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#107 The Secrets to Architecting Your Career While Maintaining Balance as a Female Leader with Catherine Doyle
The 360 Leadhership Podcast, Episode 107, 10 January 2024 by Lucy Gernon
Have you ever wondered if you can REALLY be successful while also maintaining the balance?
Believe me, I used to work as a leader in the corporate world for 20 years. I know the battle.
Being a female leader with a big title within a big organisation, managing multiple responsibilities is a delicate balance, especially when juggling the roles of a warm-hearted-family-oriented individual and a career-driven woman.
It can feel overwhelming and the pressure to architect our career is real and it does not have to be this way.
So that’s why in this week’s episode I am delighted to be joined by an amazing guest — Catherine Doyle.
Catherine, the managing director in Dell Technologies who has the overall responsibility for the commercial and enterprise businesses here in Ireland and Northern Ireland and is also responsible for delivering solutions to the public and private sectors of all sizes throughout the island of Ireland, helping them to leverage the latest technology to support their digital transformation goals.
Aside from her role, she is a mother, a dog lover and a warm hearted family orientated woman who has done really well in her career.
Whether you’re striving to architect your career while keeping the balance or seeking fulfilment in your multiple roles as a leader and an individual — you don’t want to miss the empowering conversation. There’s so much gold here.
Join as we unveil the secrets to architecting your career while maintaining balance.
Tune in to discover:
- What Skills Can You Learn Through Trial and Error?
- The Power of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership
- Unlocking The Reason WHY Family Support is Key to Achieving Work-Life Balance
- Do you keep saying ‘YES’? Discover the REAL reasons here
- Uncover The Surprising Root Cause of our Unhappiness
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Welcome to the 360 leadership podcast, the top rated show for driven women in senior leadership with new episodes released every Wednesday. I’m your host, Lucy Gernon, a multi award winning executive coach for women leaders and the founder of 360. Leaders Club exclusive high level membership for career driven family orientated women just like you. I created the 360 leadership podcast to share practical tips, actionable step by step strategies, and inspiring stories to support you to unlock the power and belief within to accelerate your impact and potential. So you can build a life filled with success, balance and happiness. So are you ready to achieve 360 degree success? No more excuses. No more waiting. Your time is now.
Welcome back to another episode of the 360 leadership podcast. I am delighted today to be joined by Catherine Doyle, who has taken on the role of managing director with Dell Technologies in Ireland. Catherine has overall responsibility for the commercial and enterprise businesses in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Catherine is a mother, she’s a dog lover, and she’s responsible for delivering solutions to the public and private sectors of all sizes throughout the island of Ireland, helping them to leverage the latest technology to support their digital transformation goals. So Catherine, you are very, very welcome to the podcast. How are you doing today? I’m very good, Lucy, and thank you so much for having me. It’s great to be here talking to you. Of course, of course, um, look, just before we came on, I suppose you know, you have this, you know, big title. And you know, you’re working in a big organization. But from our charts, you know, it’s very clear that you are just a, you know, a warm hearted family orientated woman who has done really, really, really well in your career. So just to jump straight in at the jugular. Hi.
I’m Ray Cohn.
And how do you build How do you build a career, I suppose in steps and stairs and stages, I mean, it started at the very beginning, I guess I fell into tech,
especially the sort of sales business side of tech, I fell into the business side of tech by accident by getting a temporary job in a software company and finding that I was just quite interested in how it all worked. Probably before that, I you know, I had computers as a teenager at home, you know, very, very old types of computers. But um, and I just generally very interested in it. So it really did me at that point. And I started to grow from there, I moved from one company to another, and through my 20s.
I moved actually quite a lot at that time, because I found I didn’t actually like some of the people I worked with. And some of them I did. And, you know, I moved into I sort of found my groove in terms of somewhere where I felt I could learn and grow. And, and then as it developed and I moved on with my career, I’d be very coachable. So I’m very, very interested in what other people have to teach me. I also don’t believe coaching, or coaching, or maybe even just learning from each other. And even a more casual way needs to be somebody more experienced than you. I’m finding that very much in this role as well. So just taking advice, understanding what’s going on around me, leaning into my network, you know, figuring out my next moves. And you and I were talking earlier about, you know, if I do a good job, they will notice and promote me. And I did do that. I think at one point, we’ve all fallen into that trap.
And eventually, I guess he figured out that that actually, you know there is no, there is no TR coming.
And it’s all about how you actually architect your own career. And I talk a lot to younger people now coming up. So they don’t have to think about learning that the hard way. We just believe that I didn’t explain it. I think it’s fairly well explained at this point in time, which is a good thing. So once I architected my own career, and I started to think about what I wanted to do, I think things changed quite significantly for me. Okay, so I there’s so much gold that you’ve kind of said I’d love to just unpack a little bit, right, if it’s okay with you. So, first of all you were talking about in your 20s have fallen into the trap of doing the work and I think that’s like part of, isn’t it? Like it’s part of your career journey, really. But you also said that you moved around a lot until you kind of found your groove. So I’m really curious, like, if you were to go back to that 20 year old Catherine, would you do anything differently?
Yeah, I probably would do a lot.
Okay, being honest. I think I think I learned stuff the hard way a little bit when I probably didn’t have to.
I mean, it probably stood to me in the longer term. But I think that probably, if if I have just understood how to use a network, how to you know, learn from others.
In a more constructive way, and you know how to, you know, seek executive sponsorship within your company, or wherever you work or your place of business, all of those areas, it took me a long time to figure out.
So let’s just maybe unpack those three things. So you said like how to use your neck network. You also said executive sponsorship. And what was the third one? Coaching? Probably? Oh, yeah. Yeah. Learning from others. Yeah. So maybe if we just start with that, because, you know, one thing I see a lot as well with women I would work with too is sometimes before you invest in say, coaching, or mentorship or even like that executive sponsorship that you mentioned, like even internal mentorship, or whatever, there’s a lot of women in particular. So obviously, this show was for women in leadership. And there’s a lot of women in leadership, who before they would invest in like a coaching or mentorship or anything like that. And they’re thinking, do I need an MBA or I think I might need another degree, or that’s the thing I need to get to the next level. But I think what they quickly realize is actually, a lot of the skills that we need to develop are those people skills, they are adores relationship building skills. So it sounds to me like, you know, you had the background, but then you started to leverage, like your sponsors, like you said, so talk to me a little bit about that. Yeah, I mean, you know, what, Lucy, any form of education is fantastic. So I’ve never, I’ve never discourage anybody from seeking out, you know, education, formal education, I think it’s fantastic. And you’re right, once you have that, and you have the formal, if you like, you know, training, etc, I think then it’s up to how you integrate, and behave in a work environment. And I think, understanding, you know, how you how you react to different types of personalities, I think that’s probably, especially in the tech sector, there’s many different types of personalities
that work within within the sector. And it’s really important that you embrace the diversity of these people. And, you know, you might have an introvert in a meeting whereby, you know, they might have some amazing ideas, but they’re not speaking. So it’s how do you how do you ensure that you get, you know, the best from these people and encourage them to speak out and partake within, within, within groups, etc. And just generally, how you how you operate within that sort of diverse environment, I think, as a younger person, that’s probably more tricky, because I think when we’re younger, we probably gravitate more to people who are like us, you know, who have the same conversations as we have, where we feel like we fit in with, you know, I fit in with this group. Whereas as, as you move around a company, and as you move roles, it’s really important that I guess you create your your business structure around working with diverse teams, and really appreciating that. And I think having that skill is key to succeed in any environment today. And I think it’s something that’s really valued now. And I know that when we interview candidates to join down, it’s, you know, you know, we would obviously refer to it around things like emotional maturity. And EQ,
we do test for that. And so it’s a key part. And sometimes it can be, it can be a bigger part than the qualification. Because if we get somebody that doesn’t fit in, they won’t grow, they won’t be nurtured, you know, they won’t succeed, and then it’s not helping anybody. So it’s a really super important skill to have. And the good news is, you know, I do have children of a certain age, I do think that
I do think that, you know, the younger generation today is an awful lot more further on, than probably my generation was, because they have got, you know, they’ve got more parents, maybe in business or friends with parents in business, and they are more coached. So I do think that that is improving an awful lot, you know, from when I started off? No, absolutely. And I think you’re so right, like with the, with the diversity, because you’re so right, like, we do tend to gravitate towards people who are more like us. And, you know, I’d even hear that as well with some of you know, some of the women I work with, and women listen to this podcast around, you know, even in leadership, making sure you’re aware of those unconscious biases and not hiring people like you on being open. So like, what would you say to you know, there’s a lot of leaders in in the STEM industry, who, as we were talking earlier, are quite technically minded, quite analytically minded and use that part of their brain a lot more than that kind of emotional side. I’m the total opposite, by the way, I was like a misfit in in that industry. But what would you say to those leaders who are, I suppose, maybe not as in tune with their own emotional intelligence as maybe they could be?
Now, I think it’s a I think it’s very much a personal journey. Okay. And I think it’s something that you need to be aware of, first of all, I think being aware of what you know what, where you are, and understanding yourself is obviously a key starting point, and then figuring out what you’re going to do to basically you know, bring that
I believe that a good way of of mentoring or being a mentee, should I say, with somebody is to go and and concentrate on a specific x aspect. So think of something that you want to work on, find somebody that’s good at it, and ask them to help you to be as good as they are with us.
And I think that that is a key way of doing it. But I do think it all starts from, from your own personal development, because that’s very much an innate skill.
And it can only be developed by by you as a person. But there is an awful lot of people out there to help you. You know, I mean, I do it quite a lot. I find something, you know, some area I want to improve, I find someone who does it well, I asked them to help. It’s quite complimentary to tell someone you’ve noticed something they do very well.
Can you help me do it as well? I mean, I don’t know anyone that would say no.
I’m gonna just pause you there. Because so like, how can you how do you reach out to these people? So I’ll just back up and give you kind of a bit of context about where this question is coming from. So a lot again, a lot of women that I would work with and see and speak to are so in the weeds, okay. They’re so in the weeds, they’re so in the detail there. They’re so busy getting their day job done, there’s a lot of fires, we follow up every day, there’s team complexities, there’s murders, there’s end of year appraisals, there’s all of this stuff that just seems to be going on, which seems to block them from actually taking the time to have the conversation with a mentor or pick up the you know, send an email and say, Well, you, you know, where you sponsor me. So that’s one part of it. And then the other part of it is like the actual courage to reach out. So what would you say to anybody who is in that position?
Okay, well, firstly, I think if there’s somebody who is so busy, and you know, we’ve all fallen into the trap, where they’re not investing in themselves and giving themselves time, they need to
basically make time.
I mean, it’s, it’s not it’s not really that complicated, but it means if your job stroke career is driving you as opposed to you driving it, then I guess it’s got the wrong balance, who I would advise, I advise my team to put aside an hour or two on a Friday for self investment, every Friday, okay. And whether that’s to read a book, or go for a walk, think about something that they want to work on, write something down, I don’t know, listen to a podcast, read Wikipedia, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. I think it’s really important that you actually diary time to do that. There’s a lot of demand on time. But you know what, realistically, there’s nothing that that drives you that hard that you couldn’t have a narrative for yourself on a Friday to actually figure out, you know, what you want to do, and take that time, and I always feel but for me, anyway, it works really well, in the mornings when my brain is fresher. I think once the afternoon comes, it’s time to kind of start, you know, figuring out how the day is going to end with the tasks completed. So I think it’s a really good thing to do in the morning, if that’s what works for you doesn’t work for everyone. And the second part is, how do you figure out who to mentor, a lot of companies now have formal mentoring programs. I mean, that’s definitely something to engage with, we have a really good mentoring program at Dell. And it’s really encouraged as part of our culture. So that’s great. So it’s easier to do it in a company like that. And if you don’t have that, then you can always reach out to somebody, you know, if you’re comfortable with that.
And if that, you know, that, again, is nobody there that you feel comfortable with, there’s a lot of networks and professional networks out there that you can attend that actually support women, but you do have to engage with us. I mean, you know, it is again, it’s back to architecting your career taking control.
And I guess it’s also making peace with you know, if I do always work out, and you have to don’t take that personally, that happens to everybody, nothing, you know, everything doesn’t go great all the time.
So it’s a matter of just you know, if it doesn’t work out, just go and find that didn’t work, you know, next thing, what do I work on next? And I think that’s, that’s really a key part of it. So, probably the advice I would give just to take back control, get some time in the diary, so you have a space to do it.
And then figure out, you know, what are you going to, you know, integrate into that space that would help you with your career. Oh, you are literally preaching to the converted here because I before I started my own business, when I worked in the corporate world, I would have been in the busy trap I had the mentality of I was too busy. I didn’t have time and the work was so important and I really didn’t invest in myself. And it’s so funny since I’ve started my business. I mean everything has changed. I have like two coaches one mentor I mean one membership, I mean one mastermind and I’m trying to run my
company and manage a team as well. But I make time for that. So it’s like, I think sometimes in the corporate space, there’s like, when I started my business, my whole world, my whole eyes were open up to a whole new world of personal development and professional development that just were not I didn’t understand was even available to me when I worked in corporate, you know, when people would ask me a lot about, you know, I’ve had quite a lot of success in a very short space of time. And if you look at your career and everything you’ve done, we’re saying exactly the same thing, which is invest in yourself, take the time for your growth, take the time on a Friday, I love that idea to even you mentioned, like listening to a podcast or reading a book. But you also said something really profound which most people overlook, which is take the time to think about something. Just take the time to think because again, we fall into this trap of doing doing doing and like all the downloads come in the thinking. So I love that. And do you do that yourself? Do you give yourself time to think? Yeah, yeah, I do. And it was something I was told by a mentor some time ago. And I’ve always done it since. Yeah, because otherwise it all comes down when you’re in the shower, or people wonder why they can’t sleep at night. And it’s because your brain is finally relaxing. And you’re getting all the all the aha moments, right. So I love that you’re scheduling that in for yourself, too. Okay, so we’ve talked about, I suppose we talked about kind of the mentorship and stuff like that. And now I’d love to talk a little bit about work life balance? And is it really possible, you know, you have a family and you know, you’re obviously doing well, in your career? You know, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Is it possible to, for women to have it all? Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, back when I had my children, I told you, I have a, I have a 21 year old and an 18 year old, so they’re a bit further along the track. So my comparison, I suppose, is not a comparison of what’s going on today. So I mean, things that I did, and I mean, this might sound insane. But what I did was I sat down with my husband, who, by the way is amazing. So that was a huge part of it extremely hands on Dad, in every way. So we were very much 5050 at home. So that was a huge, I guess, help.
We sat down and we wrote down, I suppose the operational structure of our house, like you would running a business, like what needs to happen, like we need to buy food, we need to cook food.
Like you’d cut the grass, I mean, to clear the house, we literally wrote down everything that needs to be done in the house on a weekly basis just to keep us going like living property. And we also found that when that was out of control, our stress levels were probably higher than they would have been in work with with a busy schedule, it was really trying to just make sure the family, you know, the home was relaxed. I mean, you don’t want to you don’t want to stress on highs. And so basically, we figured out a way of you know, we both work, so we were lucky that we could get external help. And we never had anybody live in the heights, okay, we never went down that road. But we did have help
from a number of different people that came in over the period of time if the kids not all at once, and helped us you know, with, you know, maybe the house work minding the kids, etc. I enjoy cooking, so I always cooked, that’s just what I do, because I just like it, and I batch Cook,
etcetera, but just find a way of really sitting down and actually having a conversation thinking about how are we going to do this, and make sure that like Come Friday, you don’t have anything to do, so that you can actually enjoy the time with your kids, you know, or even just have some fun with your friends do whatever you want to do, but you have some downtime, which enables you to you know, have a good, good life the following week. I think that’s gone even better. Now, with hybrid working, I think a lot of organizations are very focused on diversity.
And in fact, all organizations should be focused on diversity, and I think most are, which is a good thing.
And therefore the levers are in place now at the sort of structure level within companies to support women.
And not just support women, it’s also to support men, I think, that we also forget is generally speaking, in a household where two people are working, it’s given take, you know, I take one day off, if the kids are sick, my husband takes the following one, that’s how we worked it. So it’s a family support really, to get that work life balance correct. But I think really getting your getting your head around what needs to be done on a weekly basis at home. So it’s not random was an enormous help. But it really does. It really does help just to alleviate that stress. So we managed that within an inch of its life to make sure that it all worked. Okay, so I love it and I do exactly the same and I love that you were saying about bath cook and like I bought to cook more Sundays and at least you have dinners kind of cooked on maybe Wednesday and then you might go again.
Talk to me about this structure because a couple of things you said that really jumped out number one
You said, you and your husband have a 5050 relationship and myself and my husband would be exactly the same. I think, as women, sometimes what I see is a lot of women put pressure on themselves to be the mother or to be the leader, and they have this definition of what a mother should be that awful word should, you know, as opposed to actually, it’s, you know, your kids aren’t helping you when they’re doing their laundry. It’s part of them living in the house. Like if you I catch myself sometimes saying to my kids, will you help me do the dishwasher? And then I stopped myself, and I’m like, You’re not helping me? You bloody live here. So like, I think it’s really, really important to have that 5050 split. But what about the women who don’t have that kind of support? Yeah, I think that’s more difficult, like without a shadow of a doubt, it absolutely is. I think there are some women who want all of the responsibility as well, I think this is their support, and then there’s some that won’t give up the control. I think there’s a bit of both, and we can all suffer from that a little bit as well. I think if you’re if you’re the former, and you’re trying to do everything I think on my advice would be to stop. And something else I think you need to give up on a little bit is having the, you know, the perfect house all the time, like everything isn’t going to be tidy all of the time, you know, that’s okay.
You know, I look like living in a in a tidy space. But I mean, it’s not like that all the time when you have small children. And there’s times where we’d say, you know, we’re not picking up the toys tonight, it doesn’t matter if they can stay there tomorrow. I think again, that’s okay. So it’s being practical, and not putting yourself under too much pressure for kind of things that don’t matter right now, you know, find done in two days time. I think for women who don’t have the support, the structure is even more important for them to be able to give themselves the space to have the career, if they’re trying to manage the home, you know, almost by themselves, or for single moms as well. I think that is a key getting, getting that organizational structure around you and family support, I do think you need that, I think it’s very difficult to do it all on your own. If you don’t have some support, I do think you need some support to actually make it work. And so where that comes from, you know, friends, family, etc, I moved to an area where we had no family around us.
And we met a lot of very good friends who were in very similar situation. So we backed each other up. And you know, if one of my kids was sick one day, they might stay with someone or take their father, whatever, you know, we kind of just helped each other out. So I think having that community support family support around you, that is important. And I think that helps to alleviate the stress. And then not being a perfectionist, I think is probably the other piece of advice I would give. Absolutely, totally agree. And so you said it’s not being a perfectionist, it’s it’s seeking the support. And you also said about the structure piece, right? And I’d love to kind of dive into that structure piece of x, I think this will be really useful for my listeners, it sounds to me, like you said earlier on, that the structure is like no, like you’re operating a business. And I love that. Because if you’re you know, it is just guys, this is like mirroring art mirroring life here like Katherine, you’ve done really well in your career, because clearly you’re structured, you’re strategic, you know, you sound like you’re very in control in terms of having a plan. Most of the time, I know you’re not nobody’s perfect. And then in the home, it sounds like you’re mirroring the same and because you’re actually applying it to both areas. I mean, you seem quite like a grounded kind of person. So is that is it, you’re laughing as I’m saying that
70% of the time.
Whereas I’m grinded about 30% of the time, I’m like a cycle of theater.
And, yeah, like I think it was just trying to keep the basics going at home. And then because it leaves space for fun, I think when you have young kids, you don’t want to be serious all the time or rushing on. It’s not great, you want to have some fun. And so having the structure around, it just gave us the freedom to know, look, that’s all taken care of. And so therefore let’s you know, you can you can relax and have some fun. I also think having boundaries around your working day is important. And I think I struggled with that for a period of time, I suppose I was being ambitious. And I got into the habit of working all day. And then after the kids went to bed, I would dial on again, you know, or log on again and start again. And I did that for a period of time. And actually until I discovered it was unhealthy. It’s actually not very good for you to do that. And so I think it’s also understanding the boundaries of a working day. And so being organized and structured within reason, I think is really important. There’s a really good book at the moment actually called atomic habits. Oh, yeah. And yeah, that really resonated with me because I like that kind of structure. And I’ve met some people who’ve actually bought the workbook and babysat as well. Like properly to focus the day
Yeah, to a certain extent I’ve been doing. I’ve been doing that for a while. Anyway, I would I’m very good at prioritizing what I need to do during the day, most of the time again, it’s all it’s all a 70%, I think, yeah. 70%. Look, the rest is it’ll work itself out.
And the DJ, I think, been structured and organized, and just figuring out what matters, I think is really important. Okay, very good. I absolutely love that. And I wanted to ask another couple of questions, right. Another thing I see with women is they’re afraid to say no, so I’m even thinking of a client of mine who was a vice president level, you know, she’s quite senior level in an international organization. But she still struggles sometimes to say no, with certain people who may have intimidated her in some way. So for example, I remember her telling me obviously, this is a totally anonymous soul, nobody will know who it is. But she somebody asked her for a presentation, were you late in the evening to have done the next day that was business critical, and all the rest, and she obviously had a million other priorities and children to take care of. And at the time, we were working together, and I was actually in a session with her and I was coaching her. And, you know, she came to the conclusion herself, actually, she she could push back and she did push back. And the result was fine afterwards, you know, the way she did it. But before she wouldn’t have pushed back and she would have done the work. So I think sometimes women have this massive limiting belief that they have to say yes to people, either that intimidate them or are more powerful. And I think sometimes that can hold us back. So what what would you say to women like that? Who finds that? They have to say yes, if there’s somebody who’s maybe more senior than them, like how can they push back in a way that doesn’t reflect badly on them?
I don’t think that just applies to women. Yeah, very true. I think that applies to a lot of people. I I’m going to answer that probably a different way than you expect. So
there’s I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Gretchen Rubin. Do you know her? Okay, so Gretchen Rubin has a thing called tendencies. She’s got four tendencies. And I think, I think generally people who say yes, probably have one of those tendencies where they want to dive in, and they want to help.
And I think understanding, understanding that, and understanding, you know, how you work, because I never felt I have to say, yes.
If I’m being honest, I’m just because I’m not that way. I just don’t have that tendency. In fact, I’d sit there and say nothing. That’s a good potential.
There’s a lot of work, and I go, I’ve got loads to do, I’ve taken that. And so I do think it can be a personality type as well. I’ve been part of a lot of female groups where we’ve used that tendencies. And actually, there’s an online quiz. If your listeners wants to take it and understand it, it’s very easy to understand. And it does actually explain a lot if you are a certain way on that tendencies quiz as to why you say yes. So I think, you know, obviously, there is people who feel under pressure, and that’s a different thing, probably, but I think a lot of a lot of people say yes, because of a tendency rather than a fear. You know, they feel they should they feel they should, yes. Or they feel when no one else is saying yes. So I’m going to say yes.
Whereas, you know, as I was, I was in a meeting recently, and a lot of a lot of the people on it said they felt the need to say yes, I actually, I don’t feel the need to say yes, finding honest love there. So girls, Can we all just pay attention if you’re multitasking? Come back to me, we have Catherine telling us that she has got to where she is without feeling the need to say yeah, so that just so like,
the limiting belief is that if I say no, it’s going to look on favorably on me. It’s going to I’m going to look like I’m being unsupportive. I’m going to look like I’m being uncooperative. I’m going to look like I don’t care. I want to please people
dispel that myth, please. No, it’s not. What I mean, I think it depends on what you’re doing is obviously if a boss comes and says to you, can you do this for me? You know, I mean, saying no, it’s not great. Okay. But I think you can you can say, you know,
you know, do you when do we need to have this done by you know, and if they see what actually, you know what, I need that tomorrow, and you go, Okay, well, I’m working on these three other things, you’re okay, that I let them go down, and I’ll prioritize this over them. Like something’s gotta go. You know, I think managing expectations in that way is absolutely fine. I guess what I was thinking about when you ask the question initially was, you know, when there’s a meeting, and maybe there’s actions, it’s like, who take that one, you know, some people feel the, you know, just
the compulsion. If you’d like to say I’ll take it, I suppose in that sense. I’ve never felt the need to sort of stand up and, and take everything. I have no problem taking some things and some things I do like to do.
But I never felt I needed to take everything and I know I know there are some women who struggle with us when it saturated that. I don’t know, ownership thing where they do want to take ownership of it, and they do want to put themselves under a lot of pressure.
Meeting setting expectations around your work your day, your priorities, I think that’s very acceptable. I think if you have any leader that’s been unreasonable, then you’re probably with the wrong leader. And so what do we do? What do we do if we have before with the wrong leader? What if somebody’s listening now and they really feel like their boss just doesn’t devalue them doesn’t appreciate them. And it’s just piling more work on to them without the I suppose recognition? We’ve all been there at some point. Right. So what would you what would your advice be? And I always believed in a straight conversation with them. And that’s easier said than done. It depends on the boss. Sometimes they’re approachable, and sometimes they’re not. But if they’re approachable, I think having a conversation of, you know, where’s this going for us? I need to understand is probably not a bad thing, just to reset boundaries.
And then ultimately, I think if you work for someone who doesn’t value you, or isn’t a good leader in the sense of a good leader for you, I do think then you need to find another leader. I don’t think you need a knee jerk reaction, though. I mean, it’s not, you know, it doesn’t need to be dramatic, I think you can do it in a very controlled way. And as you say, Listen, we’ve all been there. We’ve all had somebody where, you know, personality, clash, or just style doesn’t kind of sit.
So I mean, if you’re in a big company, there’s many places within an organization you can move to, you can start talking to other departments figure out where you know, what is what works better for you.
And can I just again, I just I just want to pause because I’m thinking of all these people I speak to who might have been in this situation. And one thing that comes up is around, although I don’t want to be disloyal, or I don’t want to have a conversation with another department, because if my if my boss finds out, what are they going to think? So what would you say to that?
Yeah, I don’t think you need to. I mean, it’s again, it’s a how you do it. Okay. I mean, I don’t think you need to go to the department and go, you know, I hate where I am, I want to out what have you got? I don’t think it needs to be in that way. I think it can be, look, I’d like to understand a little bit more about what you do over here. Because I’m doing a career plan. And I don’t understand what you do. So, you know, what does your department look like? You know, how does it work? What kind of work have you got, I just want to know more, I want to understand more, I think it can be done in that way. So you know, so you’re not exposed, I do understand corporate politics. So it’s a tricky one to navigate. But it’s I suppose it’s just using, you know, being relaxed, I think is a key part of the whole thing is don’t panic, be relaxed, figure out what you want to do. And don’t rush, I think it’s, it’s, it’s coming down understanding, it’s not urgent today, or probably tomorrow, you can probably put up with it for another few months, and get a plan that works for you. So you don’t jump out of one situation, that’s bad for you into another situation, that’s bad for you. I think it’s important that you really think about how you’re going to navigate that. And I think as you know, as you grow your career, and you build your maturity around dealing with people and, you know, understanding, you know, the biting your lip, when somebody’s dragging you and saying and not saying anything, I think you know, controlling your emotions, and not having dramatic responses is really, really important. Because that doesn’t serve you either, that just creates a lot of emotional stress. And you really don’t need that. So I think working on ensuring you have that under control is a key thing, especially when you’re working in these larger organizations, where everything is not going to go your way.
And I work a little bit on an except the things you cannot change, you know,
there’s certain structures and a company that you know what it’s been laid down at the top, you aren’t going to change that. Okay, so let’s look at the bits where we can affect and it’s gonna affect those and do a great job. Because the other structures are there for a reason. And I’m sure there’s a good reason for it. So we’ll just accept that. And we’ll work with the bits where we can actually, you know, control the strategy or drive the direction. So I think that is a key thing is stop fighting with maybe a multinational organization structure that you’re not going to influence
unless you’re the CEO. And I think that’s probably a key piece of advice as well. Yeah, absolutely. And just as you were saying that I was thinking of like, I don’t know, I’m kind of quite spiritual person as well. And Eckhart Tolle is book a New Earth taught me a lot. And I remember he was talking about, most of our unhappiness comes from wishing things were different than they are pushing against everything, as opposed to acceptance. And I think what you said there about, you know, not fighting against a corporate structure, that’s not going to change. I think that’s a massive waste of energy that a lot of people, they spend energy given out, they spend energy being negative, they spend energy given it with this person, like it changes absolutely nothing. And then it sounds to me, like, you know, you’re very pragmatic, you know, you’re coming across as somebody who really is, obviously, you know, we’ve been in your career a long time emotionally mature, like you said, around dealing with people and like, look where you’ve got so I really, really am so grateful that you’re on saying all of this because I think my listeners are going to take a lot of value from you. So thank you so much, Catherine, really appreciate it.
And so I’m just conscious and we are coming up on time, so I’d love to ask you
question that I always ask my guests, what is the best piece of advice you have ever received? It can be anything it can be from a grantee, it can be from anyone, it doesn’t have to be career related. What comes to mind?
Let me think, I think it’s important to have a level of perspective is Don’t lose your perspective of what’s important. I was talking to someone recently, and they told me that most of their time is spent at work and not with their family. And I asked them, which was their biggest priority, and they said, their family. And I thought, well, you know, that is in the wrong way that you you’ve got this the wrong way around, I think keeping in perspective of what’s important. And I mean, most of us to be fair, unless we’re working, you know, in the health sector, we’re not saving lives. We’re working in companies, we’re working in businesses, I think having a level of perspective on what’s important in your life is is really super important. And I think at every point, when we’re ambitious, we probably lose that perspective.
And I just think reminding yourself of you know, life’s for living, it’s important you enjoy it and enjoy yourself in the process. And I think also That’s what you deserve.
keeping, keeping a good sense of that is important. Amazing. Thank you. So so much such such good advice. Catherine. I so appreciate your time. There’s so much gold here we will, we will link the quiz that you shared earlier on from Gretchen Rubin in the shownotes guys so you can go and look at your tendencies. And on that note, I’m we will wrap it up for today. So Katherine, thanks Mel for being a guest. You’ve been amazing. Thank you, Lucy. Really appreciate you inviting me thanks so much.