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Classics: Personal Brand Characteristics That Hold Back Aspiring Female Leaders: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Jul 11, 2023

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

In this episode, we’re talking personal brand characteristics that hold back aspiring female leaders. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

  • Episode Summary & Player
  • Show Notes
  • Marketing Smarts Summary
  • Transcript

Marketing Smarts: Classics: Personal Brand Characteristics That Hold Back Aspiring Female Leaders

As a leader, your image and reputation are paramount in order to command the respect you need to influence. Personal Brand Characteristics have the potential to lead to behaviors and actions that can undermine and sabotage your brand. Although this applies equally to males and females, there are certain Characteristics that show up more consistently in females that can lead to significant challenges. Join us as we highlight 4 tendencies we see most often that may not be moving you towards your goals of becoming a strong female leader. This episode covers everything from personal branding to sabotaging your brand. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • What personal brand characteristics hold back aspiring female leaders?
  • How does Vigilant Leadership tie to personal branding?
  • What are the best ways to build company values?
  • How do you “play the game?”
  • When do you need to hold people accountable?
  • What do you mean by “take credit in context of your team?”
  • How do you you make the politics in your work environment better?
  • Can you work networking skills into your personal brand?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

  • Classics: Personal Brand Characteristics That Hold Back Aspiring Female Leaders
    • [0:00] Welcome to Marketing Smarts
    • [0:14] Anne Candido, April Martini
    • [0:28] What personal brand characteristics hold back aspiring female leaders?
    • [0:45] ForthRight Women
    • [2:04] Caregiver
    • [4:48] “Vigilant Leadership: The Art of Leading from Afar
    • [5:24] “4 Ways to Build Company Values
    • [6:38] Empathetic
    • [11:52] Fairness Advocate
    • [12:50] Networking
    • [17:06] Humble
    • [20:52] Recap: What personal brand characteristics hold back aspiring female leaders?
    • [21:54] Do you want to stand out in your industry and get more sales? Show you’re different to attract and retain top talent? Build a brand that drives real business results? Grab your Brand Strategy Workbook at:
    • “In the Trenches”
    • [23:01] I know what you are saying about “playing the game,” but sometimes things just aren’t fair and there is nothing I can do about it. What then?
    • [24:42] P&G (Procter & Gamble)
    • [29:14] I am one of those who really struggle to hold people accountable. Can you give me a more specific example of how to be more assertive?
    • [34:15] What do you mean by “take credit in context of your team?”
    • [37:17] I find the politics exhausting in my work environment. Is there any way to make it better?
    • Marketing Smarts Moments
    • [46:49] Recap: What personal brand characteristics hold back aspiring female leaders?

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. Welcome to

April Martini 0:13
Marketing Smarts!

Anne Candido 0:14
I am Anne Candido.

April Martini 0:16
And I am April Martini. And as we look back on the library of episodes in our arsenal, a few episodes have stood out as the ones with the highest numbers, and also application across many of our clients businesses. And the one we’re bringing back to you today is personal brand characteristics that hold back aspiring female leaders. As many of you may or may not know, quite frankly, and I have felt so strongly about focusing on rising female leaders that we’ve created a sub brand to our business called forthright women. caveat here, we’re not trying to alienate all of our male fans out there. But this is in addition to this marketing, smarts podcast. As women, we have certain traits that we simply over index in and sometimes quite frankly, those hold us back on our quest to rise quickly and with intention in our careers. This episode highlights these characteristics to build awareness, but also to assist all of our female listeners and managing them with intention, so that they’re working for all of us on our quest versus against us, which is what we sometimes see happen. And for our male listeners, we’ve just said, We don’t want to alienate you, this episode can actually help you better understand your female counterparts and what makes them tick. We’ve used this episode and everything from coaching sessions with our clients to intimate speaking engagements, and even on a stage of 400 plus. So to say it’s traveled is an understatement. We invite you to listen again or for the first time to learn more or investigate a topic you haven’t experienced before. And a disclaimer, and and I, as you know, are not trained medical professionals. So we’re not giving you that kind of advice here. But we have that 35 years of collective combined experience. So we’re speaking from our insider perspective and that experience.

Anne Candido 1:59
Yes, so let’s jump into personal branding characteristics that hold back female leaders. All right, the first one is caregiver. Now there’s a general expectation on females and actually still by females, and sometimes we can be our, our own worst enemy, to nurture and care for all of those around us, right. It’s just one of those traditional female characteristics that we haven’t quite a ball from yet, despite the fact that us as a society is becoming more progressive and share responsibility, which we do believe is true. But this shows up in two ways for aspiring female leaders, just this caregiver characteristic. One is, those who really exhibit this caregiver characteristic tend to like a boy conflict, right, they just don’t like conflict, or on the other side of the coin, they need to make sure everybody is happy, or that they’re people pleasers in general. And the thing that they miss here is that respectful conflict is actually really, really good. You need that on your team in order to get that thought diversity into it’ll be breaking through that paralyzing politeness that we talked about. So you can get to the best ideas, the best solutions, and get to those the most quickly. But many tend to resort to otter official means of forcing harmony, like with me and April, like just choke on which is the force fun. Like, we just can’t stand that. But that tends to be the the tendency that a lot of female aspiring leaders do when they just don’t feel comfortable when there’s like conflict or there’s there’s dissension, right. The other way that this shows up is an inability to say no. And this is all about putting people’s objectives and goals ahead of your own because they need you. There’s that feeling that caregiver loves to feel needed. And whether it’s at work with your boss, or a co worker, or a member of your team or a client, or at home with your friends, family, other parents, school organizations, you name it, it all kind of comes into play here. And the feeling that we get from that is guilt. Guilt plays very, very strongly here and females seem to be the most susceptible to it. And then what happens is that you tend to overextend your time and energy and you spend yourself really, really, really thin. Okay, now for a female leader to this is further exacerbated by the way to trailblazing and is just so, so true, and we need to recognize that that can be very emotionally and physically exhausting to continue to raise up and and continue to raise everybody up underneath you. So we totally recognize that and that is really starting to build that caregiver, feelings of of being spread very thin and being emotionally and physically exhausted. So the counter trigger here is that we really, really believe that you need to become and practice being a vigilant leader, and we have a podcast on this and we really, really want you to listen to this and really go to the worksheets, because it’s actually going to help you with all the four characteristics we’re going to talk about today. And what it really is going to do is going to help you balance your time energy by helping you empower your team to be more autonomous. And this is going to work and really, really help. Because sometimes, you know, the caregiver attitude also leads you to be a micromanager. It’s like over caring, right, it’s over coddling. And you don’t want to do that, too. So also listen to the episodes, we call four elements of a strong workplace culture, and four ways to create a highly functional corporate agency team, this helps you actually establish a framework for facilitating that respectful debate as well. So you get this full picture of vigilant leadership.

April Martini 5:34
And we just did a lot of plugs there for ourselves. But I think the point we’re making here and the density of this episode is to do a few things. One, it is to draw attention to those personalities that just inherently are, again, who people are, but how to channel them in an appropriate way to really be strong leaders at work and in life, and all those things that Ian just talked about. But then also other resources for things that can help you manage those tendencies when they come up. Because in this one specifically, right, we tend to spread ourselves too thin, and then don’t have the tools to get back out of that, or to even fully understand areas where we could back out. And so I think the point here of us referring you to other tools is, this is a dense episode, it requires a lot of work on the part of those willing to really do it, but we do have the resources to help.

Anne Candido 6:35
Right, I think that’s really, really well said. So our second personal brand characteristic that holds back aspiring female leaders is empathetic. April, you want to take this one.

April Martini 6:46
Yes. And I will take this and and as always pointing out to me in life of where I’m being a little too empathetic.

Anne Candido 6:51
There’s a reason why I gave you this.

April Martini 6:54
So this is gonna be perhaps, I guess, well, it’s targeted to me, and also, I guess, intended to be therapeutic, and to reinforce the messages that and gives me uh huh. But in any case, so empathy can be a really powerful characteristic, because it does aid in collaboration and negotiation when you’re trying to get to a win win for everyone. And I would say that on my best days, this is actually what I use this characteristic for. And I think it also allows you to see more deeply what’s going on in the room. And all of that can be a really good thing for female leaders. But where it’s not so good, which I was alluding to this before maybe saying pretty directly is when you’re so empathetic to other people’s situations that you put it ahead of your own self worth, but also impact or ability to lead in the situations and that doesn’t do any good for anyone that’s working with you whether they’re on your team, or they’re a co worker, or and this really shows up specifically when you can’t hold people accountable. Because when they come in with the excuse of, you know, my dog got off the leash, or I didn’t have time to help out my grandma this weekend. So I took her this morning to the grocery store, or you know, they’re constantly late. But oh, you know, they do so much good in the company. And they’re a great fit. And so we’re just going to kind of let that go. It really allows and even excuses in a lot of instances, bad behavior. And that can really lead to detriment in the team, it can lead to more bad behavior, it can lead to people walking all over you to thinking they can get away with whatever or even animosity for people that don’t do that, but see others getting away with it. So the first thing you need to do, when we talk about the counter trigger is remember, this is still a business, it’s not personal. So you have to toe the line as the leader in the business, and make sure that goals and objectives are being met so that the business is successful, which benefits everyone including you. We are not saying that that means you need to be heartless. And I will also say that this is something I tried to counteract this behavior in my career, where I was just like, Okay, fine, I’m gonna have no patience for any flexibility whatsoever. And that’s not a good outcome either. So we’re not saying you don’t have to be hard. You have to be heartless. You can’t be flexible. There are definitely things that come up. And if you have a strong team, and you know people who they really are, you’re going to know when things are coming up and when to excuse things. But you also on the other side of the coin, have to be really responsible and put the onus on those people on your team that they have to manage themselves and their personal lives in order to be a performer in the business. they work in. And you know, sometimes this is letting people go, if it doesn’t work, sometimes it’s additional training. But as the manager and with this highly empathetic a characteristic, you have to learn to be forthright and state what needs to happen, and also what cannot happen so that things aren’t sliding, that then puts you in a much bigger situation, problem area, etc. Because you didn’t manage it from the beginning.

Anne Candido 10:24
Yeah, I think that’s those are really good suggestions. And I’ll just build on that. Because I think, also, by not letting these things slide, you set up the precedents that there are some sort of consequences for their behavior and action, you’re not necessarily going to be reprimanding them. But you know, to let them know, hey, when you didn’t deliver this on time, this is what happened, right? Or when you say, Okay, I get that something happened today. But you know what, this, I’m gonna let it go this time, because I know that this is happening. I know you’re a consistently good performer. And this doesn’t happen all the time. But, you know, I really need you to do this in the future in order to avoid whatever is going on. So be proactive, more proactive in your conversation, or have a backup or whatever that it needs to happen in order for it to not happen again next time. Don’t just let it go. I mean, if you want to be gracious and let it go, don’t just hold that in, make sure that other person knows that you’re being gracious. And this is why you’re being gracious, and what the intentionality is behind that so that they can have the right context and mindset for like, well, how much can I get away with, you know, you know, and versus Okay, well, I know, I got called down on this, this did not go unnoticed. And so therefore, this is what I need to do in the future in order to make sure that I’m being mindful of my team. I’m being mindful my business and I’m being mindful my leader.

April Martini 11:46
Yeah, it’s a gift in the instance. It’s not a permanent allowance. Exactly.

Anne Candido 11:50
It’s a really good point. All right. So the third personal branding characteristic that holds back aspiring female leaders is fairness advocate. Right? Now, it seems that females over index and expectation, everything should be fair, I have seen it a lot. Males just don’t seem to have that same expectation. They just don’t, because even at an early age, it seems like there’s this innate desire for supremacy and you’d see it on the school playground, you see it in school, in general, just in competition for grades, you see it on athletic fields, I mean, now you haven’t seen like video gaming, right? It’s just a highly, highly energized place where there’s an expectation that there’s winners, and there’s losers, so I better be able to take my place, there’s no expectation that it has to be fair. Now, females, on the other hand, tend to kind of grew up with that expectation that if they’re good girls, and they do what they’re supposed to do, they will get rewarded. And you could definitely see this take shape in the business world to where aspiring female leaders may struggle to recognize and play the game of business. And this really limits their ability to rise up to leadership roles, because they believe if they do a good job, and and they’re just gonna be rewarded for that, like the work quote, unquote, speaks for themselves. So there’s no really big reason for them to overly promote themselves. And there’s no big reason for them to highly network just, it’s just going to happen, because if I’m good, then it’s going to happen. But most men just don’t see it this way. They see business as a game, they jump in, they are in the effort to like, actually learn it and master it. And they use a self promotion and strategic networking to their benefit, because they want to win. So the mindset shift here, and then this is what you need to think about from the counter trigger, is that it is a game, all right. And if you can’t expect that, it’s going to be fair, and you’re probably going to need a business coach that’s going to help you see this blind spot. And your business coach can be Merrill female, but they have to give you that forthright, just feedback in order for you to kind of see where you may not be seeing that this fairness piece playing out in the way that you expect it to play. And when you’re in situations where this characteristic gets triggered, and you feel that something is unfair, take a second to reflect on what is going on beneath the surface, because that is where the game is being played. So ask yourself, What does this other person have going for him or her that I don’t? And then what is it about the situation that resulting in this not going in my favor, and then start working against it and then get in the game? You may not like the reality of it, but that is the game.

April Martini 14:32
Yeah. And I want to emphasize a point and really give an example of conversation that I was just having the other day, which is the emphasis on finding the business coach that is going to Yes, help you identify the blind spot, but also give you the forthright feedback so that you can action against it. Because I think that there are instances in business where you you know like and just said that there are things going on and I was beating you or passing you and you’re scratching your head thinking, what the heck can I do? But this person I was in conversation with the other day had gone to three different women within her organization, and asked the question first, did you observe this happening, right? And they all confirmed that, yes, they saw it happening. But then they quickly tried to brush it under the rug and pat the person on the back and say it’s okay, versus really offering advice and solutions that were going to lead to proactive change and management of this type of behavior. And I think that, that is really critical. And actually, the other person didn’t see that that was what was going on until I pointed it out to them. Right, it was like, just because you got the confirmation that something is happening, then you don’t go build an agenda to figure out how to make a change that is going to result in someone else getting blamed for something, or that you’re going to go to a boss or supervisor elevate something that is actually a characteristics within you. And then unfortunately, those other folks did you a disservice because they didn’t help you see the clarity of what actually was going on in this situation. So I think having someone that is going to be direct and give you the straight of observations or solutions, then of how to work against it, you just got to be careful in who you choose to go to for that kind of advice.

Anne Candido 16:34
Yeah, we have a good in the trenches question later, that’s going to get to that a little bit more. But that’s a really good perspective to share. Because it happens a lot. And there’s a lot of times because people just don’t feel comfortable giving the feedback. And again, if you’re a caregiver, or you’re overly empathetic, you want to make the person feel better. Yep. Versus you want to give them the direct feedback that’s going to help them in, you know, the one thing that people have to realize, especially female leaders, is you’re not doing anybody any favors by not giving them the direct feedback. All right, the fourth personal branding characteristic that holds back aspiring female leaders is humble. APR. All right, I

April Martini 17:13
will take this one. And in this instance, I think the unfortunate thing here is that a lot of times the way this manifests is that the females will do a really good job of promoting their team, but they won’t do a really good job of promoting themselves because, and it does kind of like some of these build on each other. Right. So the thing we talked about before around, you know, put your head down, do the work be good, and people will notice you, that’s part of this one as well. And it’s because they just don’t feel justified in taking the credit. So they’ll promote other people on the team, or they’ll push really hard for someone on their team to get promoted or get the recognition or whatever. But then what happens is they end up being overlooked themselves. So the other side of this is what happens is when this is recognized, then they’ll go to the other extreme, which is to act more like the male counterparts, because as we said, they don’t have some of these tendencies oftentimes, and that’s a generalization. But you know, we’ve seen it predominantly. So what they’ll do is try to mimic, right, the whole fake it till you make it well, this person is doing well. So I will just adopt their personality and try to be like them, and because that’s not actually who they are. And because of what assertiveness can mean, in men versus women, then you get characterized as some not so nice words, including the B word potentially. And so that can be a tough place to come back from for sure. But the point of all of this is to make sure that you do the work to work in favor of the characteristics you naturally have, and not go to the point of becoming an egomaniac or trying to, you know, only look out for yourself or go to the other extreme of acting like your male counterparts, all those types of things. This is not the right behavior for you. So the counter trigger, we suggest here is a shift in mindset that ego can be a motivator for success and should be embraced. But through who you are as a person, certainly, and not abused to that ego mania. All strong leaders have a sense of ego, but there’s definitely a spectrum and there’s also going too far in the spectrum.

Anne Candido 19:35
Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. And the way that I like to think about this, because I’ve seen this go really, really wrong, especially with a couple of the bosses I’ve had, where then they’re so afraid, especially if they have the alpha female syndrome, like where there’s only like, why not being male that can be in these leadership positions, that they tend to then throw people under the bus, they tend to, you know, they want to admit that they’re wrong. And that’s just like bliss and more disaster because of the fact that it just has cascading results on the actual business and when you’re trying to deliver, and if you’re not delivering the work at the end of the day, I mean, nobody looks good. Yeah. And so what I like to always like think about is like, let your ego drive you to be the best leader, you can be like, let that be your ego driven intention, because like you said, April, it helps you to embrace all your characteristics in a really productive way that not only allows you to shine in the context of your leadership abilities and the ability to to be able to get to direct your team, but also has this the right mindset of how to really raise your team and profile your team in the context of that. So everybody wins. And everybody looks good. Yep, exactly. All right. So just to summarize, the personal branded characteristics that hold back aspiring female leaders, caregiver to this is the general expectation on females and by females to nurture and care for all those around them. So really think about becoming a vigilant leader help you to balance your time and energy by empowering your team to be more autonomous. The second is empathetic. So females tend to be more empathetic to other people’s situations, and many cases more than their own. So you really need to adjust your mindset that it is impersonal it is business, and then act accordingly. The third is fairness advocate, they almost over index and the expectation, everything should be fair. So look for a business coach that can help you work through this blind spot, but also analyze the situations when they come up for the underlying game. Then the fourth is humble. Females have a tendency to be overly humble underplaying their accomplishments and skills. So shift your mindset to really embrace your ego focus in that, in that ego focus being being the best leader that you can be. All right, our next segment is the in the trenches, we’re gonna give real world examples. And this is gonna get very interesting, because we’re gonna pull examples from our experiences and our backgrounds. And so hopefully, we’ll be able to see then how this plays out in the world that we’ve been a part of, and that you can then apply it to yourself, and at least drive some awareness and then some action around your own personal brand. All right, the first in the trenches question. I know what you’re saying about playing the game, but sometimes things just aren’t fair. And there’s nothing I can do about it. Was that alright, and loves this one is my is my favorite toy job. We’re gonna have this one, we’re gonna revisit this one. All right. So my first point that I always make here in April does this as well. And this is kind of our forthright nature is don’t play the victim. Does anybody any good does anything you Exactly, I mean, this is the natural tendency, right? And it’s natural to feel that way. If you’ve been feeling wronged, it’s about everybody else out there, it’s everybody else’s fault, why I’m not doing this, and you’re not taking the responsibility for the fact that it is within your control. And when you can take that responsibility back, you get your power back. And when you get your power back, you can take action, if you stay in this victim mentality, you’ll never be able to take action, because you’re gonna expect everybody else to make it happen for you. And that’s just never going to happen. And then second is there’s always something you can do about it, you just need to decide your tolerance level. But you have to realize that most of the time, you don’t get to choose the rules of the game. So you need to decide either you’re going to play the game or going to get off the court. And I’ll get my example here. And I believe I’ve given the example before because it actually plays across many, many eggs of situations that we’ve talked about. But this was when I was up for promotion. And I was told because of one poor meeting where I didn’t show up real well, that I just was not a happy person. And like I said, happy people don’t get promoted at P&G. So I understanding that and understanding that that was a situation that I was in, I could have very easily said you know what, give them too bit of middle fingers. I’m like, I’m just who I am. And you guys didn’t realize this, and that’s on you. And it’s just isn’t fair. I totally could have done that. And I might have done that for a brief like couple minutes, couple of days, or maybe a couple of days. Probably solved. But then it was like, You know what, I either have to deal with the feedback and reality of situation, or I need to figure out what I’m going to do either with the rest of my career p&g Or I’m going to leave. I mean, those are really the choices. And that’s what it comes down to that what’s your tolerance level, I decided that I was going to play the game. So what I did was I spent the next six months and I was a happy person. I showed my boss that could be a happy person. I was the one that was basically courting my boss around when she used when she came to the US. And that was my job for six months. And it worked. Then she saw a different side of me she saw that I was a happy person. I got promoted. That was the game. Now you could say I was a sellout. Fine, but you know what I chose up By the game, those were the rules of the game, I got what I wanted, I continued down my path. So that is the mindset shift, you have to see that, you know, you’re there’s a difference in figuring out how to play the game. And I know, April, you had some perspective on this one, too.

April Martini 25:15
Yeah. And for me, it was what Ann was just saying about perceiving, being a sellout or all those types of things, I needed to go undergo a mindset shift when it came to playing the game. Because I think that what I actually observed a lot of times in agency life, and because we have so few few HR protocols, and roles and behavior checks, and all of that, you know, it’s meant to be fun, and creative, and et cetera, et cetera, that I was observing bad behavior when it came to playing the game. So I was seeing people doing things that they really shouldn’t have been doing or acting in authentically, or diverting attention for their own agenda, you know, all of these types of things. And so what I had to learn was that playing the game had a different definition. And that what I was seeing, actually were bad examples of playing the game, and that I needed to create my own way of doing it. And so all the things we’re talking about here, right, you can’t change your characteristics. But what I found was an ability to channel my characteristics, empathy, being one of the main ones, in order to play my own game, which meant getting really good at managing interactions with people to the benefit of all involved in sometimes, you know, that did result in me playing therapist, which wasn’t always fun, or mediator, those types of things. But it was more about manipulating the pieces in a non manipulative way, according to my brain that allowed me to realize that there was a game I needed to admit that there was but that I could play it on my terms. And when I did all of that, and really maneuvered my behaviors and actions resulting from that, my career skyrocketed. I mean, it was just it, like happened so fast. It was like I had stagnated. I was frustrated, I couldn’t move up a level, I saw other people being promoted, I felt like they were doing bad things to get there. But once I just said, you know, like and said, this is part of the business that I’m in this is part of business in general, and I can either become savvier and do it in a way I feel okay, about or I can opt out.

Anne Candido 27:24
Yeah, I think that’s a really good example. And I think you highlighted nicely the balance of playing a game, but not like being ruthless or undermining in the way that you’re doing. And it’s not an attempt to it’s not this is this is not the okay that you get to be manipulative, and you get to be, like, you know, mean to people, and you get to undermine people. I mean, this is not what we’re saying. And I like that you said that you did it in your own way, you figured out how to play well on your own terms. Because still, karma is karma. I mean, I mean, people who are doing it in authentically, and they’re playing a game, and they’re not playing it very well, they will be benched, it will happen. It happens like 100% of the time. So don’t worry about them, worry about yourself, and worry about how you want to show up. But if there is something that is actually truly unethical or illegal going on, please report that that is not the game that we’re talking about. Like you should not be put into a situation where you feel like you’re compromising your values or putting being put in a situation makes you feel very uncomfortable in order to play the game. So just want to make sure that everybody’s hearing that very, very clearly. Alright, the second in the trenches question. I am one of those who really struggles to hold people accountable. Can you give me a more specific example of how to be more assertive? April

April Martini 28:44
Synanon? I have actually been having this conversation recently, because the new manifestation of requested feedback based on COVID and work environments, is either How do I as an employee, make sure I’m seeing if I’m not in the office? Or how do I, as a leader in manager, manage people who are in both situations, right, some are here, some are not. And I think that this is tricky, because we’re entering yet another transition. And so everyone is having to reorient their mindsets about work, and then also work to figure out how it works moving forward. But what I would say here is that overall, one of the great things I think that has come out of COVID is that we’ve all become more human. And what that’s allowed is for people to be a little less polished and perfect, right? So dogs barking on calls, kids being around, not putting on your makeup before you join said calls all of those types of things. Right. And that’s great. And I really, really hope and this is my soapbox, that it doesn’t go back to the other direction or worse because I love that about what has happened. The other part of that though, is being human doesn’t mean not holding people accountable. And so I think as a manager and a leader, a lot of the things about being proactive and holding people to that level of account. ability means you have to build in practices for your team and expectations that make everyone very clear on what is expected of them what their job is because again, this is a business and what it means to step over the line or underperform. And so what what that looks like is, there needs to be regular check ins with your team. And this is true, whether they’re they’re in the office, or they’re not, you can’t just ignore the people that are at home, because they’re at home, you can’t give all your attention to the folks that are in the office, because they’re in the office, everyone should have equal and ample time with you. Now there are situations where sometimes someone gets more versus another, those types of things. But ultimately, whether it’s weekly, whether it’s bi weekly, whatever works for you, I think anything less than bi weekly is not good, because it doesn’t allow for the continuous conversation loop. And it also makes feedback harder to take and more disruptive. But I really think you’ve got to make sure that you’re having those regular touch bases. So there can be feedback, and also the ability for you to hear what’s going on with the other folks. On the other side of that I will say, we are all adults, and we need to be act, we need to act as such and expect to be treated as such. And this is an office. So whether the person’s office is at home, or it’s in the office, or it’s hybrid, or whatever the case might be that still applies, you’re expected to get your job done. And I think this is where the humanity actually needs to go. So if you have someone that’s underperforming on your team, then that needs to be addressed. And they need to be held accountable to whatever behavior you expect. And yes, this can be tricky and hard. But again, if you have regular touch bases, regular opportunity to receive feedback to give feedback, that loop is open and ongoing, no matter where people are, then this shouldn’t be so hard anymore, because it should be a regular practice for all of the people on the team. But it also ensures that no one’s getting away with anything, regardless of where they physically are.

Anne Candido 32:04
It is all really really good feedback. And I think this is where making sure the the parameters and the principles of your culture are set are so important, because that becomes the filter by which you can have these conversations, and it doesn’t have to feel some personal. And because a lot of people are like, Oh, I just feel like, you know, I’m attacking the person. It’s like, well, you’re not attacking the person, if you’re referring to it, and you’re filtering the conversation through the cultural expectation. Right, right. And then the other piece of that is also the deliverable set. Yes, you know, it’s like, okay, if something needs to be delivered, you know, I’m not going to watch you 24/7, especially if you’re at home, like, because that’s where the tendency become a micromanaging tendency comes from, but if you’re not delivering, then we’re gonna have to have a conversation about that. But a lot of times, it’s like, Hey, as long as you’re delivering the quality of works good. I mean, it’s kind of what I say about my kids. I’m like, I look at their grades every Friday, beginning A’s, and you know, or he’ll close, I’m like, Well, I don’t care. If you’re doing your homework in front of the TV, I don’t care if you’re, you know, whatever you’re doing, as long as you’re meeting the goals that we set out for you, then however you choose to do what you choose to do it right to go to bed at one o’clock in the morning, as long as you’re getting up for school when you’re supposed to and you’re not grouchy, and you know pain in the butt. So I mean, think about it, like in terms of like kind of letting go of some of the how, and just making sure, whatever the the what is, is being delivered and making sure it’s being delivered in a way that’s conducive to the culture of the entire team.

April Martini 33:31
Very good point.

Anne Candido 33:32
All right. Our third in the trenches question, What do you mean by take credit and context of your team? Alright, so

April Martini 33:40
this is like this one, too. I

Anne Candido 33:42
do. I love my little simple statements, I feel like it really helps to internalize and gives you guys something actionable to use in order to make this like, hopefully, super simple. And this statement looks something like I am leading the insert your team or work that will deliver, insert your impact and and then whatever whoever the recipient of the work is. So it looks like let me give you an example. I am leading the marketing team to develop a social strategy that is intended to increase our our business leads by to x. It’s kind of like people call this like your elevator pitch. Like if you were stuck with your boss in the elevator for like, you know, 10 seconds. And they say what do you do? You don’t say? I’m a marketing manager, I’m in you know, in this group or whatever you can you frame it up in a context that actually makes them wanting more. And they say, well, oh, yeah, that’s interesting. Tell me more about this. But what this does nicely is it sets up your role. And it also puts it in context of what your team is delivering. And then the impact on the business all together into a nice little bow. A bow Yeah, yeah. Want to give an example of this one? Yeah. So

April Martini 34:43
another one would be I’m responsible for $6.5 million on one account made up of X team members, you know, giving them credit and knowing that they’re part of the team, that all contribute to a 90% plus rating from the client year over year. So that’s our internal rank. Getting, and 10% growth of the client’s business for the next five years. So that’s a high goal. But, you know, I think one of the really important things is to balance the impact on the team, and the expectation of the team with what you’re gonna then deliver to the client. Because if you don’t have both of those things, and that’s the reason we always give quantifiable measurements, right. But you heard both of us talk about acknowledgement of what we’re doing for our business and our team. And then what we’re doing for the client, and having components of both are really important. Yeah,

Anne Candido 35:37
totally, totally agree. And these will show up in like we said, the conversations, the elevator pitches, they show up on your, whatever we call it, our rocks, or whatever your deliverables are, or your assessments are, as you go through your reviews. I mean, you can use these in multiple different places. And maybe it sounds initially as a little bit rehearsed, but it definitely is going to have an impact. So we suggest you guys embrace it, try it and see how it feels. And I guarantee you, you guys will get more of a reaction than if you were just to say, Oh, well, you know, I just, I work in, you know, this group, and I lead this team, and we’re doing some really phenomenal work. And it just starts to feel very convoluted. Right? Exactly. That’s the humbleness playing, you know, you guys, you guys hear it? I know, you hear it. Everyone’s like, Get out of my head. And yeah. mean he brought those conversations a lot? Yes, we do. Alright, so the fourth in the trenches question. I find a politics exhausting in my work environment. Yeah, who does not? Is there any way to make it better? April?

April Martini 36:44
Oh, I feel like this is gonna be a therapy session for me a little bit. I’ll sit back, relax, oh, my gosh, I’ve been getting this question from like, so many angles lately, like, personal people in my life people, we coach professionally, some of our clients. And I’ve also had my fair share here. So I think what happens to people is that they feel powerless in the situations that relate to politics, especially if they’re not the leader, like CEO level, executive level, et cetera, et cetera. And so there becomes this mindset of I just have to put up with it, because it’s not starting with me or coming from me, it’s part of the culture of the organization, and it’s coming from the top. And I would say that’s 100% not true. And I think that, what can happen is you can lead by example, and I’m a big fan of making change, and then asking for forgiveness, versus asking permission to do things like this, because you’re gonna get a No, I think a lot of times, if you ask, because there’s not a clear, I’m going to do this, and then I’m going to do this. And then I’m going to do this when you present it to management. But you can make powerful and impactful change on your team, even if there are situations going on in the office. So what I will say here is define your own reality, take a hard look at where that political nature is permeating your team and doing your team know service. And then work to build in the infrastructure and the things we’ve been talking about throughout this episode, where your team has a different reality from the wet rest of the organization. And I will speak from an example where I was coming into an organization, I was the black sheep in the agency, I was coming from a different type of agency, a different experience, set all those types of things. And I was put in a leadership position, and a unique one where I was able to hire and build a lot of my own team from the beginning. But then did inherit have to supplement you know, pull from different things, make concessions, all of that kind of stuff. But what I did right on the onset was set the expectations for my team, emphasize how they were different from some of the stuff that was going on in the organization that even though I was part of it, I didn’t necessarily like or agree with, and then set out to manage those behaviors and make sure that people were like we’ve said, we had the marching orders. We had the plan. Everyone was held accountable. Yes, there was flexibility based on person and their need and what level they were in all those things. But there were rules that did not flex. And that became my team. And what that led to was us being able to lead by example. And so that’s what I mean about asking permission and getting shut down. Because these are, you know, ego fuel conversations. There’s ways that things have been done for a long time. People don’t like to be told that you don’t like something that they may or may not be doing all that kind of stuff. So in this instance, we were able to You get the praise and see the results that then other people started to get curious and start asking questions. So it was like, Huh, that’s working really well, over there, that team’s not working a million hours, they seem to really like each other they function. Well, everyone has a place, I want to be part of that team, or leadership, I want to learn more about that. And then the dollar is following these situations, right. So our margins were far better, we were selling more organic business, the people on my team were able to be open to other possibilities to learn cross functionally from other teams, because they had more time since they weren’t participating in politics, a lot of really good things started to happen. And so from there, that allowed me and several of the members of my team to step into advocate positions to change the overall way that we performed and acted as business people, honestly, against the culture of the environment. Because other people wanted what we had. And they saw the results that were coming from it. And so I think, while we i Okay, this wasn’t like, I’m seeing rose colored glasses a little bit, right. And I feel like people are gonna call me on that a little bit. So it’s not perfect. It doesn’t happen overnight. You still have your naysayers. I mean, I remember someone saying to me, Well, you just have the best members of the team. And that’s why yours is functioning so well, or you have the highest performers, or you just happened to make this happen, right? It’s not a product of what you were they did, that happens to. But at the end of the day, we had a pretty solid case study for the way that we believe that should be done, right? We all were really bought into it. And ultimately, it led to a really good period of hiring the right people in the organization, letting go of people that didn’t necessarily make sense, bringing on the right clients. And so that’s always my advice, and my push back, you know, and said before, don’t play the victim or don’t roll over and take it, I think that’s this is one of those situations where if you can carve out your own reality, and live that most of the day, then that’s at least a lot, right? A lot of your day is spent with your team. But then overall, often we see it happen organizationally to

Anne Candido 42:11
Yeah, I think that’s great. I love the idea of living your reality, I want to build because I’m on what you were saying, because I want everybody to realize that you didn’t do this in a vacuum. You weren’t just like, Okay, I’m just gonna sit up our walls, they’re just going to operate, and we’re not going to like, involve anybody. And this is where we say you need to really identify who your thought leaders are. Your stakeholders are in your influencers. Alright, so that’s how you play the politics game in a much more streamlined way. Yes, a, you get those people on board. And that’s not like the whole entire world, you guys, this is just these are certain people that you have identified, they’re going to help you forward your mission and kind of keep you out of trouble while you’re kind of like doing what you need to go do in trying to insulate your team from, you know, all the politics, quote, unquote, that are happening, right. So, but I think also, what you got to realize is that the higher you rise up, the more politics you have to face. And you know, Nas becomes a big part of the job is you’re managing up in your being able to insulate your team from having to deal with the politics so you can deliver good work, if you’re not prepared to deal with the politics, and you really need to consider how far up you want to move. Yeah. And really good point. Yeah, because I mean that. And I think it’s also fair to say to that, you don’t need to be anointed a leader in order to be a leader. So you know that that can happen at any level, depending on how much exposure that you want, and where you want to put yourself in with regards to positioning yourself on the way up. So you just need to be prepared for these things and realize these things are happening. And I like we said, there’s always a choice. If you don’t want to deal with politics, that is fine. You don’t have to deal with politics, but you shouldn’t expect them to rise to the highest ranks in your company. Because the people who rise to the highest ranks, figure out how to manage the politics. Maybe not in a way that’s like overwhelming like I love though, like what you said about the reality, but you’re smart about how you do it. Right. You know, and so it’s just part of again playing the game. But you do it in this in this way that feels like you took the control, you took the power. And that was what worked for you.

April Martini 44:22
Yeah. And I think I want to emphasize the point that No, I was not doing this in a vacuum. And we still were responsible for working with the other teams in the organization. So that’s a really good point to make. I think it’s more that we took control of the things that we could manage within the world we were in, still perform the job expectations, but worked to make everything work a lot better. And then that’s when it started to exhibit itself with the organization. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Anne Candido 44:51
All right. So that’s our in the trenches section. And our third and final segment is usually a real world example of a brand is doing this well or not well, but that doesn’t Don’t really imply here. So instead, we wanted to offer you more resources that could immediately help you here. And this is by a lot of requests and demand of our clients who are looking for more help and more like autonomous help, like they want to be able to go someplace and get some of this information in a little bit more of a comprehensive format, that they can just go and apply immediately and try it for themselves. So we’re launching the marketing smarts marketplace. And our very first module we’re going to have is on vigilant leadership, since we’ve made such a big deal of it, we thought that was a really good one to start with. So this is going to be packed full of tools that you can use in order to really start cultivating and practicing being a vigilant leader. So you’re going to see some assessments, you’re also going to see some from some formats for how to start thinking through this and then how to actually structure your team accordingly. So it’s going to be very affordable to be jam packed full of really, really good useful knowledge. And then of course, if you’re still struggling, you can reach out to us and we can continue to coach you as you’re going through it but it allows you to take some accountability and some responsibility for you know, maybe trying it yourself. Alright, so just to summarize a personal brand characteristics that hold back aspiring female leaders. The first is caregiver has the general expectation on females and by females to nurture and care for all those around them. Really go to that marketing smarts marketplace and start becoming and practicing vigilant leadership, it’s going to be really, really, really helpful for you. The second is empathetic. Females tend to be more empathetic to other people’s situations in many cases more than their own. So really need to adjust your mindset that is impersonal it is business and then act accordingly. Third is fairness advocate, females over index and expectation, everything should be fair. Look for a business coach that’s gonna really help you work through this blind spot. But then also pay attention to these situations when they come up and look really look for the underlying game, and then get in the game. And the final one is humble. Females have a tendency to be overly humble underplaying their accomplishments and skills. So shift your mindset. Focus on really embracing your ego, but in a way that you want to be the best leader that you can be. And with that, we’ll say go exercise your Marketing Smarts!

April Martini 47:20
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