5 Coping Strategies for When You’re Feeling Anxious at Work

Smart, Sane, and Successful by Melody Wilding
Gina, a former colleague of mine, spent most of her career dreading work. She constantly worried about her performance and often felt overwhelmed by the pressures of her job. As Gina’s anxiety began to interfere with her work, causing her to lose focus and miss deadlines, it became clear she needed to get help.

Understanding the Important Distinction Between Community Association Managers and Property Managers

By John Ganoe, CAE, CAMICB Executive Director

A common mistake in state legislatures considering community association manager licensing – and among the general public – is to lump community association managers and property managers into the same bucket. While both are very important roles, they are distinctly different professions with functions, skill sets and responsibilities specific to each.

A community association manager can manage every type of community: condominium associations, homeowner associations, resort communities and commercial tenant associations.  A community association manager works directly with prcommunity-property-managementoperty owners and homeowners.

Property managers oversee individual rental units or a group of rental units, such as an apartment complex. They’re responsible for managing the entire property while community association managers are responsible for common areas – not individually owned properties.

“From a legislative standpoint, this incorrect categorization occurs because state legislators misunderstand the nature of community association management,” said Matthew Green, Director, State Affairs for the Community Associations Institute (CAI).  “They believe that community association management skills are identical to those of a property manager without recognizing the vastly different responsibilities of these two positions.”

This misunderstanding of the two professions often bleeds into more general conversations occurring in this space. Compounding this is the reality that there’s a slight overlap in a couple of the duties performed. For example, both property managers and community association managers supervise certain maintenance activities, such as swimming pool upkeep and trash removal. But it’s important to understand that community association managers oversee and direct all aspects of running the business operation. This means, they authorize payment for association services; develop budgets and present association financial reports to Board members; direct the enforcement of restrictive covenants; perform site inspections; solicit, evaluate and assist in insurance purchases; and, even supervise the design and delivery of association recreational programs.

Property managers are responsible for managing the actual property and therefore handle the physical assets of the unit at the owner’s request. Property managers generally oversee rental units and leases. Their responsibilities might include finding or evicting tenants, collecting rent and responding to tenant complaints or specific requests. If a property manager is responsible for a vacation or second home, he or she may arrange for services such as house sitting or local sub-contracting necessary to maintain that property.  Alternatively, an owner may opt to delegate specific tasks to a property manager and choose to handle other duties directly.

Stephanie Durner, CMCA, AMS, who is the Director of Community Management at River Landing, a private gated golf course community in Wallace, NC, views the distinction this way,

“While property managers are generally charged with overseeing physical structures that are used by people who are not the owners of the property, association managers represent the property owners themselves and are involved in just about every aspect of the overall community. For instance, if a garage door is broken at a rental house, the tenant would call a property manager or owner/landlord. But if there’s a pothole that needs repair or if a neighbor’s dog is running loose through the neighborhood, that’s a task for the community association manager who both maintains the common areas and upholds the governing rules. To me, community association management is a more holistic approach that contributes to the overall quality of life for all the owners in a community.”

Green emphasized, “While some job responsibilities are similar, community association managers have additional functions. It’s critical that community association management be recognized as distinct from property management, because association management requires a wider variety of knowledge and skills.”

“Because of this, the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB) offers and maintains the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) credential, the only international certification program designed exclusively for managers of homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives,” added Sara Duginske, MS, CAMICB’s Director of Credentialing Services. “Earning the CMCA credential means an individual has taken and passed the rigorous CMCA examination, proving they have a solid understanding of the business operations involved in being a community association manager.”

For community association managers, the bottom line is they understand and are experienced and knowledgeable in the many facets of running a business operation, assuring they provide the best possible service to the associations for which they are responsible.

CAMICB was established in 1995 to develop and administer the CMCA program. CAMICB insists on high ethical standards for community association managers because it not only strengthens the CMCA program, but protects consumers and associations that hire community association managers.

10 Habits That Will Dramatically Improve Your Life

 In Hans Christian Andersen’s fable The Red Shoes, a young girl longs for a pair of pretty red shoes. She ultimately tricks the blind woman who cares for her into buying her a pair. Her love for the red shoes causes her to give them priority over the more important things in her life, and, as often happens in fables, karma is not on her side. The shoes become firmly stuck to her feet and force her to dance non-stop, to the point where she almost dies from exhaustion and starvation.

We can scoff at the little girl’s foolishness, but, in real life, we often do the same thing — we chase after the things that we think will make us happy and don’t realize that we’re heading down a dangerous path.One study found that the people who experience the greatest job satisfaction aren’t the ones in the big, fancy offices; they’re the ones who approach their work as a calling, even when that work involves menial labor.
Another study found that simply seeing fast-food logos makes people impatient. It’s not that there’s some intrinsic characteristic of fast food that makes people impatient; it’s the habits we’ve come to associate with fast food, such as always being on the run, eating on the go, and never slowing down enough to enjoy a healthy meal, that bring out our impatience.
We have to be very careful in choosing our pursuits, because our habits make us. Cultivating the habits that follow will send you in the right direction. They’ll help you to lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life, whereby you cultivate the best within yourself.

1. Stay away from people who erode your quality of life

If merely seeing a logo for a fast-food company can make you feel impatient, just think how much more impact a toxic person can have on your life. They might be unhappy about your decision to stay away from them, and they might tell you very loudly just how unhappy they are, but isn’t avoiding them worth the cumulative effects of years of their negative influence? There are always going to be toxic people who have a way of getting under your skin and staying there. Each time you find yourself thinking about a coworker or person who makes your blood boil, practice being grateful for someone else in your life instead. There are plenty of people out there who deserve your attention, and the last thing you want to do is think about the people who don’t matter.

2. No more phone, tablet, or computer in bed

This is a big one, which most people don’t even realize harms their sleep and productivity. Short-wavelength blue light plays an important role in determining your mood, energy level, and sleep quality. In the morning, sunlight contains high concentrations of this blue light. When your eyes are exposed to it directly, it halts production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and makes you feel alert. In the afternoon, the sun’s rays lose their blue light, which allows your body to produce melatonin and this starts making you sleepy. By the evening, your brain doesn’t expect any blue light exposure and is very sensitive to it. Most of our favorite evening devices—laptops, tablets, and mobile phones—emit short-wavelength blue light brightly and right in your face. This exposure impairs melatonin production and interferes with your ability to fall asleep, as well as with the quality of your sleep once you do nod off. As we’ve all experienced, poor nights’ sleep has disastrous effects. The best thing you can do is to avoid these devices after dinner (television is OK for most people, as long as they sit far enough away from the set).

3. Appreciate the here and now 

Gratitude is fundamental to peace and happiness—not wealth, glamour, adventure, or fast cars, but simple appreciation for what you have. Just because you can’t afford champagne and caviar doesn’t mean that you never enjoy a meal. Hot dogs and beer on the back deck with your friends taste just as good. So, don’t fool yourself into thinking that you need something that you don’t currently have in order to be happy, because the truth is that if you can’t appreciate what you have now, you won’t be able to appreciate the “good life” if you ever get it.

4. Realize that things aren’t always as you perceive them to be

This goes along with appreciating the here and now. That person you envy because they seem to have the perfect life might be dealing with all kinds of problems behind closed doors. That “perfection” could be a total mirage. Your employer’s decision to move the office might seem like a huge hassle when you first hear about it, but it could end up being one of the best things that ever happens to you. You’re not omniscient and you’re not a fortune-teller, so be open to the possibility that life might have some surprises in store, because what you see is not always what you get.

5. Get started, even though you might fail

Most writers spend countless hours brainstorming their characters and plots, and they even write page after page that they know they’ll never include in the books. They do this because they know that ideas need time to develop. We tend to freeze up when it’s time to get started because we know that our ideas aren’t perfect and that what we produce might not be any good. But how can you ever produce something great if you don’t get started and give your ideas time to evolve? Author Jodi Picoult summarized the importance of avoiding perfectionism perfectly: “You can edit a bad page, but you can’t edit a blank page.”

6. Get organized

People joke about new ideas being in short supply, but I think that the one resource that’s really scarce is spare time. Do you know anybody who has some? Yet we waste so much of it by not being organized. We touch things two or three times before we do something with them (like tossing the mail down on the counter then moving it to the table so we can cook dinner) and once we’ve put them away, we spend even more time looking for them. Have a place for all of those little things you need to take care of when you get a minute, whether it’s your child’s permission slip for a field trip or an overdue bill, and then get to them in a timely manner; otherwise you’ll be searching through a huge stack of stuff for the one thing you need.

7. Start a collection of the things that truly resonate with you

Have you ever come across a quote or a meme that so perfectly summed up your feelings that you wanted to keep it forever? You know that it’s in one of those coats you wore five winters ago, and you really hope it’s not the one you gave to Goodwill. When you come across something that resonates with you — whether it’s something that expresses who you are or who you want to be — have a central place to keep those gems. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a spiral notebook, a leather binder, or a folder on Evernote, have a place to collect the things that matter so that you can revisit them regularly.

We all joke about having “me” time, but what is that, really? It’s making time for those activities that we feel most authentically ourselves doing, when all the masks are off and we can just be. Whether it’s going for a run or dancing around with your 80s favorites blaring at top volume, make time for those moments. They’re incredibly rejuvenating.

9. Say no

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression, all of which erode self-control. Saying no is indeed a major self-control challenge for many people. “No” is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them. Just remind yourself that saying no is an act of self-control now that will increase your future self-control by preventing the negative effects of over commitment.

10. Stick to realistic goals

How many people start January by proclaiming, “I’m going to lose 30 pounds by March!”? Big, scary, crazy goals can be incredibly inspiring—until you fall short, and then, instead of inspiration, you’re left with disappointment and guilt. I’m certainly not suggesting that you stop setting goals that push and challenge you, just that you try to stick within the bounds of reality.

Bringing it all together

Your character is determined by your attitude and how you spend your time, and so is happiness. Stop chasing the things that you think will make you happy, and start realizing that your peace and happiness are entirely up to you.

Travis Bradberry is the co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart.

This column first appeared at LinkedIn.

Why You Should Write a Career Mantra

Photo by Kaboompics.com

So there’s this largely forgotten film from 1999 called Bowfinger. Seen it? In the film (and most things he’s starred in, actually), Eddie Murphy’s character, Kit Ramsey, has loads of issues.
Whenever he’s spiraling towards a breakdown, Kit’s therapist suggests that he calm himself by repeating a personal mantra: “Keep it together. Keep it together. Keep it together.” K-I-T.
Maybe because I happen to share a first name with Eddie’s character, every time I hear the word “mantra,” I think of that scene — and a little part of me squirms. To me, a personal mantra has always sounded life coachy, cheesy, even cultish. When I imagine the sorts of people who have one, I don’t think of creative, interesting women — I think of strangely ageless dudes who do a lot of yoga in white linen.

So let me clarify: under no accounts am I about to ask you to write a personal mantra. No judgment if you want one, just maybe do it on your own time. Instead, I’m suggesting you create a career mantra for yourself.

It just takes three simple steps — no yoga or weird voodoo rituals necessary.

Step 1: Start thinking of yourself as a brand

Just like Apple and Coca-Cola, you are your own brand. (After all, that’s where the term “personal branding” comes from). If that sounds inauthentic or salesy, consider this: every time you write a cover letter or sit down for an interview, you’re selling your skills, services, and personal qualities.

So before writing your career mantra, you’re going to need to start thinking like a marketer and of yourself as the product. While it may be easier for a graphic designer to think of herself as a one-woman company or “brand,” this perspective isn’t limited to an elite crowd of creatives. You too can be your own brand, even if your ultimate goal is to work in finance.

Step 2: Learn what a company mantra is

Every brand relies on a mantra to express their core values and guide their big-picture decisions. Think of Federal Express’ “Peace of mind,” Apple’s “Think different” or Contently’s “Be awesome.” (A good rule for work and life, really.)

Since we’ve now established you are also a brand, you’ll need your own mantra. But first, let’s break down what a company mantra is — and what it’s not. Step back from any stereotypes you might have in mind. It’s not a yogi mantra or self-help slogan. And it’s not a mission statement. According to Guy Kawasaki, those run long (often unnecessarily so), whereas “a mantra is 3-4 words long. Tops.” Given that he was the guy behind the marketing for the original iMac, we’ll take his word for it.

For a heavier breakdown of brand mantras, try this, this, or this. But really, it’s pretty simple. A mantra defines a company’s values and goals in a single breath. Your career mantra shouldn’t make you think. It should make you feel.

Step 3: Create your own career mantra

Your turn! Now that we’ve established that you’re a brand and defined what a brand mantra is, it’s time for us to discuss how to actually write one for yourself, the best brand of all.

1. Consider Your Values

What are your biggest strengths, and what do you value you most about your work? Your organization? Your integrity? Your innovation? Use those qualities to make a list of power words that you associate with yourself and how you’d like your career to evolve.

2. What Problem Can You Solve?

This is maybe a glaringly obvious statement, but people hire you to help them solve the problems that they can’t or don’t feel like fixing by themselves. So, when writing your mantra, think about how your strengths can provide a service to your employers, coworkers, and the public. What’s the big picture problem you’d like to solve in your career? Consider ways to fold those answers into your mantra.

3. Make It Actionable

Once you write your mantra, cross-check it. Make sure it’s an actionable statement that you can use as a roadmap moving forward.

When you’re presented with a new opportunity, refer back to that mantra to determine whether it aligns with your core values and future goals. Does that job offer check the boxes? Or does it just mean more money? Especially if you’re caught in that classic “passion versus paycheck” debate, your mantra can give you the confidence to walk away from a bad fit.

By Kit Warchol for www.theladders.com.

CMCA Recertification – Oct. 1 Deadline

CAMICB sent reminder notices to CMCAs who need to recertify and/or pay their annual service fee by October 1, 2018. Here are a few helpful links:

A few things to note:

1.    It is the responsibility of each CMCA to provide documentation of their 16 hours of continuing education at the time of recertification. CAMICB does not track your CEs. If you took a class with CAI, please go to www.caionline.org to print out a certificate of completion.

2.    Only courses completed between October 1, 2016 and October 1, 2018 count as continuing education.

3.    An active AMS, PCAM, FL CAM, NV CAM or NAHC-RCM satisfies the continuing education requirement. Check option 1 on line item #4 of the Recertification Application to receive credit.

4.    Credit hours may be earned only for education that pertains to community association operations or management and/or contributes to the professional development of the CMCA.

5.    The CMCA Annual Service Fee is $105.00. Oftentimes this fee is confused with CAI’s individual manager membership. While CAMICB maintains an affiliate relationship with CAI, we are an independent credentialing body: separately incorporated, governed by an independent Board of Trustees, and guided in the administration of our program by the standards of our accrediting body, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. We are not a membership organization; we do not collect membership dues. We assess our credential holders an annual maintenance fee which is used to support the development and delivery of our core exam and the operation of our program in accordance with best practices in professional credentialing.

Still have questions? Contact CAMICB at info@camicb.org or take advantage of the upcoming program CMCA Recertification Notice – Free Webinar on September 6, beginning at 2:00 p.m. EST. Register Today


Study: Your Partner’s Cell Phone Use Might Be Dragging Down Your Career

Your spouse answering his boss’s call at home could be wrecking your career.

A new study in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that a spouse’s cell phone use at home can lead to a lower sense of job performance and satisfaction for their partner.

The study surveyed 344 married couples who worked full-time about their mobile phone use. The partners who watched their spouses use a smart device during family time at home reported lower job satisfaction and rated themselves as weaker performers at work.

So why does our partner’s phone scrolling impact us at work?

The study suggested that using smartphones during family time created relationship tension that “spills over to work outcomes for the spouse in the form of reduced job satisfaction and performance.”

What employers can do

The researchers suggest that employers can avoid productivity and employee engagement losses by keeping their professional interactions to work hours.

“It’s really no surprise that conflict was created when a spouse is using a mobile device at home,” Wayne Crawford, one of the study’s authors, said. “They’re sometimes engaging in work activities during family time. What that ultimately leads to, though, is trouble at work for both spouses. So, whether companies care or don’t care about employees being plugged in, those firms need to know that the relationship tension created by their interaction with their employees during non-work hours ultimately leads to work-life trouble.”

When you contact your employee after hours, recognize that this decision is likely to negatively impact their personal life, creating a negative mood that they are going to carry with them the next day at work.

The research behind how technology at work can hurt us

Research has found that mindlessly using technology can negatively impact employees. Our devices are addictive, and when we see our coworkers holding them in their hands, we feel like they’re too distracted to listen to us. One study found that employees who saw their bosses holding their phones in work interactions felt snubbed by them and said that they did not trust their boss to support them.

 This study takes that research one step further, showing us how technology at work can impact both professional and personal relationships. When you bring your work home with you, the decision will not only affect you, it may professionally affect your partner as well.

The bottom line

Looking at your phone at home in front of your spouse can signal to your partner that your phone is the most important relationship in the room.

By Monica Torres for www.theladders.com.

10 Things Smart People Never Say

 These phrases carry special power: They have an uncanny ability to make you look bad even when the words are true. Worst of all, there’s no taking them back once they slip out.

I’m not talking about shocking slips of the tongue, off-color jokes, or politically incorrect faux pas. These aren’t the only ways to make yourself look bad. Often it’s the subtle remarks — the ones that paint us as incompetent and unconfident — that do the most damage.

No matter how talented you are or what you’ve accomplished, there are certain phrases that instantly change the way people see you and can forever cast you in a negative light. These phrases are so loaded with negative implications that they undermine careers in short order.

“This is the way it’s always been done”

Technology-fueled change is happening so fast that even a six-month-old process could be outdated. Saying this is the way it’s always been done not only makes you sound lazy and resistant to change, but it could make your boss wonder why you haven’t tried to improve things on your own. If you really are doing things the way they’ve always been done, there’s almost certainly a better way.

“It’s not my fault”

It’s never a good idea to cast blame. Be accountable. If you had any role — no matter how small — in whatever went wrong, own it. If not, offer an objective, dispassionate explanation of what happened. Stick to the facts, and let your boss and colleagues draw their own conclusions about who’s to blame. The moment you start pointing fingers is the moment people start seeing you as someone who lacks accountability for their actions. This makes people nervous. Some will avoid working with you altogether, and others will strike first and blame you when something goes wrong.

“I can’t”

I can’t is it’s not my fault’s twisted sister. People don’t like to hear I can’t because they think it means I won’t. Saying I can’t suggests that you’re not willing to do what it takes to get the job done. If you really can’t do something because you truly lack the necessary skills, you need to offer an alternative solution. Instead of saying what you can’t do, say what you can do. For example, instead of saying “I can’t stay late tonight,” say “I can come in early tomorrow morning. Will that work?” Instead of “I can’t run those numbers,” say “I don’t yet know how to run that type of analysis. Is there someone who can show me so that I can do it on my own next time?”

“It’s not fair”

Everyone knows that life isn’t fair. Saying it’s not fair suggests that you think life is supposed to be fair, which makes you look immature and naïve. If you don’t want to make yourself look bad, you need to stick to the facts, stay constructive, and leave your interpretation out of it. For instance, you could say, “I noticed that you assigned Ann that big project I was hoping for. Would you mind telling me what went into that decision? I’d like to know why you thought I wasn’t a good fit, so that I can work on improving those skills.”

“That’s not in my job description”

This often sarcastic phrase makes you sound as though you’re only willing to do the bare minimum required to keep getting a paycheck, which is a bad thing if you like job security. If your boss asks you to do something that you feel is inappropriate for your position (as opposed to morally or ethically inappropriate), the best move is to complete the task eagerly. Later, schedule a conversation with your boss to discuss your role in the company and whether your job description needs an update. This ensures that you avoid looking petty. It also enables you and your boss to develop a long-term understanding of what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

“This may be a silly idea/I’m going to ask a stupid question”

These overly passive phrases instantly erode your credibility. Even if you follow these phrases with a great idea, they suggest that you lack confidence, which makes the people you’re speaking to lose confidence in you. Don’t be your own worst critic. If you’re not confident in what you’re saying, no one else will be either. And, if you really don’t know something, say, “I don’t have that information right now, but I’ll find out and get right back to you.”

“I’ll try”

Just like the word think, try sounds tentative and suggests that you lack confidence in your ability to execute the task. Take full ownership of your capabilities. If you’re asked to do something, either commit to doing it or offer an alternative, but don’t say that you’ll try because it sounds like you won’t try all that hard.


“This will only take a minute”

Saying that something only takes a minute undermines your skills and gives the impression that you rush through tasks. Unless you’re literally going to complete the task in 60 seconds, feel free to say that it won’t take long, but don’t make it sound as though the task can be completed any sooner than it can actually be finished.

“I hate this job”

The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much they hate their job. Doing so labels you as a negative person and brings down the morale of the group. Bosses are quick to catch on to naysayers who drag down morale, and they know that there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.

“He’s lazy/incompetent/a jerk”

There is no upside to making a disparaging remark about a colleague. If your remark is accurate, everybody already knows it, so there’s no need to point it out. If your remark is inaccurate, you’re the one who ends up looking like a jerk. There will always be rude or incompetent people in any workplace, and chances are that everyone knows who they are. If you don’t have the power to help them improve or to fire them, then you have nothing to gain by broadcasting their ineptitude. Announcing your colleague’s incompetence comes across as an insecure attempt to make you look better. Your callousness will inevitably come back to haunt you in the form of your coworkers’ negative opinions of you.

Bringing it all together

These phrases have a tendency to sneak up on you, so you’re going to have to catch yourself until you’ve solidified the habit of not saying them.

Travis Bradberry is the co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmartThis article first appeared at LinkedIn.

How Associations Can Become Expert Storytellers


(bmelofo/iStock/Getty Images Plus) 

A new whitepaper from the Atlanta chapter of the American Marketing Association points to the importance of storytelling as a marketing tool. One marcomm expert discusses takeaways from the whitepaper and how associations can use them to improve their storytelling skills.

The Atlanta chapter of the American Marketing Association recently released a whitepaper called “Storytelling 2020: What You Need to Know About Storytelling in Marketing.”

According to the whitepaper, storytelling allows brands “to foster engagement in ways that inspire consumers to take action, whether it be a click, like or purchase. Even more, it creates an evolving narrative that naturally connects with consumers, adding value to—and ultimately becoming part of—their everyday lives.”

Although the Storytelling 2020 whitepaper is geared toward for-profit marketers, Associations Now spoke with Kate Sigety, senior manager of strategic messaging at the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, about some of the takeaways from the whitepaper that apply to associations.

Find your authentic voice. One of the whitepaper’s key takeaways was the importance of being an authentic storyteller.  “It’s very easy to push out messaging, but to truly find your authentic voice, you have to start by listening to these audiences, whether it’s at your annual meeting or on social media or your member’s only community,” Sigety said. “Listen to your key audiences and identify their key values and challenges, and I think this will help associations to truly and effectively craft a genuine voice that will best serve their members and their needs.”

Listen to your audience. According to Sigety, the profusion of online platforms makes the job of listening to your audience a little easier. “It will help you identify what topics your audience really values, and then you can start tracking those online interactions, and it will allow you to analyze patterns and use that data to drive your storytelling,” she said. “That way, you’re not just trying different messages—you’re backed up by the data and what your members are saying.”

Build your story from your mission. Knowing your mission and vision as a brand is critical to effectively storytelling, according to the whitepaper. The same is true for associations, said Sigety. “When you’re telling your association’s story, instead of promoting just a specific product or benefit, you can use your vision or mission to help guide your messaging, and it helps you remember that stories are about people—not just your mission, so finding members who help make your association’s cause and mission come to life,” she said. “That will be the story that resonates.”

Create a journey map. The whitepaper recommends that brands create a customer journey map to have a better understanding of how customers interact with their brand. Sigety said associations can use this tactic, too. “When I think about associations, we’re not just selling a product, we’re helping members excel in their careers,” she said. “And hopefully, we want to keep our members for their lifetime, so I think another key strategy that will help associations better understand their members’ journey is creating a map that follows their career journey.”

By for Associations Now, a publication of the American Society of Association Executives.

Lead Like a Woman

7 Traits of Successful Female Leaders

I’m certain we’ve all met confident women throughout our lives. These women command a room and they leave you wanting to know more about them. They usually leave a good impression and they inspire positive action within their circles of influence.But what makes these women special? What makes them stand out from the crowd? I’ve been researching these women for years. From Oprah Winfrey to Coco Chanel to Indira Ghandi and Melinda Gates, these women have strength and that certain indefinable ‘something’ that creates loyalty and makes you want to follow their lead.

So, what are those characteristics or traits that make those leaders stand out? Can we isolate them to emulate them? I think we can.

Here are the seven traits I have been able to identify that strong female leaders possess:

1.      She uses her power for good. All great leaders are humane and helpful. Their life work makes a difference to other individuals. They seek opportunities to make the world around them better, making a difference to other individuals. Whether they do so by mentoring another woman in their team and helping them achieve their own goals, or fighting for human rights, they are selfless and share their talent with others. Their purpose in being humble and helpful is always marked by giving others, including themselves, a sense of hope and inspiration.

2.      She seeks and receives support. No one can do it alone. There is strength in being vulnerable, in being human. Leaders who are conscious and interested in continuous personal and professional growth, and who courageously ask for and openly receive support are stronger.

3.      She never gives up. Despite failures and losses, strong female leaders focus on staying positive. A leader who knows what she wants is always determined and does not let temporary difficulties hinder her from achieving her goals or fulfilling her mission and purpose. She believes in herself. Through trials and difficulties, she develops the greatest gifts she has to offer for making an impact on the lives of others.

4.      She is confident. Confidence is a belief in your ability to succeed; a belief that you do something well. People love confident leaders because they give us a feeling of trust, and everyone wants to follow a leader who they can trust. You either have confidence, or you will have to develop confidence within yourself to become truly successful.

5.      She is optimistic. Most people cannot follow a pessimistic leader. Why would we? Strong, successful female leaders articulate a vision and boldly move towards that vision with positive energy. Optimism is the ability to go forward with hope and confidence. Successful outcomes begin with optimism.

6.      She is authentic. Successful female leaders do not copy others. Rather, they create extraordinary results through authenticity, a personal style and a forged consistency to showcasing their unique talents. These leaders tend to learn from others around them, yet manage to remain true to themselves, their values, and how they want to be seen in the world, and by other people.

7.      She has a strong and powerful voice. Female leaders have a willingness to speak their truth and be heard, even if the message may not neatly align with the status quo or be of popular opinion. They are careful with their words, but know that their own voice is, ultimately, their most powerful tool to create change.

Successful, strategic female leaders are sure of themselves. They may not have always been that way. The road was likely long and difficult to get to where they are now. However, with time, patience, and owning their own stories, they have emerged to help create change in the world. It took mindfulness and practice and so if they could do it, so can we.

Motivate. Inspire. Persuade. Communicate. There is power in bringing your message to life visually. At Artitudes, we specialize in adding that power to your message. Artitudes Design Inc. is a full-service graphic design firm based in the Seattle area.

11 habits of ridiculously likeable people

Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that being likeable comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few — the good looking, the fiercely social, and the incredibly talented. It’s easy to fall prey to this misconception.
When I speak to smaller audiences, I often ask them to describe the most likeable people they have ever worked with. People inevitably ignore innate characteristics (intelligence, extraversion, attractiveness, and so on) and instead focus on qualities that are completely under people’s control, such as approachability, humility, and positivity.These qualities, and others like them, describe people who are skilled in emotional intelligence (EQ). TalentSmart research data from more than a million people shows that people who possess these skills aren’t just highly likeable, they outperform those who don’t by a large margin. Ninety percent of top performers have high EQs, people with high EQs make $29,000 more annually than people with low EQs, and a single-point increase in your EQ adds $1,300 to your salary. I could go on and on.

Being likeable is under your control, and it’s a matter of emotional intelligence. Unlike innate, fixed characteristics, such as your intelligence (IQ), EQ is a flexible skill that you can improve with effort.

To help you improve your EQ, I did some digging to uncover the key behaviors that emotionally intelligent people engage in that make them so likeable.

They are genuine

Being genuine and honest is essential to being likeable. No one likes a fake. People gravitate toward those who are genuine because they know they can trust them. It is difficult to like someone when you don’t know who they really are and how they really feel.

Likeable people know who they are. They are confident enough to be comfortable in their own skin. By concentrating on what drives you and makes you happy as an individual, you become a much more interesting person than if you attempt to win people over by making choices that you think will make them like you.

They ask thoughtful questions

The biggest mistake people make when it comes to listening is they’re so focused on what they’re going to say next or how what the other person is saying is going to affect them that they fail to hear what’s being said. The words come through loud and clear, but the meaning is lost. A simple way to avoid this is to ask a lot of questions. People like to know you’re listening, and something as simple as a clarification question shows that not only are you listening, you also care about what they’re saying. You’ll be surprised how much respect and appreciation you gain just by asking questions.

They don’t pass judgment

If you want to be likeable you must be open-minded. Being open-minded makes you approachable and interesting to others. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who has already formed an opinion and is not willing to listen.

Having an open mind is crucial in the workplace where approachability means access to new ideas and help. To eliminate preconceived notions and judgment, you need to see the world through other people’s eyes. This doesn’t require you believe what they believe or condone their behavior, it simply means you quit passing judgment long enough to truly understand what makes them tick. Only then can you let them be who they are.

They don’t seek attention

People are averse to those who are desperate for attention. You don’t need to develop a big, extroverted personality to be likeable. Simply being friendly and considerate is all you need to win people over. When you speak in a friendly, confident, and concise manner, you will notice that people are much more attentive and persuadable than if you try to show them you’re important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than what—or how many people—you know.

When you’re being given attention, such as when you’re being recognized for an accomplishment, shift the focus to all the people who worked hard to help you get there. This may sound cliché, but if it’s genuine, the fact that you pay attention to others and appreciate their help will show that you’re appreciative and humble—two adjectives that are closely tied to likeability.

They are consistent

Few things make you more unlikeable than when you’re all over the place. When people approach you, they like to know whom they’re dealing with and what sort of response they can expect. To be consistent you must be reliable, and you must ensure that even when your mood goes up and down it doesn’t affect how you treat other people.

They use positive body language

Becoming cognizant of your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice (and making certain they’re positive) will draw people to you like ants to a picnic. Using an enthusiastic tone, uncrossing your arms, maintaining eye contact, and leaning towards the person who’s speaking are all forms of positive body language that high-EQ people use to draw others in. Positive body language can make all the difference in a conversation.

It’s true that how you say something can be more important than what you say.

They leave a strong first impression

Research shows most people decide whether or not they like you within the first seven seconds of meeting you. They then spend the rest of the conversation internally justifying their initial reaction. This may sound terrifying, but by knowing this you can take advantage of it to make huge gains in your likeability. First impressions are tied intimately to positive body language. Strong posture, a firm handshake, smiling, and opening your shoulders to the person you are talking to will help ensure that your first impression is a good one.

They greet people by name

Your name is an essential part of your identity, and it feels terrific when people use it. Likeable people make certain they use others’ names every time they see them. You shouldn’t use someone’s name only when you greet him. Research shows that people feel validated when the person they’re speaking with refers to them by name during a conversation.

If you’re great with faces but have trouble with names, have some fun with it and make remembering people’s names a brain exercise. When you meet someone, don’t be afraid to ask her name a second time if you forget it right after you hear it. You’ll need to keep her name handy if you’re going to remember it the next time you see her.

They smile

People naturally (and unconsciously) mirror the body language of the person they’re talking to. If you want people to like you, smile at them during a conversation and they will unconsciously return the favor and feel good as a result.

They know who to touch (and they touch them)

When you touch someone during a conversation, you release oxytocin in their brain, a neurotransmitter that makes their brain associate you with trust and a slew of other positive feelings. A simple touch on the shoulder, a hug, or a friendly handshake is all it takes to release oxytocin. Of course, you have to touch the right person in the right way to release oxytocin, as unwanted or inappropriate touching has the opposite effect. Just remember, relationships are built not just from words, but also from general feelings about each other. Touching someone appropriately is a great way to show you care.

They balance passion and fun

People gravitate toward those who are passionate. That said, it’s easy for passionate people to come across as too serious or uninterested because they tend to get absorbed in their work. Likeable people balance their passion with the ability to have fun. At work they are serious, yet friendly. They still get things done because they are socially effective in short amounts of time and they capitalize on valuable social moments. They minimize small talk and gossip and instead focus on having meaningful interactions with their coworkers. They remember what you said to them yesterday or last week, which shows that you’re just as important to them as their work.

Bringing It All Together

Likeable people are invaluable and unique. They network with ease, promote harmony in the workplace, bring out the best in everyone around them, and generally seem to have the most fun. Add these skills to your repertoire and watch your likeability soar!

By Travis Bradberry, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart.