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Creating YOUR Advantage 
Newsletter
 
 Leadership takes heart!
 
In this Issue
Does your heart belong in business?
Order Laura's Book
 
 
 
March, 2008


     In addition to celebrating St. Patrick's day this March with a green beer, reach for a pink cosmo and celebrate women's month!  Yes, March is dedicated to women and their historical accomplishments and contributions. 
     While women are frequently associated with matters of the heart, we are often apt at leaving them at home and not bringing them to work.  Do our hearts even have a place in business?  This is a key question for business in the 21st century for both men and women. 
     For the many men on my list, don't click "delete" just yet.  While this article will deal with women leadership concerns, you might find some application that will serve you as well.
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Enjoy,
 
Laura
 
ps.  Check out my 5 star book review on Amazon!
Does your heart belong in business?
Yes, effective leadership requires heart!
 
     It seems that in the 80's and 90's, many of the leadership books directed at women spoke about women having a "natural" tendency towards leadership.  In fact, I was interviewed in a book published in 1991, "Star Teams Key Players"  by Michelle Jackman, which states that women are natural leaders because of their innate ability to work in teams.  Even though I had been identified as a "key player" in the book, I have never fully bought in to the idea that these "natural" talents are what get us ahead.
     To the contrary, I found that women who succeeded in corporate life had completely put aside their "natural" feminine attributes in order to succeed, especially their hearts.  Even more than their male counterparts.
     When you are in the minority, it doesn't help to be considered different. It takes a lot more courage and effort to stick out, especially when there is no proven track record that "different" will be rewarded.  Business has been a place where the heart and its many expressions were discouraged.  Therefore, many women became "little" men, or as I like to call it "she-men".  
     A "she-man"is a woman who has completely disconnected herself from her feminine attributes in the workplace, because she believes it has no purpose or value in business.  While I do believe this is particularly relevant for women, I have seem men suffer from this...leaving their heart-driven creativity, compassion and sensitivity at the door.
     Unfortunately, I believe that as women, we are often guilty of negatively judging these natural, feminine skills and as a result, we check them at the corporate door.   I know that I, and many other women I worked with had these judgments. The truth is that we need to embrace both feminine and masculine aspects in ourselves and in business in order to be fully successful.  You can't just engage the head and forget the heart!
      I came from a generation that believed the heart had no place in business.  This was true for both men and women.  I now understand how flawed this belief is.  Today, companies and businesses are looking for long-term sustainable results and innovative solutions.  They can't achieve this without engaged people. 
     Engagement is an emotional issue, not an intellectual one.  You can go to work with your head, but it isn't until your heart is engaged, that you can bring about superior and sustainable results.  You can't get passion, creativity and innovation without your heart being engaged.  Effective leadership requires an engaged heart.   
      I often say that business is personal, but don't take it personally.  While we do need to bring a humane aspect to work by bringing our hearts, we also need to keep our heads engaged and understand the business aspects are not personal.  This is the magical dance we must do between the management demands of the business and  the leadership demands of the people around us.   The problem is that business has been overly skewed to the management side of the equation and in order to accomplish sustainable results, businesses need some heart!  And it starts with everyone of us, women and men alike!    
      While women have made great strides in leadership and in business, we still have a long way to go.  In fact, according to Catalyst, the leading nonprofit corporate membership research and advisory organization that tracks the advancement of women in business, indicate we may have lost some traction vs. last year.  Their 2007 study reports the following:
  •  In 2007, women held 15.4 percent of corporate officer positions at Fortune 500 companies. This number was 15.6 percent in 2006.
  • Women held 6.7 percent of top earner positions. This number was the same in 2006.
  • The number of companies with no women corporate officers increased from 64 in 2006 to 74 in 2007.
  • The number of companies with three or more women board directors also decreased from 234 in 2006 to 203 in 2007.
  • The number of women in line positions decreased from 29.0 percent to 27.2 percent
  • The number of women in staff positions increased from 71.0 percent to 72.8 percent.

     I believe that if we embraced ourselves more fully and started to unapologetically bringing our full selves to work, that these numbers would naturally move in a more positive direction.  I think that  Lisa Heidle summarizes it nicely in a recent review of my book, "The Connected and Committed Leader."  

"Ms. Lopez's unique concept, using skills learned through parenting in the workplace, proposes a new perspective to an old argument: Do emotions and personal connections belong in the world of business? The author addresses both sides of the debate. "I came from a generation of both men and women who learned that hearts did not have a place in business. Showing any emotion was a sign of weakness; there was no place for it in the board room." The counterpoint, "Business is extremely up front and personal. People do business with people they like. People relate to and want to help other people they enjoy. People build trust with others who don't let them down. Business is very personal," offers a more modern and timely view on the discussion. With global competition at levels never before seen, offering more of yourself in a business relationship might be the very thing that sets you apart from others in your field."
 
Do you bring your heart to work?

    Effective leaders understand that leadership requires bringing our hearts to work.  Join Laura at her next workshop in Houston on March 22.  

Click here for more details and to register: www.Laura-Lopez.com/workshops.htm   
 
 Go to http://www.asklauralopez.com to post a question that I will answer via email and during my FREE teleseminars.
 
  Check out the Rave Reviews of Laura's book!!!


     Laura Lopez speaks to companies and business associations about Change, Leadership and Branding.  Go to http://www.Laura-Lopez.com for more information on how to bring Laura in to speak at your next meeting or conference.

 
 
 
All the best,
 
Laura Lopez
 
Laura Lopez & Company
www.Laura-Lopez.com
(713) 864-4633
toll free outside of Texas 1-800-861-4633