The Elegant Executive Blog

Need Help with Performance Reviews?

Anyone who has worked with Millennials (that group of new professionals born after 1980) knows that they crave feedback in the workplace. They want to know how well they’re doing (being eternally optimistic, that’s usually the starting point), how they compare to their peers, and when they will be able to do something different. Of the four generations working together under the same roof, Millennials are the most eager for performance reviews, followed by Gen Xers, then Baby Boomers. Traditionalists are the least interested in feedback; they’ll take a pat on the back and the gold watch when it’s time…

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Destructive Delusions #7

7. Avoidance: “It’s easier to avoid facing difficulties and self-responsibilities than to do something about them.” Procrastination falls under this delusion, as does the idea that ignoring problems makes them go away. If only! Doing what needs to be done, facing issues squarely and taking responsibility head on are the signs of a fully actualized person. It gets easier to do this with practice. If you yourself play the avoidance game, start making changes with small steps and you’ll see that dealing with problems straight away is far less onerous than postponing the inevitable.

Free Elegant ExecutiveTeleseminar Series for 2012

For three years, Neels & Company was a content provider to West LegalEdCenter, the largest provider of online continuing legal education in the country. We loved doing the programs for West, and wish to continue providing soft-skills training to a broader audience. Our new Elegant Executive Teleseminar Series is comprised of monthly half-hour programs designed to enhance the softer side of your career. We’ll offer tips, information and advice to make you a more effective and elegant executive. Our teleseminars are offered on the first Thursday of each month from 12:00 -12:30 (Eastern Time). Registration is required, but these professional…

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What’s Worse than Flip-flops?

I grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida, where flip-flops were what we kids wore to the beach, pool and around the neighborhood when we weren’t wearing our roller skates. These plastic, quasi-disposable “shoes” were merely a means to avoid blisteringly hot sand and black-top, otherwise we were happy to be barefoot. No adults ever wore them past the swimming pool parking lot. Whenever I see professionals wearing these play shoes with skirts, dresses or pants, I cringe. The message they are sending is “I’m really a kid at heart and frankly, would rather be barefoot.” I’m not so sure that’s…

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Destructive Delusions #3

3. Changing Others: “I have an obligation to change others who act unfairly or obnoxiously.” It’s impossible to change another person’s thinking, behavior or outlook. We can share information that may have an impact on one’s thinking, behavior, or outlook, but the recipient has to be ready to hear it and act upon it. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. If you feel that it’s an obligation to “fix” someone at work or home, stop right now and think about all the faults and shortcomings you have that could benefit from this energy instead….

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Destructive Delusions #1

For the New Year, I invite you to review the “Dirty Dozen Destructive Delusions” put forth a number of years ago by the American Management Association. Some may not apply to you, but I’ll bet a box of bons bons that at least one does. Let 2012 be the year to detatch from these energy drainers and realize that the name of the game is progress, not perfection. 1. Needing Approval: “Everyone I work with must approve of me at all times.” You feel that pit in your stomach when someone in a meeting disagrees with something you said. You second-guess…

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Being Quick to Apologize Makes You a Winner

I find the holidays stressful and am always quite happy to see the calendar turn over to January 2nd. In addition to eating too much, and perhaps drinking a little too much bubbly, I don’t sleep well and find myself short on patience between Thanksgiving and New Years. This year I snapped, unfortunately, and had to do some major damage control, which started with a heartfelt apology. When you’ve done something to annoy, offend or really tick someone else off, the best way out of it is to say you’re sorry, without the “if” so often placed after the “sorry,”…

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Why Male Execs Dress Better Than Their Female Counterparts

The truth is male executives cultivate a sense of style and dress as they develop professionally and climb the ladder to success. It’s expected that they dress in a powerful way and most rise to the challenge. No mentor would shy away from saying to up and coming Bob Smith, “Bob, that suit is atrocious! For goodness sake, go see my tailor and tell him I sent you.” However, no one will coach rising star Brittany Sanders with this admonishment: “Are you seriously going to wear THAT to the client meeting? Call my stylist and ask for an appointment asap.”…

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Free Digital Versions Now Available!

Neels & Company’s best-selling booklets, Business Etiquette 101 and Business Etiquette 102, are now available in PDF format FREE! Many of you who have enjoyed these little gems chock full of dos and don’ts for success in the workplace have asked me for digital versions for quite a while. I was hesitant, because the printed versions are so perfectly designed by the one and only Debra Wieder of Five Elements, but I understand not everyone is stuck in 1992 like me! Avail yourself to lots of free resources, including the Business Etiquette booklets, by visiting the Preferred Guest page on my…

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Lots of Clothes But Nothing to Wear?

Nice article in today’s Washington Post about where to find a good suit for the 30-plus working woman in DC. Author Monica Hesse points her readers to visit the newly refurbished Ann Taylor store on 13th Street NW for fashion-forward suiting. Ms. Hesse also makes an excellent point about how most women don’t know how to shop, resulting in over-stuffed closets and nothing to wear: There are several rites of passage on the way to [dress] Correct. The exhausted jostling at Target for the precious Missoni line. The exhausted pawing through Marshall’s clearance racks, which never has the right size, no mater…

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