How to derail to a defensive manager and move forward

Networking diversity, depth help you strike career gold | practice (split each time) | Knee-jerk reactions get the boot with name-claim-reframe
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April 30, 2024
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Leading the Way
Networking diversity, depth help you strike career gold
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Forget old-school networking; take your game up a notch so you can get ahead and stay ahead, IT speaker and Ton Enterprises President Jeff Ton says. You'll get much farther in business if you have a strong network of collaborators, senior advisers, tech experts and friends who can help you "solve problems, foster creativity and innovation and even find emerging career opportunities," Ton says.
Full Story: Dice Insights (4/29) 
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Put it into practice: Diversity and depth should be your networking mantra, Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, says, because that leads to all-important referrals -- which fill as many as 92% of jobs, Ton says. Smart networking also leads to greater visibility, reach, technical advice and other solutions, as well as mentorship.
Managers foresee prime opportunities in decarbonization, real estate, and impact strategies. With a growing interest from retail investors, private markets continue to democratize, offering diversification and income generation. Read now
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SmartBrief on Leadership
Knee-jerk reactions get the boot with name-claim-reframe
(Skynesher/Getty Images)
Jobs are sure to bring more challenges than anticipated, and the ones you aren't expecting can lead to reactive choices or words you may not be proud of. Leadership coach Andrea Mein DeWitt explains how to tamp down emotions -- and honor your core values-based leadership goals -- with a name-claim-reframe strategy.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (4/29) 
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Put it into practice: Name what's triggering you in the situation, then claim actions that will help you evaluate it, DeWitt writes. With your reframed perspective, come up with possible solutions driven by "visionary optimism."
Smarter Communication
Providing negative feedback to someone above you at work is tricky, but "[i]f you don't want people to become defensive, don't require them to defend themselves," Shari Harley of Candid Culture writes. Instead, ask questions rather than making statements -- it makes you less threatening, and you aren't disparaging their decision-making.
Full Story: Candid Culture (4/28) 
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Put it into practice: Asking questions can take more time -- but also "less courage, and the quality of your relationship doesn't have to be as good," Harley explains. This less-direct approach requires an even tone, as well as smart phrasing. "If you can safely add the words 'you dummy' to a question, you aren't really asking a question, you're giving feedback" and will likely prompt a reaction you don't want.
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Is your organization in the process of expanding or contracting?
We're growing and investing a lot behind that growth.
 39.03%
We're staying pretty stable and making some targeted investments.
 40.65%
We're cutting expenses and fighting to hold our market position.
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Beware of cutting too much. While 20% of you are in cut and hold mode, you need to recognize 40% of the market is investing to grow. While you need to be mindful of expenses and not overextend yourself, recognize you're taking a breather in the middle of the race and your competitors are trying to sprint ahead. Once you finish your pause, you might find yourself even further behind in the race and struggling to stay competitive.

You can't cut your way to long-term profitability, so make sure you're continuing to invest in growth areas while paring expenses in less strategically-important areas.

And for those investing in growth, make sure you have a clear investment premise with performance milestones. Investing irresponsibly can cause you to trip and fall, which gives the competition a moment to sprint ahead.

-- Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, which includes TITAN -- the firm's e-learning platform. Previously, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a West Point graduate and author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."
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In Their Own Words
Data points have been heading in a positive direction since Lyft CEO David Risher took the helm a year ago during a low point where it let go 25%-plus of its workforce and made the rest come to the office three days a week. Lyft now is clawing back market share as Risher leads with purpose, engages workers and provides a sense of belonging -- all "part of what forms a connection to a company, if the company has a sense of purpose beyond just maximizing value for shareholders," Risher says.
Full Story: TIME (tiered subscription model) (4/28) 
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Daily Diversion
Target may have stumbled across a next-generation leader in 1-year-old Azai, a toddler who loves to greet other shoppers during trips to the retailer. After videos of Azai greeting shoppers went viral, the company invited him and his mother to the Huntersville, N.C., store to wear a red Target shirt and official name tag, share his thoughts during the morning team huddle, provide a helping hand with toy department inventory and, of course, greet guests.
Full Story: People (4/29) 
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SmartBreak: Question of the Day
"Guiding Light" might be the champ of American TV soap operas, at a record 72 seasons, but 15 of those were as a radio show. Counting TV seasons only, which of these soaps has been on the longest?
Vote"As the World Turns"
Vote"Days of Our Lives"
Vote"General Hospital"
Vote"The Young and the Restless"
About The Editor
Diane Benson Harrington
Diane Benson Harrington
I'm filling in for Candace this week, which is a nice detour during my day of education newsletters and other work. I'll admit that she very likely would have taken a pass on today's Diversion with the toddler at Target, but it gave me my cute-kid fix for the week and made me wonder if they paid him minimum wage for his morning's worth of work.

I know the Leadership readers prefer animal stories, so I'll leave you with this quick animal-vs.-robot study. This one makes me wonder if it's possible for humans to ever learn enough about how animals tick to create flawless AI versions. (Full disclosure: My husband wants a new dog, but I don't want to clean up after it.)

Drop me a line if you're so inclined this week. In the meantime, show Candace your love by clicking the Share button at the top or bottom of the newsletter and forwarding it to your friends and colleagues. 

Have a great rest of the day!
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We all do 'do, re, mi,' but you have got to find the other notes yourself.
Louis Armstrong,
trumpeter, vocalist, jazz musician
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