Four Ways to Speak Up and Contribute in Your Organization

Q & A with Michelle McCullough

Sheryl Sandberg, author of the book Lean In, writes that we should stop telling little girls they’re bossy, and start telling little girls that they have leadership skills. As these women enter the workplace, communicating, speaking up and feeling part of the conversation can be a challenge, without being labeled as “bossy”.

I did a Q&A to answer some of these questions about empowering women

Question: What’s your first recommendation for women to find their voice in an organization?

Michelle: Contribute in meetings.  Speak up when you agree.  Provide additional ideas when you disagree.  Don’t just leave the comments for the vocal few.  Even introverts need to find their voice  and contribute on their teams, and in their organizations.  Stand up for people, champion projects and share your voice.

Question: When there are problems on their organization or team, how can they speak up and contribute without sounding bossy?

Michelle: Find and share solutions more than complaints.  One of the ways you can add the most value to your team and organization is to provide solutions without complaining.  This is great tip for men and women.  Sometimes in an effort to encourage change we share all the things that aren’t working, but it’s hard for management to respond because it can be perceived as having a bad attitude.  Instead, provide and offer solutions and be creative when it comes different ways to address issues.  Managers the trait they wish every employee had was the ability to problem solve without complaining.

Question: What if a “problem” escalates into a disagreement, or if you feel like you’re not quite sure how to respond?

Michelle: One of the best ways to find your voice is to know what to say AND when to say it.  When things get heated, give yourself permission to table the conversation and revisit it when emotions cool down.  Also, practice the phrase “It seems like you’ve had time to think about this, could you give me a day to think through my thoughts and I can come back to you with some ways we can resolve this issue” or “I may need a day or two to think through this situation, could we revisit this conversation on Friday after I’ve given it some careful thought?”  Sometimes you need time to consider the right response so you don’t say things you don’t mean.

Question: What if someone takes your idea after you have already shared it?

Michelle: This is the MOST COMMON complaint we hear at our events.  Women will share an idea in a meeting and then later in the meeting or another day someone will share the SAME idea and claim it as theirs.  That can be discouraging, and if you’re gutsy, be willing to stand up for your idea.  However, “Thank you for validating my suggestion” sounds better than “Hey, that was my idea!”  In the moment, that can be tricky to pull off without attitude.  If this seems to be happening to you frequently, practice a validation statement before you go into your next meeting.  Also, remember that passion is okay.  If your emotion feels competitive or combative you may be criticized for your emotions.  Lead with passion and a commitment for the best interest in the team and organization, and you may find that this positive approach inspires people to lead with passionate positivity.

We love men and aren’t men bashers, but there is something powerful about a group of women getting together to learn and support each other.  For more information about our annual Power Women event for female professionals, check out:
www.powerwomenlead.com

 

Three Ways to Find and Share Your Voice in Your Organization

KSL Browser 5.0

This segment on KSL Browser 5.0 is for all the women professionals who don’t feel “heard” in their organizations. In this few minutes, I share three things you can do to speak up and make a difference at your place of business.

If you want to learn more about our High performance leadership event for women, go to http://www.PowerWomenLead.com

 

Living The Mompreneur Life Without Guilt

There is a fun YouTube series that provides fun,honest, inspiring kitchen table style chats about real life for real moms called The Momoir Series.  It will have tips, ideas, question expectations and give voice to modern mom life.  With it’s interview style, each chat takes on a certain topic or notion, and of course, includes side notes and funny stuff because that’s mom-life for real.  And guess what?  Yours truly is featured in this week’s video!  We take a good look at “failure” and how to embrace it as a teacher and even a blessing!
 

Check it out and leave a comment & a like!  I would love to know what you think!  I know Lynn Bodnar (creator of the Momoir Series) would also appreciate your feedback!!

Power Women Summit 2019

High Performance and Leadership Training for Women

I love being part of this group that supports professional women!
Our flagship offering is a one day event called Power Women Summit
Learn more about the event by watching the video.
EARLY BIRD discount of $50 off each ticket is available through April 15th by using code EARLYBIRD here: http://www.powerwomenlead.com

5 Tips to Living in Priority in Life and Business

Balance ReDefined Podcast With Connie Sokol

Honored to be interviewed by Connie Sokol on her podcast Balance ReDefined.
In it I share about how my priorities and businesses have shifted from the time I had young kids to now with kids in school full time.
Click here to listen: 5 Tips to a Better Work/Life Balance 
Check out the You Got This Women’s conference that is happening in March!
Learn more and get your tickets here: www.yougotthiswomen.com

Rescuing Your New Years Goals

Q&A with Michelle

Did you set a New Years Resolution this year? 45% of Americans set New Years Resolutions and of those only 8% actually follow through to completion. If you started strong, but your motivation is waning, today we’re going to talk about ways you can rescue your goals if you have fallen off the wagon.

In this Q&A segment I will share with you these four tips for rescuing your goals if you’ve already “fallen off the wagon”
1. Stop the Shame
2. Revisit your Why
3. Consider Goal Graduation
4. Focus on Habits Not Results

Question: Is there hope if we’ve already fallen off the wagon?

Michelle: Absolutely! One of the mindsets that holds us back from success is to believe there is only one time of year to succeed at change. And we don’t just do this for New Year’s Resolutions. We say, I’ll try again on Monday, or next month. But even deeper than that, because we consistently break our goals, we wait for another time to succeed. AND when we beat ourselves up for breaking a diet, or spending when we shouldn’t or whatever, we start the shame cycle and that self talk doesn’t make you want to try anymore. Believe you can and believe it’s worth it but stop telling yourself you’re a failure. THAT won’t help you reach any goals.

Question: What if the motivation just isn’t there? How do you get to the gym, or spend less, or apply for a better job?

Michelle: Revisit your motivation and make sure WHY you want the goal is solid. Are you trying to get organized because everyones sharing you Marie Kondo after pictures on Social Media? Or do you feel the need to be better organized in your life because you’re spending so much time trying to find “lost” things? Your why has to be rooted in what YOU want, not what others want. One year I had friends who were trying to motivate me to run a half marathon, but until I was willing to do it for me, I couldn’t commit or even be motivated to complete the training schedule.

Question: Do you think it’s more motivating to go for a BIG goal or a small goal?

Michelle: Depends, some people are more motivated by big hairy audacious goals and that helps them hit the pavement and work hard. However, most of us, especially if you have let goals go in the past, you may want to consider Goal Graduation. For example, let’s say you want to lose 50 pounds, some people would be motivated by that goal, but others need to start with something small like losing 10% of your body weight or even just losing 5 pounds so that they can feel success and stay motivated. BIG goals CAN be fun, but its hard to stay motivated if you don’t hit milestones over time.

Question: What final tip do you have for someone who isn’t ready to give up on their goal?

Michelle: Resolutions are great, but plans are better. My best recommendation for progress and achievement is to focus on habits not results. If you’re trying to lose weight and you get on the scale once a week and it doesn’t move, then it can be hard to continue the good habits when the results aren’t there. Instead focus on the daily, weekly, and monthly ACTIONS you need to take and then you can celebrate every night that you went to the gym or ate 5 servings of fruits and veggies, and you know that you body is getting healthy, even if the scale doesn’t reflect your efforts. Success is NOT a destination, its a practice.

Stress Do’s and Don’ts

Question and Answer with Michelle Mcculllough

 

 

 

 

A study done by the American Psychological Association found that 48% of respondents noted that they feel like their stress has increased over the last five years. With the everyday roles and responsibilities on our plates, it’s no wonder we’re stressed and overwhelmed.  But too much stress can lead to sickness, burnout and even depression and anxiety. The blog today features One DON’Ts and Three DO’s to help destress when things get tough.

Let’s dive in, when you’re stressed, what’s on your Don’t List?
Michelle: Number one hopefully happens before you get stressed.  Don’t Over-Schedule Yourself. Some of our stress is self Imposed, make sure you give time in your schedule for relaxation, sleep, etc.

Now some of that sounds easier said than done. Let’s talk about what is on the DO list to help other and yourself in stressful times
One of the Do’s is to focus on the present.  There may be a lot of challenges in the future, but the present is all that is in our control, we need to spend more time focusing on what we can control and let the future come what may.  The old adage that worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere, is true.  Spend your time thinking about the things in your control.

Let’s go to a question to get the next do.

Question: Many of our viewers have taxing jobs and a lot of personal responsibilities what would you recommend they do first?  Ask for help.  I think you’re right, the demands we have on our lives AND the worry combined are a lot so we need to not go it alone.  Whether you’re a CEO or a stay at home parent we all need help with our responsibilities.  So whether it’s hiring good help or trading with friends – not only does it lift a burden, but it helps us remember that we’re not alone.  Community and solidarity are great antidotes to stress.

The final tip I have for you to de-stress is to create a “Play List”.  In my book The Make It Happen Blueprint, one of the ways we tackle the feeling of being overwhelmed is through things that bring us joy.  It can be making time for a hobby, reading a good book, or even learning something new. I recommend to corporate clients and high performance individuals to make sure they do something every day that takes their mind off the stress and also helps them develop personally with things they enjoy.

Empowering Women in the Work Place

KSL Segment 5.0

 

 

Corporate cultures are adjusting to the unique needs of women in their workforce.  More companies are creating flexible time off polices and maternity leave programs. As a result, women are more likely to stay longer at organizations with a culture that’s flexible to the demands of women who wear many hats.  Now, organizations are looking to find ways to train, empower, develop and mentor women to be better prepared for advancement opportunities.

The blog today is all about four ways companies can empower and develop the women in their organizations.

Let’s start with the why. Why should an organization create initiatives that foster personal development for women?
Advanced education and on the job training can help employees learn important skills that will help them excel in their individual jobs, but if there isn’t a foundation of clarity, high performance and productivity then advancement and job development is actually stifled.  A few months ago google released an article sharing that they’ve studied the trends, habits and effects of their personal development programs and discovered that soft skills were actually more valuable than job specific training.

Organizations do have very limited budgets. I have a couple suggestions on how they can still get started on this initiative.  Two ideas here, first, allow 2 hours a week paid for personal development time.  This can be spent in reading books (chosen or assigned by the organization), watching topic specific videos, etc.  The second idea is to develop internal mentoring programs.  Pair up senior level leadership with employees you want to develop for advancement and allow an hour a week for in person meetings to set goals, talk through job descriptions, etc.

What about the opposite side of the spectrum. What about the companies that are ready to take it to the next level and allocate budget for personal development. I have two ideas here as well.  First, I recommend developing internal women’s groups.  Many corporations, especially in technology companies have a “Women in Tech” group.  They have budget for monthly lunch and learns where they can bring in outside speakers, discuss books, or even just connect women across various departments.  Women who are part of these groups share a sense of belonging and connection.  They also feel like they have a support group to cheer them on when advancement opportunities come.
For example, 38% of Women in tech jobs leave within 7 years, but THEY KEEP WORKING, but not in tech. They cite “culture and lack of connection” as their reason for leaving.

Second, I recommend carving out budget for outside training programs.  We hear story after story of companies investing in women to get high performance leadership training and then come back and share what they’ve learned with others in the group.  It can be VERY effective and helps to bring in expertise that may not exist in the organization.