Coffee Break: Is It OK to Tell White Lies at Work?

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Is it OK to tell white lies at work - Photo: http://www.skepticalob.com Is it OK to tell white lies at work – Photo: http://www.skepticalob.com/caption

Sooo we’d all agree that honesty is the best policy. Yet, at work, where many times we tend to wear the professional mask and wonder if we can truly be ourselves, do most people consider it’s the best policy? Or rather, is a little fib here and there necessary to maintain strong relationships at work? After all, telling your boss her hair is a hot mess right before your annual performance review, not a great idea!

How about calling in sick because your grandmother passed away…for the fifth time this year? Truth is, lying at work happens. And there are just instances where it seems you can’t avoid it, like when you have to think about telling your boss you have menstrual cramps and cannot come in to work? After all, didn’t some of the biggest names in business lie through their teeth at some point to cover up fraudulent tactics (hello Bernie Madoff) and make the bottom line look better than it actually was (hmmm Enron)?

My $0.05: Lying at work is dangerous. Period. Never mind if it’s a white, black or brown lie. If you can’t tell the truth, just smile and say it’s personal. Or just smile and say nothing.

The Corporate Sis.

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Work It: Collarless Seamed Jacket

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Collarless seamed jacket - $99.99 - Photo: macys.com

Collarless seamed jacket – $99.99 – Photo: macys.com

Now this is what you call a statement jacket! This Tahari ASL Collarless seamed jacket in citron just adds the right amount of punch to any work ensemble. Loving the bright color and open front of this jacket, which is a great alternative to the sometimes boring sea of black, grey and nude of the Fall…This jacket is on sale for $99.99 at Macy’s.

I love the pleated pencil skirt this jacket has been paired with on the model, also available at Macy’s for $69. While I’d keep the jewelry minimal and the rest of the ensemble black to let the bursting color of this jacket shine, I’d merchandise it with these reasonably priced blue pumps, or these more expensive ones, or even these Manolo Blahniks of blue pumps (hello Carrie)! For the most conservative among us, these low Stuart Weitzmann pumps will surely do!

Want to suggest some fashion picks you’d like me to feature? Email me at corporate@thecorporatesister.com or leave a comment!

The Corporate Sis.

 

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When Language is A Barrier to Success at Work…

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When language is a barrier to success - Photo: http://www.ohiomsc.org When language is a barrier to success – Photo: http://www.ohiomsc.org/caption

In today’s “global marketplace”, we are bound to work with professionals who do not necessarily share the same language as us. From working with multi-national teams, to immersing ourselves into different cultures, breaking the language barrier at work can be tricky. And very often, we are pushed outside of our comfort zones.

English is not my first language, as I grew up speaking mostly French. Working and evolving in places spanning Africa, Europe and the Americas has taught me about the power of language at work. Not just from the surface-level sense of diversity, but from a deeper, more personal sense of self.

As reported by the January 2014 issue of the Journal of International Business Studies, language barriers influence how multi-national team members are perceived, mostly in terms of trustworthiness. And really, without trust, how successful can our work within a team environment, be?

So how do we prevent language from being a success barrier at work?

1. Respect is KEY! I’ve seen many multi-national and diverse teams struggle at work due to an inherent lack of respect for others’ cultures and languages. Before starting work, be aware of the language and cultural differences within your team. Educate yourself on these, even if by just asking questions, and strive to respect differences!

2. Rules, rules, rules! Set rules for working in environments where language may be a barrier. From asking team members to speak slowly so as to be better understood, to limiting interruptions, set some ground rules!

3. If possible, meet in person! Trust is a great antidote to language barriers. Meeting in person, or at the least via video conferencing, allows to establish this trust!

4. Check on the progress! Make sure to ask how things are going, and if team members are feeling lost or out of touch. Express your own confusion if necessary, and seek clear answers!

5. Last but not least, be patient! Language is a strong barrier to success at work. While it can certainly be mitigated, it requires work and time.

Have you ever dealt with language as a barrier to career success?

The Corporate Sis.

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Coffee Break: Should you ignore co-workers’ friend requests on Facebook?

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Should you ignore your co-worker's friend request on Facebook - Photo credit: levo.com

Should you ignore your co-worker’s friend request on Facebook – Photo credit: levo.com

It happened…Your co-worker sent you a friend invite on Facebook, and you wish you hadn’t seen it…Now you’re thinking about all the not-so-kosher posts on your Facebook timeline, the “interesting” girls night out photos, and how much of your life you really want people at work to know…Plus, as much as your co-workers may be on the nice side, these days you never really know how cray-cray someone is until you land on their social media page…And then, it kinda is a bit late to backtrack…

And these situations are even all the more challenging when your potential new Facebook friend is your boss! I mean, refusing your boss’s Facebook friend request could potentially be more awkward than revealing how much you really spend on shoes (let’s not even go there!). So, to ignore or not to ignore?

My $0.05: I generally have it as a rule not to friend co-workers or bosses. While connecting on Linked In is recommended, other social media platforms can be reserved to our private lives. As to ignoring a co-worker, or even worse, your boss’s friend’s request on Facebook, I would not, just for the simple reason you’re bound to run into them at work. Just send them a nice email, or nicely explain to them you’d prefer to connect on LinkedIn. And if you succumb to the pressure and do accept their requests, you may always use your privacy settings, at your own risk.

 

Have you friended your co-workers on Facebook, or ignored their requests?

The Corporate Sis.

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Work It: Ruched-Side Dress

Jersey Ruched-side dress - $62.30 - Photo credit: www.lastcall.com Jersey Ruched-side dress – $62.30 – Photo credit: http://www.lastcall.com/caption

 

This Catherine Malandrino ruched-side dress has flair! I particularly love the twist and draping effect on its right side, along with its tulip hem, both of which take this dress from ordinary to wow! The three-quarter sleeves are very season-appropriate and extremely chic! This dress is also on sale at Neiman Marcus Last Call for $62.30 (down from $128)! I’d pair this amazing dress with this “Parisian-chic-meets-over-the-top” Betsey Johnson grosgrain woven bow duffel bag, and these Charles David gray suede pointy-toe pumps for a jazzy yet elegant look! Can you say impeccable? Pssttt…Last Day’s 30% sale is ending today, so take advantage of the discounts! Seen a great work piece you’d like me to feature? Please email me at corporate@thecorporatesister.com, or leave a comment! The Corporate Sis.

So what do you think? Leave a comment and let me know!

How to Work With a Control Freak

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How to work with a control freak - Photo credit: human capitalist.com

How to work with a control freak – Photo credit: human capitalist.com

We’ve all been there, at some point or another, working for or reporting to a control freak. These are the people who live to micro-manage us, or in other words drive us bonkers from repeating the same instructions in three different ways in the same sentence, constantly watching over our shoulders and bombarding us with the same repetitive and unproductive questions…

I’ve dealt with my share of control freaks at work. And one of the reasons I have is because, as a perfectionist-in-progress, I can relate. Controllers try to dictate what everyone else is supposed to do, be and/or feel. In their eyes, their opinion is always the only valid one, especially since they have an opinion about anything and everything. “You should format your presentation this way”, or ” I’ll tell you how to tackle this project”, or even “I’ll show you the right way to do this”.

So much so that control freaks tend to do the job themselves, because after all, they could do it best. When faced with the overly critical, to the point of being judgmental, responses of controlling personalities at work, there a few effective ways to cope, and even improve the situation:

1. Maintain a reasonable, yet effective, distance! For control freaks at work, everything is priority! Hence the heightened sense of urgency experienced around these types of personalities at work. To protect yourself from internalizing the resulting borderline aggressive mood, keep a professional distance that will keep you calm and centered….even in the midst of the “control” storm!

2. Watch your response! Remember controlling personalities derive an emotional “high” out of your own heightened reactions! So instead of reacting and showing emotional agitation, nervousness or defensiveness, carefully listen, and come back with relevant questions. Showing you’ve heard them and that you’re focused on solving problems instead of escalating them will disarm them! And if that doesn’t work, confront them about their behavior in a calm yet firm manner: “Thank you for your suggestions, yet I’d like to express mine as well”.

3. Show compassion! Compassion may be the last thing you may want to show a control freak obsessing over your grammar, I know! Yet keep in mind that for all their polish and perfectionism, control freaks are internally afraid! Afraid to appear incompetent, flawed or even worse, vulnerable! So as much as you may want to throw a sharp object at them, be firm yet show compassion and understanding! Every person is fighting their own battles….

Have you ever worked with a control freak? How did you cope?

The Corporate Sis.

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The 411: Weekly News Update

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Breast-Cancer-Awareness - Photo credit: msmgazine.com

Breast-Cancer-Awareness – Photo credit: msmgazine.com

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Happy Sunday! Hope everyone is enjoying the week-end… I’m gearing up for the annual Breast Cancer Walk in Providence this morning (shout out to my team “Save the Mamas“), and as I’m sipping on my coffee, here is a brief recap of the news that made me smile, shake my head and straight out go “whut?” this week:

  • Speaking of Breast Cancer awareness month, MsMagazine reveals what the breast cancer industry doesn’t want you to know about breast cancer awareness month;
  • Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about Apple and Facebook’s decision to help female employees with the cost of freezing their eggs. The New York Times discusses egg freezing raising fundamental issues of ethics and fairness,  while Time argues company-paid freezing may be the solution to gender equality? I tend to agree with the Telegraph’s opinion that egg freezing for female employees is anything but kind;
  • You must have heard about Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella setting off a furor on women’s pay; and while his remarks are still stirring pretty intense discussions among women (check out my posts around it here and here), the Huffington Post explains how this could actually be a valuable (albeit accidental) gift for women;
  • Ever considered working for free? Well, Black Enterprise lists 6 ways working for free can get you paid;
  • Did you know more than 16.6 million Black women get up to go to work every day? Essence magazine, along with research consultants Value Added Cheskin, conducted a great study on Black women’s experiences at work, and the results are amazing…A must read!
  • So we’ve seen the gorgeous wedding pics of George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin’s wedding, and now Elle is asking if we should really give the new Missus a hard time for changing her name, in the name of (misplaced) feminism? I don’t think so, but worth a read…
  • For anyone who’s ever thought of maternity leave as vacation (in which case you should definitely give sleepless nights and long days a try), Above the Law writes about a judge who refused to postpone a hearing because apparently, maternity leave is not a good excuse Hmmm…at least Vogue is helping us feel a bit better with this opinion piece on why paid maternity leave should be a national election issue (which I totally think it should be);
  • Good news for women entering MBA programs! According to Fortune magazine, MBA programs are working to make their female students’ experience better;
  • Entrepreneur explains why you should banish the word “Annual” from your performance review vocabulary;
  • BossBride reveals the the 4 pitfalls career women make when dating (I could have used this post a decade ago);
  • Buddy buddy with your boss? Salary Shark lists the do’s and donut’s of hanging out with your boss;
  • Last but not least, this week’s episode of “How to Get Away with Murder” had me going all kinds of ” huh? Whut? Yesss…Nooo!” towards the end as Viola Davis, an African-American woman on TV, removed her wig and make-up, taking off the mask  so many of us, professional Black women, wear to work to be accepted by others. In an exclusive interview after this episode, the Wall Street Journal spoke to Davis on the significance of this epic scene. So much so we may want to take another look:

 

 

Happy Sunday!

The Corporate Sis.

 

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Coffee Break: Stylish Sneakers for the Busy Woman (Who’s Not That Much Into Exercising)

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So…I’m not exactly a sneakers girl. Whether it’s because my favorite sport is shopping, or because my perfect pair of sneakers would have at least a 4 inch heel, I don’t really invest in them. Yet, with two toddlers in tow, a minimal (but existing) fitness routine, and a Breast Cancer Walk this week-end, I’ve gotta give in and find me a pair that spares me the usual “fabulous shoes are painful” blisters, yet  don’t cramp my style…

Well, for the stylish, busy and (mildly) athletic woman, these are my 3 favorite (for now):

 

Nike Lunar Glide 6 - $89.97 - Photo: nike.com

Nike Lunar Glide 6 – $89.97 – Photo: nike.com

Nike Lunar Glide 6: the louder the colors, the better! I’d sport these with a sleek, dark ensemble, after all it’s not Halloween just yet…

 

 

Under Armour trail running shoe - $99.99 - Photo: underarmour.com

Under Armour trail running shoe – $99.99 – Photo: underarmour.com

Under Armour Trail Running Shoes: Now these are some sleek running shoes! I like the play of color, and yes, the comfort and quality are top as well (hey, the style factor may or may not come first for some of us)….

 

 

Gourmet Animal Print Suede running sneakers - $110 - Photo: urban outfitters.com

Gourmet Animal Print Suede running sneakers – $110 – Photo: urban outfitters.com

Last but not least, this pair is not for the faint of feet, ok? Loving these  Gourmet animal print suede running sneakers (yes, you can run in them) from Urban Outfitters. Is it daring and uncommon? Yup, exactly why I love it…

Any suggestions for stylish sneakers for the busy working woman? And yes, we may or may not decide to run in them…

The Corporate Sis.

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