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    Women Business Leaders: 4 Ways You Could Be Sabotaging Your Power at Work

    December 16th, 2010

    Insufficient effort, narrow networks, lack of openness and an unwillingness to take risks can keep you from reaching peak effectiveness as a woman business leader.

    Reaching a leadership position in the workplace means learning to gain and effectively use power. There are many factors involved, but according to Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, it’s important to make sure you’re not sabotaging yourself.

    An organizational behavior expert and author, Pfeffer has studied powerful people in a variety of spheres, including business, science and politics. In a BNET article, Pfeffer outlines the ways people sabotage their own power:

    1. Lack of effort: Although there are many elements to any success story, Pfeffer notes that the powerful all have one trait in common: They work hard. If you seek power as a woman business leader, make sure you’re willing to devote the time and effort necessary to succeed.
    2. Narrow networks: It can be tempting to focus on family, friends and favored colleagues. But power requires going outside your comfort zone and forging relationships within a wider network. Widen your circle to gain access to new contacts and information, which will help you gain power.
    3. Fear of privacy loss: High-profile power-brokers are constantly in the spotlight. It can be unnerving – and exhilarating. As a woman business leader, you’ll need to make peace with the fact that greater power levels will result in higher levels of scrutiny.
    4. Fear of failure: No one likes to fail, obviously. But if you are so averse to failure that you’re unwilling to take calculated risks, you are sabotaging your own power. Nearly every success story is prefaced by not-so-successful chapters. You’ll need to learn to take calculated risks to become an effective woman business leader.

    Gaining power in the workplace is an essential component of being an effective woman business leader. By making sure you put in the necessary work, forge strategic ties, have the willingness to face higher levels of scrutiny and the courage to take calculated risks, you can avoid sabotaging your own power at work.

    Read the entire Jeffrey Pfeffer article, Four Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own Power at Work | BNET.


    Women Business Leaders: Use These 4 Steps to Improve Team Communication

    December 15th, 2010

    You can improve team communication by creating a consensus plan, defining communications tools, encouraging participation and leading by example.

    Technology tools open endless opportunities for global collaboration. But it’s important to have a communication plan in place to make sure all team members are on the same page.

    Communication expert Wayne Turmel outlined 4 steps women business leaders can use to improve team communication. Although it’s geared toward virtual teams, there are lessons in the article that can be applied to groups of any type:

    1. Build a communication plan together: Different people process information in different ways, so it’s important to build consensus to maximize the flow of information. A joint discussion can reveal preferences about issues such as email response time, who should be copied on emails, etc. Plus, if your team is consulted in the process of creating the plan, they’ll likely feel a greater sense of ownership and be more apt to follow the guidelines.
    2. Define your communication toolkit: Since there is now an array of communications tools available, including e-mail, videoconferencing and phone calls, find out which tools your team members prefer. Ask about training needs and explore emerging collaboration methods. As a woman business leader, you can coach your team to get the best results.
    3. Monitor adherence to the plan: Once you and your team agree on a plan, make sure everyone sticks to it. If you’ve scheduled conference calls, thank those who attend and follow up with those who miss meetings. Take a look at your team collaboration message board if you’ve established one. Make note of who participates – and ask those who do not to provide their input.
    4. Be a good role model: The most effective way to encourage your team members to adopt the communication plan is to use it yourself. As a woman business leader, you set the tone. When your staff sees that you are consistently using the plan, they’ll know it is a vital part of team operations.

    Read more about this in Wayne Turmel’s recent BNET article

    Summary

    In a fast-paced business environment, communicating with your team can make all the difference. To foster open communication at your company, build a consensus communications plan, define your tools, make sure employees stick to the plan and use the plan yourself to establish credibility. These 4 simple steps can provide a competitive edge for your enterprise.