Career 101: It’s Time for a Sound Check

Leadership can be hard whether as a parent, spiritual leader, leader of a social or athletic organization, as a political leaders and certainly leaders in the world of work. I’ve had the opportunity to lead in a few of those areas above and let me tell you, without the proper support, leadership can make the toughest of leaders want to throw in the towel, or either use it to figuratively strangle someone (Did I just say that?)

Probably triggered by the political climate and praying that our President-elect supernaturally surrounds himself with a variety of wisdom from varying beneficial points of view, while attempting to sleep recently my brain decided to wake me up to the most perfectly unusual thought. Leaders in the workplace need to do routine sound checks.

As leaders we have to be careful of who and what is in our ear. What sounds are shaping our leadership and ultimately our legacy? Is it the voice of the “yes man”, “cynical and scary Cindy”, the “do-boy”, the “negative Nelly”, and the “just like you crew”? Or are the voices, concerns, plights and passions of all able to be heard, embraced, addressed, corrected and considered? The only way that is truly done is to strategically be surrounded by those who represent the core of all facets of a company.  A good leader has a heart and ears truly open to hear, even those tough things one might not want to and is bold enough to act upon it knowing a few things:

  • People don’t care about things they don’t care about. If they are still on your team and desiring to make their feelings known they are still there, which means they still care.
  • Sometimes the blinders of external success dim the troubles of the internal struggles. We have to be in the know of what’s going on in the house before we take our mission to the streets.
  • An organization is only as strong as the organism…the people who make it run.
  • Good communication solves everything.
  • Some of the best of employees have left because of matters which could have been addressed before the exit interview. No one asked.

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As a manager of 40 people, I’ve learned that, through my best of intentions I don’t always get it right. I don’t always know what’s right. I don’t always see what’s going on. I am not always there or aware, but if I invite an atmosphere of an open door with consistent requests to hear the “truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth” no matter how it stings my ego our program grows stronger, my people grow stronger and so do I. I’d be lying if I said that everything I hear from my peeps about how I run our program is grits and gravy. It’s not. But I owe it to those to whom I’m assigned to make sure their voices are heard. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.

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Like a skilled musical artist awaiting the big stage and bright lights a sound check is always in order. It does no good for him/her to only check the vocals, and not every single instrument, the DJ, the microphone, the sound system, the sound effects and everything else. They all matter. As leaders we have to have our sound squad tight. Yes, there must be someone to lay down the law, someone to stand firm on rules, someone to focus on the future and others in the more traditional roles. However, good leaders also welcome the compassioned team player, the purposed unifier, the straight-talker-in-the-know of the real deal with the people, the fun folks and the silent until necessary observer. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.

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@AngelaMMoore316

The Return of the Lady

Recently I had an opportunity to spend a Saturday morning with some young girls from Grace House and young women from the University of Montevallo’s Mu Mu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. who were my captive audience for a training on Dining Etiquette.

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It had been a while since I’d done any group talks and quite honestly I didn’t realize how much I missed it until sharing that time with the ladies and little ladies. Like, I really miss speaking regularly. Their questions and responses were thought-provoking, sincere, hilarious, encouraging, hilarious (I know I’ve already said that), gasp-inducing and inspiring all at the same time. They all participated and were engaged, and sent a clear message to me that, regardless of what the media says or what we might see regarding girls and young women, the return of the lady is inevitable.

Yes, we debated who was better, Beyoncé or Kevin Gates (who? what?), but we also talked about which fork to use, what’s appropriate to discuss at the table, how to slice a bone-in, fried chicken breast with poise and elegance (and still get all of the skin and juicy, meaty goodness) and how to engage in effective networking at “fancy” functions. Sure, we talked about why it’s not a good idea to place gum behind our ears or on the rim of our plates, why “smacking somebody” is not the answer or why we can’t take crab legs from a buffet, but we also embarked on a stirring dialogue about the fact that each and every one of them will be someone BIG someday and deserved a seat at the table, and not just a seat at the table, but some undeniable influence as to what was being served, and preferably positioned at the head of that said table. We absolutely laughed out loud, when teaching each other how to gingerly bite a green, frosted cupcake or cut it with a fork, then sip tea with or without a pinky up. We discussed at length how not to pull out the hot sauce in our bag (swag) to saturate our food at a fru-fru function, and talked about how it’s okay to be classy and respectable and unique and still cute and noticed even in this bare as you dare, be angry, be loud, frown all the time, forget manners, and pop off at will world.

That time with the girls was the perfect balance of what makes a lady. A REAL lady is a woman who is able to put her best foot and best face forward, regardless of her setting or personal circumstance, regardless of her upbringing, regardless of what media or social media says and regardless of what she might have seen before or hasn’t received from others. And a REAL, REAL lady can do that while feeling comfortable and confident never forsaking that fact that she belongs.

So, here’s a snippet of what we discussed. Want more? Email angelamoore316@gmail.com

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Table Talk in the Business World

  • Avoid: religion, politics, sports team talk, inappropriate jokes or topics of conversation.
  • Share the conversation (Don’t be a talking hog).
  • Plan to talk. Know what the topic of the event is and have conversation ready to share.
  • Know the organization or product you’re representing or supporting.
  • Take a deep breath and breathe, especially if feeling out of your comfort zone.
  • Just say no to the telephone while at the table. (That includes snap chatting, texting during the event, answering your phone during the event, not turning off or silencing your phone and any other things we think we can’t go without for that brief 2-3 hours.)
  • Know that you belong at the table, and the head of the table is always for the taking.

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@AngelaMMoore316

Help Me Come Up

Let’s just be real. We all are meant to be bigger, better, greater, more effective, more philanthropic, more influential, more generous, more impactful and more than we are. That’s the designed progression of life meant to use our steps, walk, journey, falls, bumps in the road, hurdles, hiccups and eventual come ups to bless God and His people. Any other purpose is null and void, whether we know it or not.

The challenge with knowing that more is the order of the day in our lives is knowing what to do until that day actually gets to our lives. I’ve learned, and have a feeling I’m about to learn even more that the best thing to do when waiting to “be” is hook up and link up with those who have already been what we’re trying to be. Those are the ones sent and meant to help us come up. Enough of the stagnation and overwhelming feeling of “there must be more so I can be more so I can have more so I can give more.” It’s about time to come up. It’s time. I can feel it.

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Gone are the days of the Lone Ranger syndrome where we can be comfortable with the notion that life alone is the way to arrive to life meant to be. Adios to the notion of “I don’t need nobody up in my business”. Yes, I know that sentence is as grammatically incorrect as it is actually inaccurate. Bye, bye to the thought of “I don’t need anybody. I can’t trust anybody and I don’t have anybody.” Those are lies. Lies, I tell ya.

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So while we’re working and praying and waiting on being who we know we were born to be, we must be about the never-ending business of soaking up every, single nugget of wisdom, excellence, examples, support, best practices, avoidable pitfalls and transformative testimonies we can from those who are already. Now that’s a come up, kid.

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@AngelaMMoore316

Work is Not Your World

A recent conversation with a loved one sharing work challenges (i.e. inter-office drama) called forth the simple statement “Work is not your world”. As I listened to the story and shared my spin those words rang true at that moment as they have for me so many times before, “Work is not your world.”

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One of the things which can disturb us like few is discord on the job. Whether it be being unappreciated, not being compensated properly, inequity in titles or treatment, being treated unfairly or viewed unfavorably, being overworked, not being heard or well-received, lack of support for advancement or plain ol’ mess with groups and/or individuals, a lot of us spend a LOT of time at work hopefully because something we do is something we love to do. To have drama in the midst of having to do what we researched on, applied for, interviewed for, prayed about, told our loved ones about, posted on, prepared for and committed to show up to do is a bummer, a real bummer.

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The good news is, “work is not your world.” It’s as simple as that. Yes, the environment might be uncomfortable. Yes, the people might be “interesting”. Yes, people might be paid more than you for less work than you do. Yes, you might have envisioned yourself being further along or somewhere else way before this point in time. Yes, your boss might be totally wrong in his/her actions. Yes, systems might not be in place which need to be. Yes. Yes. Yes to all of that which might be going on, BUT “work is not your world.”  So with that said:

  • Pray before you go to work, while there and when you leave.
    • Place your “challenges and challengers” at the top of the list in a sincere, God-approved way, of course.
  • Do your best, especially in times of challenge.
    • There is never a good time for slacking, but when trouble is brewing is certainly not the time as you want to maintain your excellence and perception of excellence at all times (in other words, don’t give your challengers or challenges any proof that they were right.)
  • Get a life…outside of work.
    • Be sociable, but don’t find all your friends at work. Don’t put all of your eggs in the proverbial job basket.
  • Learn all you can about what to do and what not to do in leadership while there.
  • Avoid the water cooler or coffeepot talk about the negative things going on as to not let it further frustrate you.
  • Don’t get caught up in the unprofessional actions or reactions of others.
  • Ask God why you are still there and be open to the wonderful reasons why even if they don’t feel like it.
  • Go home when it’s time and leave work where it belongs.
  • When challenged by situations revolving around co-workers or work-related scenarios think of your loved ones and who and what really matters.
  • And MOST IMPORTANTLY….
    • Do not, I repeat. Do not ever forget that your job is just a resource. There’s a Source so much bigger than your 9am to 5pm, 11pm to7am or 4am to 4pm. God’s got you! He knows what He’s doing, why He’s doing it, what He’s allowing, how it’s working for your good and when He’s going to move you up, move you out or move you right on up out of there.

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@AngelaMMoore316

The Breakup: I Have So Much To Say

An al.com article about Alabama’s former first lady Dianne Bentley sparked some recent and old feelings about what to do and what to say after the breakup. Thankfully, many of have not experienced the ultimate breakup granted by the lingering pains and/or effects of divorce. Chile, be glad about it. But I would think that most have experienced a breakup one way or the other whether it be with a mate, with a job or from an organization and have been faced with the question of what to say, how much to say and to whom.

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The article noted so eloquentely how Mrs. Bentley has been just that, eloquent, in this whole sordid process being publicly played out in the press and the privacy of our own homes, memes and phones. What an example of class, poise and trust in God! I needed her as a fresh and real reminder right now to stay the course of silence. For those of you who know me you must know that I love to talk. It’s what I do. So to have a virtual muzzle on my mouth regarding things which are personal, painful, and sometimes public whether I want them to be or not, and not be able to truly and fully speak on it from my point of view offering unshared truths has truly been a lesson learned with some repeated classes. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe in the power of wise counsel and know that to carry the weight of any breakup on my back alone would be more detrimental than I could bare. So there are those who know what the real deal is because I can trust them to handle it, stay hushed up, not rile me up into a state of tomfoolery and not hinder the plans God obviously has in place with no need of a running mouth ruining it. However, I recognize through trial and error that:

  • Everyone can’t handle my story of what happened before, during and after the breakup. That means it would be foolish of me to share with the world why what happened has affected my current living options and way of life, or why it took six years for my house to sell, or why I didn’t make the move to divorce first, or whether I knew divorce was coming or not, or why I didn’t allude to others of any problems prior to the divorce, or why I didn’t go back when my former spouse felt he wanted me to, or why I am still friends with some people from our former shared circle, or why some from our former shared circle are no longer friends with me (there is a difference in those two things I just said), or what the divorce decree really said, or what really happened with what was decreed and supposed to be done, or why I won’t entertain or engage negative comments regarding my past or my former spouse, or why my response is usually “Just pray”, and so on and so on and so on.  You may hear it but not from me.
  • Everyone shouldn’t know my story until it’s sealed and wrapped in a pretty little God-blessed bow. I realize that some simply can’t handle the truth. I can barely handle it and it happens to me.  I feel the same as I hear of the hurts which happen to those I love, immediately wanting to “fix it” sometimes not through the best of means and especially because it’s not my bees-wax. To share it out of angst or “I’ll get even”, or prematurely without God’s ultimate desires of healing, restoration (according to His design not our definition) and progress taking place would do His plans, even through a breakup, a total disservice. I need God TOO MUCH to do Him a disservice any more than I already have in my 44 years of life.
  • People are going to believe what they want or need to believe. I see now that some people have to condition themselves to see, believe or accept what they feel they need to in order to keep them in the place of comfort or convenience for where they feel they need to be (and for what reasons). That’s cool. However, to take the position of defense in honor of those things I know to be true because I lived it, and try to explain, vindicate, mitigate or simply be messy does nothing but create more mess. Breakups are a mess with no help needed.

So, whether through divorce, the end of a dating relationship, separation from a job/church/organization or any breach of association, SILENCE, that difficult, unfair, trying, yet necessary stance is the way to go. It really does serve its purpose when it’s allowed to, uninterrupted. #silence

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@AngelaMMoore316

Deuces Sallie, Deuces

If you’ve read any of my blog posts since I started you’ll know that I’ve tried to be very honest about the different seasons the Lord has had me in in life. With that said, it’s no secret or even shame of mine to say that I have struggled financially the last few years like never before. I won’t go into reasons now, as I’m still waiting for the final testimonies of this long-enduring test. (And when I tell you it’s coming…oh boy, it’s coming!!!) But today, in the midst of it all I have a praise report. God saw fit to allow me to FINALLY PAY OFF MY STUDENT LOANS!!!!!!!! Yep, you read correctly. I’m officially on the outs with Sallie Mae, or Navient as she now calls herself. No more letters, no more automated phone calls, no more “pay me now” emails, no more rolling my eyes as I tore the little paper out of the payment book, no more emails to my old Hotmail account (cause that’s how long we’ve been in this love/hate relationship). Nope… nothing, nada, zilch!

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I’m thankful for my stellar education from The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. My degree, and associations rooted there have certainly served me well. I recognize that many weren’t blessed to even be able to take a loan out to pursue education. I’m also aware that many aren’t in a place yet to pay or pay off that debt. However, if someone would have told me the route to pay off my portion of that academic honor would take two decades I probably would have sold some plasma (or something), styled hair in my dorm on the side or worked five part-time jobs just to not have taken this journey. But I didn’t and that’s life.

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So yes, it took 20 years to finally pay off and the timing came when things were as financially tight as a pair of brand new Spanx, but God was faithful to me even when I wasn’t faithful to Him. And He was certainly faithful to me when I was NOT thinking about being faithful to paying that doggone bill every month. He did that!!!

All glory goes to my great God!

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@AngelaMMoore316

I’m 56. Wait! What?

Recently I had an opportunity to travel to an in-state college to recruit for my job. I made the two and a half hour trek south of 65 and 85 to parts I rarely venture (as I am an avid University of Alabama fan/grad), and braved the athletic enemy’s territory for the sake of my calling. I arrived early, not aware of how traffic would be, and was able to sit in my car for a spell to check email and listen to some of the finest hip-hop the Columbus, GA neighboring station could provide.

At 4:30, the expected time for vendor arrivals, I unloaded my car, looked back at my University of Alabama alumni tag, as if I were about to cheat on it, and strolled into the orange and blue haven. (Side note: I must admit, the campus and building were beautiful, as they were the last time I visited. The BIG picture of Cam didn’t hurt either.) I registered at the table stocked with hospitable, smiling faces. I reluctantly fought back the urge to take a selfie in front of the orange and blue all around attaching to it something about the reigning National Champions. I received my packet of welcome info, including the number I was assigned to set up for the Career Fair. There were 59 assigned tables. I was number 56.

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Upon site of 56 just above the 59 my first thought was, “Wait! What? I don’t want to be 56!” I immediately thought I would be WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY across the arena in the forgotten section unvisited by eager students ready for life after college and truly ready for the barbecue after this college fair. I just knew my slot was one destined to a big, ol’ hunk of nothing. I was prepared to fight through full-blown sourpuss mode the entire four hours I was scheduled to be there.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, right after the fresh-faced student walked me into the arena the fourth table from the door had my name on it…well, not my name, but my number. Not only was table number 56 right at the door used for everyone to enter, I was smack dab in front of the double-lined buffet of hot, smoky barbecue chicken and tender, sliced turkey, green beans, tossed salad, sweet tea, chocolate cookies and the famous cheddar biscuits which put Jim-n-Nicks on the map, at least in my mouth.

When I received my assigned 56 out of the 59 I completely counted myself and my number out. Then boom, with a just few simple steps forward I was like the 2015 National Champions. I was #winning!

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The moral of this story is: I/we win REGARDLESS. We just have to keep stepping.

@AngelaMMoore316