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Influential Leadership Skills
Tips for developing influential leadership skills are not often talked about in the workplace yet they’re often what hold women back from achieving next-level leadership career success according to Lisa Anderson, author of Invisible Professional to Influential Leader.
What You’ll Discover About Influential Leadership Skills (highlights & transcript):
* How to handle naysayers when building influential leadership skills [04:31]
* How to handle bullies when building influential leadership skills [07:19]
* How to outmaneuver office politics when building influential leadership skills [08:27]
* 2 Things that can derail women’s ability to develop more influential leadership skills [11:56]
* Action and reflection exercises designed to help build more influential leadership [15:37]
* And much MORE.
Hanna Hasl-Kelchner: [00:00:00] She says tips for developing influential leadership skills are not often talked about in the workplace, but that these are the same tips that often hold women back from achieving next level leadership career success. Who is she and what are some of these tips? We’re going to meet her when we come back.
Announcer: [00:00:19] This is Business Confidential Now with Hanna Hasl-Kelchner, helping you see business issues hiding in plain view that matters to your bottom line.
Hanna: [00:00:30] Welcome to Business Confidential Now. I’m your host Hanna Hasl-Kelchner. And today’s guest, Lisa Anderson, knows what it takes to grow a career. She’s a certified leadership career coach with over 25 years of human resources experience and a deep background in corporate America. As president of Positively in Pursuit LLC, she helps women find their leadership voice, build their leadership courage, and increase their executive presence to take their careers to the next level.
Hanna: [00:01:01] Lisa has also put the recipe for success between two covers. She’s the author of Invisible Professional to Influential Leader. Isn’t that a great title? It’s a tip book to help build influential leadership skills for women who want to lead confidently and authentically. And who wouldn’t want to lead with more confidence and authenticity? So I can’t wait to learn more. Welcome to Business Confidential Now, Lisa.
Lisa Anderson: [00:01:28] Well, thank you, Hanna. It’s so – I’m so excited to be here. So thank you.
Hanna: [00:01:32] Well, I’m excited to learn about these tips now. You said the tips in your book, Invisible Professional to Influential Leader, are not often talked about in the workplace, and I’m wondering why you think that is. I mean, why don’t organizations want to develop the influential leadership skills of their employees? And with all the talk of diversity and especially marginalized employees, like, what do you think is going on?
WHERE WOMEN OFTEN FALL SHORT ON INFLUENTIAL LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Lisa: [00:02:00] Yeah. So a lot of times, the – when we are looking to grow our careers, there is so much focus on technical skills, technical knowledge, whether you are a subject matter expert in your discipline. So a lot of people get promoted into the next level based on their technical expertise. What I’ve seen, especially in my role, because I wear kind of a dual hat because I’ve been in corporate America as HR, human resource professional.
Lisa: [00:02:35] So what I’ve seen as particularly with women, what normally is holding us back is not the technical pieces because we know our stuff. A lot of times, I see women, we’re very strong in our technical discipline. But where we get hung up is some of the intangible skills, like finding your voice in meetings or building credibility or being able to show up with executive presence and confidence.
Lisa: [00:03:04] I know what I experienced in my career as I was growing up the ladder, and I always say growing up the ladder. I know what I experienced, and once I started really reaching that next level of success, there were different things I had to put in my toolkit to build my confidence around some of the intangible things. That’s why I have a passion for that piece and working with women in particular around finding your voice and building that leadership courage…
Lisa: [00:03:39] …when everyone in the room is saying it’s red and you’re the only one in the room that thinks its blue; how do you put that position on the table with confidence and credibility? And then the executive presence and really having that awareness of how we show up when we attend meetings, how we show up in general, how we show up when it comes to presenting in front of senior leadership?
Lisa: [00:04:05] So just how do you show up in general? That’s my passion, and that’s why I wrote the book, Invisible Professional to Influential Leader.
Hanna: [00:04:13] Well, I hear that passion coming through loud and clear, and I am so glad that there’s someone with your experience that can advocate for the folks that haven’t caught on to that by themselves, or maybe wound up having their career derailed at some point because nobody told them.
HOW TO HANDLE NAYSAYERS WHEN BUILDING INFLUENTIAL LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Hanna: [00:04:31] And I’d like to dive into some of the tips from your book for developing those influential leadership skills because in one of your chapters that I see here, from the Table of Contents, it talks about ignoring the naysayers, and I would imagine some people get more than their share. What’s a naysayer and how are they different from bullies?
Lisa: [00:04:51] Yes. So a naysayer – and we’ve all encountered them in our careers. You encounter a person or person that may not, what I call, like you, and you really don’t know why. [Laughter] You haven’t done anything to them. From your perspective, it’s almost like, “huh?” Well, that person acts a certain way towards me, and I don’t know, at least I am not aware of what I may have done to warrant that kind of reaction or behavior.
Lisa: [00:05:27] And it normally is subtle. It’s not blatant, but you just get that feeling that, “Huh? This person may not be the cheerleader for me,” right? So that’s who I call the naysayer. So that behavior, that – it shows up in a way when you may not be able to put your finger on it, but you – your – I call the intuition. You’re kind of like, “Huh?”
Lisa: [00:05:53] Every time I have an experience or interaction with this person, it’s not, nasty or negative, but it just – it just leaves you like, “Blah!” And so that person may be a naysayer. Don’t want to see you fail, but they’re not necessarily in your corner.
Lisa: [00:06:11] So my tip in the book is ignore the naysayer. And when I say ignore the naysayer, you may have to work with this person in order to get a job done or a goal accomplished, or you may be on a project team. But what I see with – particularly with women, sometimes we want everybody to like us.
Lisa: [00:06:31] And with the naysayer, they may not show dislike, but they’re not going to be your friend or buddy or – like they’re your cheerleader. You have to be able to work with this person, especially if you’re connected with them on a project or a team, and you still have to be able to work together and get the job done.
Lisa: [00:06:53] But don’t take it personal if they are not the “Hey, let’s go out after work” kind of person. It’s okay. Where I see the difference is some women, it’s like, “Okay, is this a naysayer or is this a bully?” Because sometimes, I deal with the person and they’re either abusive or intimidating or hostile towards me. That is not a naysayer. That could be a bully.
HOW TO HANDLE BULLIES WHEN BUILDING INFLUENTIAL LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Lisa: [00:07:19] And in the book, I specifically give some strategies on – if you’re dealing with a bully, what to do? Because the number one goal is to get out of this bullying situation. And because I have a human resource background, I share some strategies around what you can do. Number one, you want to report it.
Lisa: [00:07:41] But what happens if you know this kind of behavior is coming from a supervisor or manager? Where do you take it? What do you do? So just to give some avenues for any woman who is reading this book is trying to determine whether they have, “Huh, I have a naysayer.” Or whether I’m in a situation where I’m being bullied. I wanted to provide some resources to try to get help – help a person get out of a bullying situation.
Hanna: [00:08:09] That tip could equally apply to an entrepreneur, someone who is running their own business because they may encounter naysayers or bully – actually they’ll encounter a lot of naysayers, but they may also encounter bullies. So that, that I think, is definitely a transferable tip.
HOW TO OUTMANEURVER OFFICE POLITICS WHEN BUILDING INFLUENTIAL LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Hanna: [00:08:27] But for those people that are in a larger organization, what role do you think office politics plays and how do you maneuver around them to build those influential leadership skills that you need?
Lisa: [00:08:39] Yes. So the office politics is a big one because I have spoken with so many women leaders or women in particular that said that they don’t want to go into leadership because of office politics. I’ve seen a group of women. Actually, I did a webinar with a group of women and they were like, “Oh, yeah, it’s great that I am in an independent contributor role or a subject matter expert role because I really don’t want to go into leadership because I don’t want to have to deal with the politics.”
Lisa: [00:09:13] And my response to that is, unfortunately, politics is not just in leadership. Sometimes, even when you are in those independent contributor roles or subject matter expert roles, sometimes you find yourself smack dead in the middle of office politics. So I encourage people, please don’t – do not move into leadership because of the office politics now.
Lisa: [00:09:42] Yes, it is real in corporate America and in workplaces across the country that every workplace has its own culture and really trying to figure out how to navigate the culture of an organization. And sometimes, you find yourselves smack dead in the middle of office politics – he-said-she-said, someone has an agenda, and somehow you’re kind of sucked into the agenda. You’re not even sure how you got here, but here you are, right?
Lisa: [00:10:15] The thing that got me really clear about office politics was honing in on my values. And once I became crystal clear on my top three values, if the office politics came my way and it rubbed up against one of my top values or didn’t honor a value for me, I was quick to shut it down or disengage to say, “I’m sorry, that is so against my, you know, one of my values.”
Lisa: [00:10:45] And once I became clear, it had that clarity. I found the confidence to really keep myself out of office politics or to be able to address it directly, if it involves me directly. When I didn’t have that clarity, I would come home at night thinking about the day and like, “Hmm, you know, how did I handle a situation or one of my personal mottos?”
Lisa: [00:11:12] If I can’t sleep at night, then it’s rubbed up against a value for me. And so immediately the next day, I have to go back and address it. That has really helped me in my career, and I share that with other women leaders that if anything – if you can’t sleep at night because the situation is bothering you, really check up against your values and see what is not being honored.
Lisa: [00:11:39] And that seems to help me. So I always share it with other women because I get it. I – I’ve been – next thing you know, you’re not in it. And the next thing you know, you’re sucked right in it and it’s like, “Whoa, what just happened?”
2 THINGS THAT CAN DERAIL WOMENS’ ABILITY TO DEVELOP MORE INFLUENTIAL LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Hanna: [00:11:56] Exactly. Which is why it’s just one of those sticky topics. And it can definitely get in the way. Now, besides not having the tips from your book, Lisa, in your experience, what one or two things have you seen derailed the leadership career path of women in the workplace and their ability to develop those more influential leadership skills?
Lisa: [00:12:22] Yes. One big thing that I’ve seen, sometimes with women moving to the next level in their careers that relationships, building relationships and especially across the organization. Because of my role in human resources, a lot of the companies that I’ve worked for, we’ve always had talent reviews, where we actually intentionally looked at talent across our organization.
Lisa: [00:12:54] And a lot of times, when the leadership team and the executive team were looking at talent, we’re looking at, of course, women and men in different roles, and we’re having those conversations. Who’s ready for the next level or who’s ready for the next project? And the theme that I hear sometimes in the room is around -if we’re talking about Suzy and her strengths and areas of development,
Lisa: [00:13:23] one thing that may come up is, “Well, what about her ability to build relationships?” Especially at the senior level, everyone’s chiming in and it’s like, “Oh, well, I know of Suzy, but I’m really not sure. Has anyone worked on a project with her? How was her ability to be able to build those relationships?”
Lisa: [00:13:43] Because at the next level, there are so many challenges, only internal but external with customers. And does she have the skills to be able to build relationships with some pretty tough personalities or challenging personalities? So that’s one area.
Lisa: [00:14:01] If you’re looking to grow, really tap into – do you comfortably build relationships? And that does not mean that just because you’re an introvert, because I get that sometimes. “Well, Lisa, I’m not the social butterfly. I’m not extrovert. I’m not going to be out there just butterflying around the organization.” But that’s not what I’m saying.
Lisa: [00:14:23] You can be an introvert and build incredible relationships across internal and external to an organization. So it’s really about the connection and building the genuine relationships. And do you have the ability to do that? So that’s just one tip.
Lisa: [00:14:39] Another tip that’s always talked about in the rooms is mastering your craft, your knowledge of your discipline, especially in technical organizations. Okay, is this person ready, go to the next project and really be innovative and creative? And do they have the mastery of their class where they can really add value and contribute to this project? I always share with women, “Okay, if this is your area of expertise,
Lisa: [00:15:10] do your homework, build your craft, and then let’s work on how do you make sure you show that credibility?” Because I know so many women that are brilliant in their technical discipline and no one knows it. No one knows it. So not only you know you having the technical knowledge, but how do we make sure you’re visible in the organization so others get to see that?
ACTION AND REFLECTION EXERCISES TO HELP BUILD MORE INFLUENTIAL LEADERSHIP
Hanna: [00:15:37] Very good. Now, one of the things that you’ve done in your book that I love is to create the action and then the reflection exercise for each tip. Tell me more about why you did that.
Lisa: [00:15:49] Yes. So I wanted the book to be a living document. The way the book is structured, you read the tip and then you do the action and the reflection exercises. The action exercise is – and I’ll give you an example, actually for the value tip. So the action exercise around the values tip is can you list your top five values and articulate why they are important to you? That is the action.
Lisa: [00:16:20] And I do have the values exercise in the book as well, so you can sort of go through that. But then the reflection part of that tip is think about a time where you had a work situation that you struggled with. What was it about the situation that made you uncomfortable? So I really want a reader as they’re reading the book to take the action because you want to identify your top five values or top three values and get really clear about them.
Lisa: [00:16:53] But then the reflection exercise, I want you to think back, and all of us probably have had a work situation that made us uncomfortable. And what was it about the situation and align it with those values? Like what made it uncomfortable? You know, did it rub up against a top value for you? And I do that with every tip in the book, and there are 25 tips plus two bonus tips in the book I. I love bonuses, so I – so we did two bonus tips.
THE BIGGEST TAKE-AWAYS FROM INVISIBLE PROFESSIONAL TO INFLUENTIAL LEADER
Hanna: [00:17:22] That’s great. Now, certainly, you do have more tips than we can cover here. Yeah, which is good. That’s the good news. It’s also the bad news. So when it comes to your book, Invisible Professional to Influential Leader, I’m curious, what would you say the biggest takeaway is?
Lisa: [00:17:40] Oh, that’s a good question. The biggest takeaway is number one, you are not alone. When I wrote this book – because sometimes I felt alone in my career as I was growing my career. I felt sometimes a little isolated and alone, and I wasn’t willing to share a lot internally with some of my colleagues.
Lisa: [00:18:08] So when I was writing this book, that was the first thing I want women to know. You are not alone. If you can feel some of the tips in the book, just know that other women in different industries, different positions are maybe going through the exact same thing that you’re going through. So that’s number one. I just kept that in the forefront as I was writing the book.
Lisa: [00:18:35] The other big takeaway is you can shift from an invisible professional to an influential leader. The book is very personal to me because at some point in my career, I felt invisible. I was there, but I was struggling with getting my voice at the table in the room, and I was struggling with really articulating my credibility. And so I really – I felt invisible.
Lisa: [00:19:04] Doing some of the inner work that I talk about with the tips really helped me with that shift becoming an influential leader. Anyone that I could help, who may be going through that same struggle where you may feel invisible today, there is a light at the end because you can make that transformation from the invisible to influential. Now it is going to take work, right? It’s going to take some of the inner work and really setting yourself up for success. But it is definitely a transformation and you can do it.
Hanna: [00:19:39] Well, I love the “can do” attitude. You are definitely not invisible anymore, Lisa Anderson. No way. And you have no idea how much I wish I had known about your tips sooner. So if you’re listening and you’re ready to make the transition from feeling invisible to leading with influence and confidence, Lisa’s contact information can be found in the show notes at BusinessConfidentialRadio.com, along with a link to her book, Invisible Professional to Influential Leader.
Hanna: [00:20:10] And if you know someone who wants to increase their influential leadership skills, tell them about Lisa and this podcast episode. Share the link and leave a positive review so others can find out about these amazing tips, too. And you can do it on your podcast app or come on over to lovethepodcast.com/BusinessConfidential
Hanna: [00:20:35] because you’ve been listening to Business Confidential Now with Hanna Hasl-Kelchner, and I hope you have a great day and an even better, more influential tomorrow.
Missing Influential Leadership Skills that Really Hold Women Back Unnecessarily
How to Handle Naysayers When Building Influential Leadership Skills
How to Outmaneuver Office Politics When Building Influential Leadership Skills
Guest: Lisa Anderson
Lisa Anderson is the President of Positively in Pursuit, LLC. Lisa is a certified Leadership/Career Coach who also has 25 years of HR experience. Her coaching business focuses on women in leadership who want to intentionally work on finding their leadership voice, building their leadership courage, and increasing their leadership (executive) presence so that they can propel their careers. Her new book Invisible Professional to Influential Leader is a leadership tip book for women leaders who want to lead confidently and authentically.
Lisa still works full-time in Corporate America as a Chief HR Officer (CHRO) for a technology company. She has worked at every level of HR starting her career as a Recruiter and moving up the corporate ladder to HR Manager, Director, Vice President, and Chief HR Officer (CHRO). She knows what it takes to grow a career. She works with her clients on next level career success, leadership branding, and strategic career positioning.
Lisa holds a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Troy State University and a BBA (Bachelors of Business Administration) degree from James Madison University. She holds several HR certifications. She’s a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and is also certified in Energy Leadership (ELI-MP).
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