The following is a post by DC Ecowomen Board Member Rebecca Aicher.
Recently, I was fortunate to attend the DC EcoWomen workshop entitled “How to Be a Successful Woman Manager.” This workshop was led by three impressive women: Elizabeth Wallace; Danielle Moodie-Mills; and Greta Bagwell from the National Wildlife Federation. Elizabeth, Danielle, and Greta emphasized that being a successful manager is not a man versus woman dynamic; rather, management is about flexibility, self-reflection, and respect.
Elizabeth, Danielle, and Greta began the workshop by asking all of us what we value in managers, and we generated a long and varied list. In addition, we talked about the less desirable characteristics of managers. Both lists highlighted a common thread; we are a multi-generational, diverse workforce with many weaknesses and a myriad of strengths. In order to play on those strengths, successful managers are able to support the myriad of personalities through trust, respect, and honesty.
Elizabeth, Greta, and Danielle provided a plethora of wonderful advice. Just to highlight a few pieces, Elizabeth shared her love of reading through providing an annotated list of recommended books about being a leader, good communicator, and successful manager.
Greta’s tips for “managing up”:
Use the power of the check-in
Follow the no surprises rule-give your boss a heads up if you know something that may affect your boss
Act as a nudge coach to help your boss become more aware
Figure out what your boss cares about and communicate about those topics
Know your limits, it is acceptable to say no if you know that you don’t have the time to work on something
Talk like your boss and communicate to your manager in her/his style
Develop a relationship with your boss
Danielle shared her experiences working across generational lines, and gave us some entertaining and insightful advice on how to appreciate the Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millenials-we all have something to contribute!
Elizabeth said she hoped that they planted numerous “seeds” that we will use throughout our careers, and I am confident those seeds have already begun to grow. I am looking forward to reading many of Elizabeth’s book suggestions, including Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Now, I am using my weekly check-ins with my boss to outline new opportunities. And thanks to Danielle, I appreciate the unsolicited advice I receive from my intergenerational co-workers. I can say with confidence that my professional experience has been enriched from Elizabeth’s, Danielle’s, and Greta’s advice and insight.
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