Creative networking

Only curiosity leads to knowledge.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What is one of the most powerful career levers? No, it is not specialist knowledge, nor a solid understanding of the business at hand, nor your qualification (and most certainly not your fourth, fifth or sixth qualification, dear ladies!), nor your diligence, nor your good looks.

In addition to successful self-marketing, the answer is creative and strategic networking. But what does “creative and strategic networking” actually mean? If the term brings to mind people who pull out and distribute their business cards at every opportunity, boring drinks parties, or 3000 Facebook friends, it is easy to understand that you don't really want to engage with the topic.

For, in addition to the “creative and strategic networking” that will be described below, there are also outmoded and unpleasant forms of networking, for ...
Read more

Language rituals

If I've made myself too clear, you must have misunderstood me.

Alan Greenspan

 

Communication is considerably more complex than “simply saying what you mean.” What matters is how we say something and what we mean by it - and this differs from one person to the next. Given that language is a learned social behaviour, how we talk and listen is deeply influenced by cultural experience. However, we often feel that the way we communicate is "natural” and, as a consequence, we tend to evaluate and interpret what others say in our own language.

The American sociolinguist Deborah Tannen investigated how men and women communicate in the workplace and she found considerable cultural differences, which to a large extent stem from gender-specific socialisation. This culture- or gender-specific way of speaking significantly affects how people are perceived in terms of competence and ...
Read more

Monkey Business

Monkeys should be fed or shot!

“Monkey business” is a popular game in hierarchical organisations: the aim of the game is to delegate tasks from the bottom to the top wherever possible. Managers find themselves having to deal with the fact that tasks originally delegated to subordinates end up back on their desks. In isolated cases, this may be because they delegated incorrectly in the first place or asked too much of their subordinates. However, it is often simply part of the monkey business.

In 1974, in what is still one of the most frequently read articles in the Harvard Business Review, Oncken and Wass described this phenomenon and proposed the following mechanism for it.

Managers have three types of time available to them: boss-imposed time, i.e. time used for activities required by their bosses or the employment contract; system-imposed time, which is determined by system requirements; and self-imposed ...
Read more

Let’s talk about soft skills

“Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good.”

Niccolò Machiavelli

Current leadership theory agrees that it is impossible to be a good manager without soft skills. Numerous studies have shown that skills such as team focus, motivation, self-criticism, openness and empathy increase and support employee satisfaction. This is why modern leadership programmes and communication courses provide training on how to perceive verbal and non-verbal subtleties, and teach skills such as meta-communication, active listening and paraphrasing. In addition, at the moment, the most important characteristic of an exemplary manager is authenticity.

There is nothing wrong with this. The problem is that a large group of managers - young people, and women in particular -  are being let down when they attend further training courses of this kind: They find ...
Read more

Imposter Syndrome

"Don't believe everything you think about yourself.”

Byron Katie

If you experience feelings of inadequacy, or believe you have taken too great a risk, or even think that people might find out that you can't actually do what you have been pretending to do for years, you may be suffering from imposter syndrome.

This syndrome is a psychological concept where those affected are unable to accept their accomplishments, are convinced that they have achieved them fraudulently, and fear that they will be found out at some point. Achievements are dismissed as being due to good luck and coincidence; evidence of even the slightest lack of knowledge is seen as proof that the qualifications acquired are undeserved.

Although women and men may be affected to the same extent by this syndrome, it occurs more frequently in women who also tend to manifest it more externally. It has a negative impact ...
Read more

The queen – a powerful role model

“Fall down*Stand up*Straighten crown*Carry on”

 

Women who want to be professionally successful are increasingly being given lists of recommended behaviour and tactics that they need to observe in order to hold their own and assert themselves against the competition. The advice is based on verbal and non-verbal strategies that are considered to be more male (such as taking up space, claiming speaking time, using status symbols, sometimes interrupting others, making and communicating uncomfortable decisions, speaking about one's own success, taking a seat at the top of the table, etc.) - and it is effective!

When women try out this type of behaviour, they are often surprised by just how effective it is. In most cases, there is no need to shine with extensive specialist knowledge or to spend yet more time fine-tuning things. Instead - assuming adequate knowledge and competence - the solution lies in packaging the performance, ...
Read more