You know the scenario: You’re presenting an important proposal to your company’s executive team when you realize the theme from “Jaws” is buzzing in your head. Somehow, the office shark has done it again. He has managed to both put down your idea — in front of your colleagues, no less — and get the other lesser sharks to swim along with him. Face it: You’re in the wrong aquarium.

Are you afraid of becoming fish fodder? Sometime the playing field just isn’t level. Here are my 8 favorite tactics to leverage networking, gain access to information, attract opportunities and outswim the office sharks: (read more…)

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

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Q. What can I do in the moment to help defuse an employee’s emotional outburst or stressed-out reaction?

yec_Simon Casuto1. Don’t do the talking

Stress or other strong emotions at work are often a result of being overwhelmed, especially if an employee doesn’t feel he or she is being heard. Sometimes the best reaction is to sit back and listen to what the problem, or list of problems, is. After the employee feels listened to, it will be easier to find a solution. – Simon Casuto, eLearning Mind

yec_Robert Castaneda2. Go for a walk with them

Our team members often go for walks around the block. (read more…)

The holiday season is often spent frenetically buying gifts, attending or hosting parties, and celebrating the end of one calendar year and the start of the next.

This activity is in addition to your regular work and life activities. It can be exhausting!

I think we all would be well-served by taking a close look at how we spend our time each day. Are we choosing the most effective ways to act, interact, and behave? If we slow down for a few minutes and analyze how we spend our time, we can refine our choices to serve ourselves and others better.

First, start by being intentional about you. Create a personal constitution* made up of your purpose, values, and leadership philosophy. What is your purpose, your “reason for being” on this planet? Specify what you do, for whom, and how it serves others. Map out the life values or principles that guide what is good and right in your view. (read more…)

Having established that negotiating skills are paramount for women to attract venture capital in order to lead high growth companies, two questions remain – why do they need these skills, and what are the skills.

First the why. Carol Frohlinger, JD, managing director of Negotiating Women, explains that there is an uneven playing field for women because of second-generation gender bias. She challenged me to close my eyes and think of a successful entrepreneur — I said Bill Gates. Then she asked to think of a top-tier CEO – I thought of Jack Welsh. She said, “I rest my case; the point is that people think of men when they think of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders.”

And, her case is this: Men (and many women!) expect women to behave in certain ways and to fulfill certain roles. Leading companies and negotiating deals aren’t among them. Those expectations are based on stereotypes — the same biases that color interactions with venture capital and private equity investors. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Do you give your team specific guidance or broad guidelines?

  • I give them very specific guidance: 28.67%
  • I give them broad guidelines and let them figure it out: 71.33%

Set direction and set them loose. We hear a lot about “empowerment” but almost a third of us aren’t doing it.Setting guidelines for your team members and then letting them take action has tremendous benefits. They feel in control, they learn (many times by making mistakes), they feel trusted, and they come up with their own creative solutions you might have missed. The big reason we give specific guidance is we fear failure. If we control their behaviors then we control the risks is the thinking. Unfortunately that rarely plays out as it should. (read more…)