any given moment. However, if you start to notice that another coworker is constantly pushing work onto you and leaving the office early, you need to put your foot down with a firm NO.
9. YOU NEED EVERYONE TO LIKE YOU (EVEN THE PEOPLE YOU DON’T LIKE)
When you walk into the office, do you say hello to everyone? Do you notice that Karen from accounting never responds in kind? She never even sends a smile your way—and this drives you up the wall. Why doesn’t she like me?
But, wait a second, you don’t even really work with Karen in accounting. In fact, whenever you have accounting needs, you work with Sheila. In fact, you don’t even really like Karen to begin with!
Here’s the thing. it’s great to get along with everyone in the workplace, but maybe you aren’t Karen’s cup of tea—and vice-versa. As long as it doesn’t affect the quality of your work—or Karen’s work—who cares? Don’t get caught up in who may or may not like you. More often than not, our coworker has no strong feelings about you, to begin with. Focus on your work and the harmony of your direct team. Don’t get caught up in other noise.
10. YOU AVOID ANY AND ALL CONFLICT
Are people raising their voices in the conference room? Is your coworker getting blamed for something you know is not her fault? What do you do?
People pleasers tend to avoid any and all conflict. Nobody really loves conflict, but when you’re actively avoiding conflict, it can do more harm than good. The next time there is conflict, instead of sticking to the sidelines, consider whether or not you have information or a point of view that could lead to a resolution.
In short, avoiding conflict is not always a good thing—especially when you might hold the very key to a solution.
If you struggle with a ton of people-pleasing behavior, it will help to work on building mental strength to let go of it. Remember that people-pleasing behavior comes from an intrinsically good place. However, over time, it can damage your professional and personal relationships.
If you’d like to discuss how you can change your people pleaser mindset then book a call with me at www.speakwithjo.com and I’ll share a plan of how you can start to overcome it.
P.S. If you still haven’t watched my webinar ‘The 4 Steps To Get More Impact and Recognition At Work – Without Being Bossy Or Pushy’ then don’t miss out just click here
You might be surprised to hear that in a survey of professional workers only 43% said they were satisfied and happy at work.
I find those figures quite shocking.
From my research and work with thousands of women I’ve found the key thing that makes people negative about their career is the constant chasing for greater achievement and reward.
The mistaken belief that when you’ve reached success and you’re recognised for it you will be happy. This leads to stress, anxiety, a fear of failure and low self-worth, and not surprisingly unhappiness in your career.
This self-sabotaging behaviour has 4 key mindsets behind it, which are:
A need for power, money or status
It’s understandable to associate career success with these 3 elements, society tells us that. However if you also define yourself and your worth by these you are heading for a never ending crusade that will lead to disappointment.
My Tip: Gain clarity on what career success actually means to you. Is it to always be challenged and stretched, or to reach a seniority where you have influence or perhaps to have respect and add value whilst ensuring a flexible balance around your family? Spend some time exploring this to find out what success is for you and maybe you’re there already?
Do you have a real fear of making a mistake and give yourself unrealistic expectations? This need to be perfect isn’t the positive motivator that many women think it is. It’s actually a trap that stops you being productive, creative and inspirational.
My Tip: Change your focus from a fear of not being perfect to a drive for excellence. Excellence is being outstanding or extremely good, and still allows for mistakes. It means you are on a learning journey of development and innovation to achieve it.
3. Window Dressing
By this I mean showing the world your flawless self, how everything is wonderful and your life is just great (think Facebook). You may not want to share all your problems at work but hiding behind your invulnerable mask will stop people trusting and building rapport with you.
My Tip: Develop self-awareness of your perceived flaws and recognise that by showing them sometimes your vulnerability and authenticity will make you far more inspiring and trustworthy. None of these traits are fatal flaws and accepting they make up the whole you is a first step.
4. People Pleasing
This is the consequence of allowing other people’s opinions to have greater influence than your own. You are allowing your perceived status and success to be determined by others rather than your own self-acceptance. Society gets to decide your self-worth rather than you and that can lead to bad decisions such as keeping quiet about harassment or spending too many hours at work.
My Tip: This comes back to self-awareness and working out what is actually important to you. Is it essential your boss thinks you’re the best or that you’re liked by everyone at work? What would really make you happy?
If you recognise yourself in any of these mindsets and know that you self-sabotage then you will find my latest free training webinar very helpful. Just click the link below
Behind any person’s lack of confidence is a FEAR of some form. A fear that wants to keep you small and to stop you stepping out of your comfort zone.
It could be a fear of failure, a fear of being judged or a fear of losing control. Whatever your fear is it wants you to stay stuck. It wants you to think about all of your mistakes and the skills you don’t think you have. So it can stop your confidence from growing.
The antidote to fear is action. Movement. Once you move forward, proceed, engage, fear loses its grip on you. It tries really hard to hold on, grasping and clutching at you as you start to shift, making you scared and uncomfortable.
You need the courage to take that step.
Courage moves you out of a paralysed fear state, into action. And it’s action that builds your confidence more than anything else.
We build our confidence by taking small steps consistently that move us toward the best version of ourselves. That inch us closer to what we know to be true, not what we worry others will think. Steps that help us move into our power. And we need the courage to get ourselves into gear. Here are some steps you can take to support your confidence journey.
What are the situations that suck the confidence right out of you?
Is it speaking up in a meeting filled with senior managers?
Perhaps it’s giving a presentation in front of your boss, or your boss’s boss. Maybe it’s being unprepared in a project review. Not having all the facts on hand for a client. For some women, they are full of confidence at work, but when they drop their kid off at the school gate the other mums are enough to drain all of their confidence and make them feel unsure of themselves.
It can be anything, but most of us have a few main triggers that impact us more than anything else. Work out what they are, and how to counter them. Do you lack confidence giving a presentation?
Work with someone to improve your mindset and skills. Being unprepared? Schedule time in advance so you have space to get up to speed. Afraid of speaking in front of senior managers? Work out what sits under that fear so you can address it. Triggers are small things that cause major havoc. Start here. You may need to tap into your courage to look at what’s really going on.
Think about your life or career for a moment
If there was one thing you really wanted to do, what would it be? If you knew you could take one courageous step toward that goal, what would your next right action be?
Write out a list of 10 small steps, actions that will move you forward and commit to taking one small courageous step. Taking an action is enough to build our confidence and propel us forward.
It’s what we do every day, not what we do sometimes, that matters and changes our lives. Get to really know yourself, your triggers and what lifts you up. Remember that it’s the small things done with courage and consistently, that will make all the difference.
What small step to kill your fear will you take today?
If that small step is to get support then do book a Career Breakthrough Call with me today at www.speakwithjo.com . We’ll get real clarity on your fears and I’ll share a personalised plan with you to take action.