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7 Ways Women Leaders Can Excel at Being Their Authentic Selves

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Thursday, February 2, 2017
Updated: Thursday, February 2, 2017

7 Ways Women Leaders Can Excel at Being Their Authentic Selves

Originally published by Entrepreneur Magazine
Contributed by Thuy Sindell
Sindell will present Genderless Leadership: Creating Balanced Leaders in Your Organization
March 6, 10:45 a.m.

Register today

As women rise in the ranks they often receive a lot of bad advice to act like somebody besides who they really are. 

Women in leadership positions are often told to behave in ways that are viewed as more masculine to be successful. But it’s not that simple. Because when women act like men, their peers and employees tend to think that one thing -- that they’re bossy.

In fact, research conducted by our company, Skyline Group International, Inc., found a significantly lower perception of effectiveness when women express the masculine behavior in 57 percent of the 28 leadership competencies studied. What’s more, women were the toughest critics of female leaders. The more detailed, directive and structured women are, the more negatively other women view them.

So, what are women in leadership positions to do? How can they be effective leaders without creating the perception that they are trying too hard and are seen as “bossy”? Here’s a look at seven characteristics employees see as bossy in female leaders and alternative ways for women to be effective:

1. Coaching and mentoring.

The bossy way: Creating a development plan for employees may seem like the most direct way to coach employees, but our research shows that professionals see this as bossy among women in leadership positions.

The better way: Instead of laying out exactly what employees need to work on and setting a specific plan for them to do it, include them in the conversation. Employees react better to women in leadership who approach development through exploration and challenging assumptions.

In other words, don’t just tell employees what they need to do and how to do it. Bring them into the conversation about what they think they need to work on and why. Ask them about their long-term goals, the skills they want to learn and improve and then set a plan together.

2. Executive presence.

The bossy way: Women in leadership are aware that the deck is stacked against them -- they have to work harder and do more to be seen as effective. So to compensate, they adopt an overly-formal presence and they command respect. But this persona doesn’t sit well with employees.

The better way: Women in leadership should be themselves with employees and present themselves with poise and authenticity. Leaders can still be professional without being cold and distant. Earn the respect of employees by being dependable, trustworthy, and honest.

3. Entrepreneurship.

The bossy way: Men in leadership tend to take big risks to hopefully win big. But women in leadership who follow this risk and reward model are seen as less effective.

The better way: Instead of charging forward with the riskiest option, take the time to plan out different scenarios. Don’t bet it all for a big reward. Choose a plan with multiple chances for success.

4. Service.

The bossy way: Helping employees is a huge part of effective leadership. But women in leadership who help their team just to meet an immediate goal are viewed as bossy, not helpful. Employees think the leader is stepping in to put out a fire and micromanage the situation rather than being genuinely helpful.

The better way: Stepping in to help employees meet a deadline or win over clients is a good thing, but leaders should help employees because it’s the right thing for the organization as a whole -- not just because it will get the team through the day.           

Think about long-term goals and help employees to achieve them. Assist employees in developing their overall skills, not just finishing project and checking off to-do lists. Improving the skills of employees helps to advance the organization and prepares them to solve future problems.

5. Planning and organizing.

The bossy way: When making decisions, taking an analytical approach may seem like the best option. Men in leadership tend to take this approach, making many small decisions to yield a larger plan. But women in leadership who do the same are seen as less effective and bossy.

The better way: Instead of dictating a firm plan, be more flexible in the planning process. Involve everyone in the process and consider new ideas before finalizing the plan. Be open to changing plans if new information and feedback are received.

6. Monitoring performance.

The bossy way: More leaders are realizing that employees need feedback more regularly than a yearly performance review, but using systems like dashboards to check on employee progress every day is overkill.

The better way: While numbers and details are important, performance reviews shouldn’t be a competition and leaders, especially women in leadership, shouldn’t put constant pressure on employees.

Instead of looking over employees’ shoulders, check in with them on a regular basis, looking at their progress in the context of the big picture. Are they moving toward end-state goals and milestones? What else can they do to improve or progress faster? 

7. Thoroughness.

The bossy way: While leaders should set high expectations for employees, when women in leadership focus on getting things right the first time, employees don’t take it well.

The better way: Don’t focus on what employees get wrong -- focus on how to help them improve. Instead of optimizing work processes to eliminate mistakes, optimize them for continuous improvement. When employees make mistakes, use it as a teaching moment and explain what they can do better next time.

Discover more...










Tags:  HR West 2017  Leadership  Leadership Qualities  Leadership Strategy  Women Entrepreneurs  Women Leaders 

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How a Vision Statement Shapes an Engaging Customer and Employee Experience

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Contributed by Dianna Wilusz, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, CEO, The Pendolino Group
Presenting: Leveraging Core Values to Accelerate Your Business Strategy
Wednesday, March 8th 9a.m.  
Register today

One Photograph = One Powerful Business Future:

Do I really need a vision statement for my business?


Absolutely! A vision statement is essential to the success and sustainability of your company: this vital component combines physical, emotional and logistical elements to give your business shape and direction towards attaining future achievements.

“When initially describing someone as a “great business leader,” the knee-jerk reaction is often to cite something about his or her strategic ability or vision. We often hear stories of exalted CEOs and their strategic prowess. The downfall of many a failed CEO has also been attributed to his or her lack of vision.” Tony Mayo, Harvard Business Review

“beginning with the end,” a vision statement at once guides the strategic planning process; it also inspires employees and clients alike to mindfully orient themselves with the long term goals of your business.

The most successful organizations and companies rely on their vision statements to direct their work:

“Our Vision is to be Earth's most customer centric company, to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” (


"PepsiCo's responsibility is to continually improve all aspects of the world in which we operate - environment, social, economic - creating a better tomorrow than today. Our vision is put into action through programs and a focus on environmental stewardship, activities to benefit society, and a commitment to build shareholder value by making PepsiCo a truly sustainable company."
(Pepsi Co.)


Similar to these Fortune 500 companies, The Pendolino Group’s vision statement draws on concise, inspirational language to create a vision of exceptional client and employee experiences:

“We exist to create the world's best client-partner relationships to enable the dynamic exchange of knowledge, ideas, and leadership wisdom.”

How do I efficiently create my Vision Statement?

Crafting your vision statement is as simple as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Reflect on the origins of your business: what do you exist to do?

  2. Now ask yourself: for what purpose? Who–or what–benefits from your business's existence?

  3. Use Guided Inquiry to flesh out these two fundamental questions!
    Remember, developing this statement is an
    iterative process so do not hesitate to ask yourself these questions 8-10 times until you are completely satisfied with your ideas. With Guided Inquiry, quantity is quality!

By repeatedly asking yourself the enduring purpose of your business, you will produce an abundance of more dynamic, complex elements of your vision.  You now have the ability to continuously refine the aspects of your vision until you have crafted a succinct, inspirational photograph of your business’s future.

Begin with the end in mind–why?

The vision statement of your business inspires focus and clarity amongst employees through underscoring the long term impacts that your work accomplishes. This piece is integral in highlighting how the existence of a business extends beyond the short term, tangible outcomes of its production, inspiring its employees to work with confidence knowing that their dedication and hard work improves their communities on a macro level.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” (Plato)

The vision statement embodies how the whole (i.e. your business) is greater than the sum of its parts (i.e. the various roles of your employees) when the sum of its parts is oriented towards a common goal. The whole of your business will achieve success and sustainability through a unified, inspirational vision of the future.

Beginning with the end in mind promotes a collective commitment to that end goal.

Want to learn how to harness the power of the vision statement to ensure your business’ success?
Call us at (888) 726-1414 or send us an email at for more information about our One Page Strategic Plan

Tags:  business sustainability  Dianna Wilusz  HR leadership  HR Management  HR West 2017  strategic planning  vision statement 

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All the Way to Wellness: Filling in the Gaps

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Thursday, January 26, 2017
Updated: Thursday, January 26, 2017
Contributed by Janice Litvinaward-winning keynote and motivational speaker, fitness expert, wellness speaker and workshop leader and writer.  
 All the Way to Wellness: Filling in the Gaps


March, 6  2017 10:45a.m.


As the corporate wellness industry comes of age several innovations are taking place.

Workplace wellness no longer simply means offering generic fitness challenges and nutrition classes, with some mindful meditation mixed in.

These programs are garnering an engagement rate of about 40%.

Workplace wellness has morphed into its own niche called Well-Being, with the notion that each and every
who works for a company has a variety of wellness needs, not simply nutrition and fitness:

  1. Maybe they are stressed about finances.
  2. Maybe they are having trouble with a co-worker or boss.
  3. Maybe they've lost their passion for the job they've been doing for five years. 
  4. Maybe they have a new manger who isn't really savvy about handling difficult situations. 
  5. Maybe they are overweight and are pre-diabetic, causing them to miss work.

Whatever the case may be, in order for a person to be productive, they have to be healthy and happy. And in order for them to be healthy and happy, they have to be "well."

And in order to get them well, they have to be engaged in wellness. Their boss has to be engaged in wellness, and upper management has to be engaged in wellness too.

So wellness has taken on a whole new meaning, a whole new shape and a whole new purpose: the whole person.  Hence, the cultural shift from wellness to well-being.

Step 1.  Create a culture of wellness.  Creating a culture of wellness takes patience, planning and support from the top. 

Note: The C-suite must also be on board for this culture shift to happen!

Step 2.  Customize the offering. It is not enough to offer generic nutrition education with a one-size-fits-all weight loss program. 
When people are trying to make major life changes, like the way they eat, they need support, especially at the beginning. 
Furthermore, the programs have to be innovative and fun.

Step 3. The inspiration for change does not come about from a simple rewards program! That is not to say that rewards programs don't have a place in the puzzle.
Rewards programs do work, but these programs simply get people in the door. Motivation has to become intrinsic for the changes to stick. 

I will be discussing the latest wellness trends at HR West 17, March 6th - 8th at the Oakland Convention Center!
Learn how to get buy-in from the top and then how to strategize an engaging well-being program on Monday, March 6th at 10:45 am at my breakout entitled, "All the Way to Wellness: Filling in the Gaps." 

Tags:  employee health and wellness  Employee retention  employee wellness  healthcare expenditures  HR West 2017  Janice Litvin  workplace wellness 

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Do you know how to bring out the best in others?

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2017

By Carolyn Godfrey, President of Evolve Consulting
Presenting Connect, Then Lead
March 8th 12:05p.m.

 Register Today


Mentoring is on the Rise

Successful companies, large and small, use mentoring to tackle complex human resource challenges, such as increasing employee retention, creating new leaders and improving workforce productivity. Corporate mentoring is on the rise: 71% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs to their employees.

Mentoring is most often defined as a professional relationship where an experienced person (the mentor) supports another less experienced person (the mentee) in developing specific skills and knowledge that enhances the person’s professional and personal growth.

A Tribute to a Special Mentor

I am lucky to have had many brilliant mentors throughout my career. When I founded Evolve Consulting fourteen years ago, I was fortunate to have worked with Angeles Arrien, a gifted teacher and mentor. Sadly, she died a few months ago at a mere 74 years of age. She mentored me on my personal leadership for seven years.

I could always rely on her to acknowledge my strengths and tell me the truth about my weaknesses.

My personal leadership development was focused on what she called “weak heartedness,” specifically not allowing the fears of other’s opinions prevent me from speaking
my truth. She quickly got to the heart of every problem. Although often hard to hear, she had a disarming way of speaking her truth yet not softening the message.

I am grateful to her mentoring and role modeling as it has paid off in all aspects of my life, especially in my work as an executive coach. Today, when I am working with leaders
I often hear her words coming through me as part of her legacy.

Bringing out the Best in Others

The timeless wisdom of Angeles Arrien supported the personal and collective leadership development of many people. Among her many gifts, she was able to bring out the
best in others through the power of positive sponsorship. Cultivating positive sponsorship is important for a mentor, leader, manager, coach or even parent.

Four traits for expressing positive sponsorship are:

  1. The compassion to express genuine understanding, concern, patience and tolerance for others.
  2. The strength to deal with problems in effective ways, to give appropriate and honest feedback when necessary, maintain boundaries and make requests.
  3. The quality of playfulness allows learning to be easier and more enjoyable. By looking at the humor of our situations and using a lighter touch we can expand
    beyond our limitations.
  4. Being centered in order to stay balanced, flexible and open.

No matter what stage you are in your career, most likely you have received some mentoring either formally or informally from someone.

Who would you like to thank for supporting your growth? How did their support change you or your life? Where is your opportunity to be a mentor?

Meet up with Carolyn Godfrey at HR West 2017!

    Tags:  Carolyn Godfrey  HR Management  HR West 2017  leadership  mentoring  Mentorship 

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    The Next Big Wave of Culture is Right Now

    Posted By Editor, Laurie, Wednesday, January 18, 2017
    Updated: Wednesday, January 18, 2017
    Contributed by Dianna Wilusz, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, CEO, The Pendolino Group
    Presenting: Leveraging Core Values to Accelerate Your Business Strategy
    Wednesday, March 8th 9a.m.

    Register today

    The Next Big Wave of Culture is Right Now: 
    Look to Your Vision When Making Your Next HireLeadership_Training_Interim HR_Recruiting_Interview_Selection_Barbara Ekstein.jpg

    Did you know that first time employees, those hired fresh out of college, and those returning to the workforce from either a stint of entrepreneurialism or from taking time-off, mid-career to volunteer, “retire”, or to reassess their career objectives - are often the best employees that your company will ever hire according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

    Why is that? The reason is actually quite simple: experience, innovation, and core motivation.

    In the WSJ article, Mr. Giandrea shared that many people [returning to work] are interested in the “non-monetary benefits of continued employment,” including “mental stimulation and continued social networks.”  He added, “I think it’s the case that many people like their jobs. We think people are revealing what they prefer through their actions.”  

    Note that these are the same hallmarks of people who are entering the job market for the first time as well - they too are seeking: “mental stimulation, continued social 
    networks, and revealing what they prefer through their actions.”

    This opens up an excellent opportunity to realign your recruiting practice with your Vision and break away from the reasonableness of the status quo. An opportunity to intentionally target hiring the unemployed, experienced and older worker, and new college graduates - intentionally avoiding the most heavily recruited group of “25-40 somethings.”

    Concentrating your hiring practices toward the unemployed, experienced and older worker, and the new college graduate/intern, is counter to what most recruiters will tell us. Rather they often suggest that hiring direct from your competitors and concentrating your recruiting search on those people who are currently employed, mid-careered, and
    with little/no gaps in their employment history, is the way to go. But, that stands to reason since recruiting from a candidate pool of actively employed is the
    life-blood of the recruiting profession… and let’s be honest… it’s much easier to source candidates that are actively employed.

    While there is nothing wrong with that approach per se, intentionally (or unintentionally) practicing a hiring bias toward those already “actively employed” can have a direct negative impact on the quality of your culture and therefore the ultimate success of your business to achieve your Vision.

    In addition, by throwing your hiring process into the frenzy with your competitors, you inadvertently set yourself, and your company, up for what we call the “scarcity bias."

    This is the same bias that marketeers count on through the use of last minute, end-of-season sales. You are led to believe that the talent simply doesn’t exist… or is scarce. Hence, you are biased to make the hire fast - rather than patiently plan and wait for the right hire.

    How is it that managers and HR have been led so far astray by the conventional wisdom so as to put their business and their teams at risk?  More importantly, now that you
    know otherwise, how can you apply your refreshed knowledge about the advantages to hiring the unemployed, the older worker, and the new college graduate/intern?

    And, what is the first step that you should take to succeed in applying a methodical Contrarian Recruiting Practice (CRP)?

    “Harvard Business Review (HBR) suggested that 85 percent of hiring managers and human resource managers
    are more understanding of employment gaps now than they were pre-recession.”

    Here are the top four non-technical skills [SOURCE: Vanto Group] to look for when practicing the contrarian hiring philosophy to positively shape your company culture, and
    align your team to achieve your Vision and deliver rapid and inspiring results.

     The top four skills of the successful (and powerful) people that you’ll want on your team:

    They Understand (and Live) Integrity

    • Integrity at its most fundamental level, is doing what you said you would do, when you said you would do it. But, that is just where it starts...

    • Integrity also includes cleaning up the messes you have made by not doing what you said, by breaking your promises, and by not being 
      responsible for your actions.

    • Successful people know that to maintain integrity requires discipline. And, discipline is a condition of self control, rigor and maintaining order.

    They Thrive on the Power of Relationships

    • Successful people in business (and in life), know that people become resources for your life.

    • You know that people may be the coaches for your success… and, relationships are the vehicle to make this happen.

    • Powerful people create powerful alliances with others; powerful people (those who live up to their word) have powerful resources, and

    • They allow other people to contribute to creating a shared Vision.

    They Breath the Essence and Sustainability of Existence

    • By existence we not only mean that the Vision exists but, how the Vision exists.

    • Successful people have a Vision, they realize that their Vision lives in the conversations that they have.

    • And, successful people manage their conversations wisely and to ensure that their Vision continues to exist - it never goes out of existence.

    • Keeping your Vision (a possibility) in existence requires having a structure - and this is where you can quickly shape the positive effect of your recruiting practice.

    • Seek candidates that thrive on milestones, a visual display of their work and passion, use tracking tools, timelines, and monitor their progress.
      These are people who know how to keep the game alive in distance, time and form - they have the tools and the commitment to keep the Vision alive in reality.

    • Successful people know that you need to keep the existence of the Vision (the progress of the game to achieve that Vision) up to date with accurate information.

    Lastly, They Leverage the Multiplicative Nature of Enrollment:

    • Powerful people, new grads and experienced older workers, are often at the peak of understanding the multiplicative nature of enrollment.

    • Enrollment is causing new possibilities (a Vision) to become present for another, and understood by the other, such that they are touched moved
      and inspired by that possibility.

    • This is at the heart of engagement and engagement is at the heart of your culture. This is what moves others into action.

    • Seek candidates that are at the peak of understanding the nature of engagement. They are energized by their own Vision… and see the integrative
      nature of their personal Vision with your company Vision.

    Remember you can have any business result you want for your company that you invent as a possibility when you enroll others in your having achieved that Vision.

    Acting intentionally to shift your hiring practice can accelerate the achievement of your Vision. “Hire slow and fire fast” - Commit to your Vision and know that to accomplish
    your Vision may require you to act in unreasonable ways, buck the conventional trends, and have the courage to act in contrarian ways.

    When you seek candidates that are at the peak of these four pillars (Integrity, Relationship, Existence, and Enrollment) you can enjoy the ride as you select powerful people to join you in achieving your business goals!

    For guidance regarding Interim HR, Candidate Selection and Manager Training, or to conduct a thorough review of your HR practices to ensure cultural engagement and strategic alignment, the Pendolino Group is here to support you and your team. Reach out to us at: 1-(888) 726-1414 or to explore more.

    Be sure to catch up with Dianna Wilusz at HR West 2017!


    Tags:  candidate selection  culture  Dianna Wilusz  HR Communication  HR management training  HR West 2017  Pendolino Group 

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