Career Stretch Zone with Nancy Fredericks Career Stretch Zone Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Are You Ready For The Big Leap? The One from Manager to Leader


The shift from manager to leader isn’t an easy one. It is the most massive leap any executive will make in an organization.

Before drilling deep into the “Big Leap,” let’s unpack the distinction between leader and manager.

The word manager means “to bring about, to control, to plan, to direct, to accomplish, to have charge of or responsibility for, and to conduct.” This definition alone offers hints to the magnitude of the gap an executive faces.

Contrast that against the definition of being a leader, which means “influencing, empowering, guiding in direction, course, action, and opinion.” Do you hear the nuance which when unraveled alters the very fabric of who you are from a doing thinking entity to a creative, inspiring force?

You see leadership is the highest calling in an organization as you accept responsibility not merely for your career, your company’s future, but that of every individual under your care. This attitude repositioning is not insignificant. It requires a metamorphosis in behavior, action, and thought process. Read More→

Empowered Women Playing Brilliantly In Business

I love you business women, and I appreciate your ability to overcome challenge-after-challenge even while wearing high-heels in an environment that is overrun with Oxfords.

It’s time to celebrate all that makes women not only wonderful but also highly effective in business—your attitude! It’s the unspoken hero to your success story.

Do you want to know what ways they open doors to your future?

Power Attitude #1: We’re Appreciators…. 

 “Appreciation can change a day, even change a life.
Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.”

–Margaret Cousins
Women’s Rights Activist

Women are natural encouragers. You’re committed to making this world a better place—including business organizations—one individual at a time. And this is a good thing. Studies confirm appreciation leads to satisfaction, increased productivity, innovation advances as well as improved engagement. Gallup studies concur engagement scores improve by 26 percent when employees receive recognition no matter at what level of the organization the person resides. Our corporate workforce is craving appreciation, and women understand this better than anyone.  

Power Attitude #2: We’re Overcomers….

 “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through
experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened,
vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

–Helen Keller
Author, Political Activist, and Lecturer

Overcoming is the story of a woman’s life professionally and personally. Research validates that as you prevail against adversity muscle is being built that give you all kinds of advantages. First, you’re more resilient when faced again with a similar situation. And secondly, through the process of defeating one challenge, you expand your skills as an “overcomer.” The insights you’ve learned along the way are why you are standing on the precipice prepared to win against all the messy realities facing business today.

Power Attitude  #3: We’re Connectors….

“When you look at successful women, they have other women
who have supported them, and they’ve gotten to
where they are because of those women (and men).”

–Sheryl Sandberg
COO of Facebook and Founder of

Women effortless build rich, productive relationships wherever they find themselves—including in business. You connect over shared interests and goals. You support others to thrive even in troublesome work environments. Since there are no products or services generated without relationships, this gives women a leg up as employees work better for people they trust and like. With your innate ability to keep your nurturing interactions over time research affirms, customers tend to remain loyal to women more than they do to men. Your relationship commitments have people working with and supporting your intended result.

Power Attitude  #4: We’re Sounding Boards….?

“Sometimes people just need to be able to meet with somebody and talk about things. That person just needs a sounding board.”

–Mary Bui-Pham
VP, Operations and Chief of Staff of Publisher Products at Yahoo

Women are better listeners than men according to a Cambridge University. It appears the part of the brain linked to emotions, calculating risk and listening is more dominant in women. Men only use half their brain to listen while women use both sides of their brain. As a woman, you naturally respond with your heart and head. This trait enables you to be an invaluable sounding board. With 40% of a typical professional’s salary earned through listening increasing dramatically as an executive moves up the ladder, this is a good thing for women.

Your attitudes are indeed powerful assets to achieving a rewarding, long-term, and satisfying career. So, lead with them whenever and as often as you can to assure both your success and your company’s.

What Direction Is Your “Tipping Point” Heading?

Are you puzzled by the question? After all, almost everything you read or hear relating to business tipping points causes you to believe the hallowed corporate hallways are shifting and stirring ready to bring exciting news your way. But that isn’t necessarily the case.

What most don’t realize is that a tipping point of change doesn’t automatically mean you’ll soon experience favorable results as energy can tilt in any direction causing either negative or positive consequence. You see it’s merely a system without conscious thought. It’s the split second when amassed momentum shifts into an outcome that you’re excited about or you aren’t.

As an executive ready for the big happening in your career, wouldn’t it be a dream come true to generate a bit of leverage toward the good side of things for yourself? You’re right. It doesn’t always work. But wouldn’t your life be mightily improved if one or two decisions impacting your career went your way?

Tipping The Balance In Your Favor: It’s not enough to receive an A+ on every assignment in your area of responsibility. An elemental factor for tipping control of your career in your favor is by gaining a bigger picture perspective of your organization. Stop spending 100 percent of your energy and attention gaining a handle on the minutia of your job while never lifting your eyes to realize a broader, more comprehensive overview of your organization. Too narrow a focus restricts your point of view handicapping your decision-making as well as harming not only your career but your company. So, check out the view above and beyond your daily activities to appreciate a more expansive marketplace. Actively pinpoint what your global competitors are up to, stay alert to technology breakthroughs that may impact your expertise, identify possible business challenges coming from an outlier because that is how you transform tipping points in your favor—with knowledge, awareness, and business acumen.

It’s Tough Influencing Decisions In A Vacuum: Relationships, upward and outside your area of expertise, are a powerful medium for acquiring insight into what is coming down the pike in your organization well before any decision launches the next big new concept that disrupts your world forever. These connections provide you with insider information to maneuver proactively for the good of your career rather than reactively responding, which firmly identifies you as a member of the corporate herd. And you know as well as I do, you never influence an organization while passively following behind the pack.

Generate A Tipping Point Of Change In You: Let’s not ignore the full-sized elephant smack-dab in the middle of the dialogue. Yes, you may be standing in your way. Being outside the inner decision-making circle or not sustaining wins time-after-time can create an indifferent, disengaged spirit. Such an attitude guarantees, you’ll always be sitting on the bleachers with little hope of getting in the game. Without question, this isn’t how you want to experience your career. Is it? And you’re the only one who can turn it around.

If this sounds like a place you live in every day, ask yourself: How can I become relevant in areas that excite me and open doors for me to sit at the table where tipping points originate? Being relevant is the surest way of getting the juices flowing and recharging a hopeless mindset.

Congratulations. You’re now a tipping point generator!

Wisdom To Kick-Start A Career Future

I sat down and said: Self. When you feel overwhelmed or discouraged about your today and even more doubtful regarding your future, what do you do? How do you shift your business into high gear?

After all, nothing requires a more considerable dose of self-generative actions than does an entrepreneur—especially a sole one, who has been in business for more than thirty years. You’ll discover the wisdom that kick-starts my business is just as relevant in your world.

Are you ready? Then, it’s time to:

RECALIBRATE: I don’t know about you, but I’m a persistent son-of-a-gun. This attitude has accounted for much of my success, and yet sometimes I charge forward to the point of foolhardiness. If you’re endlessly whacking your head against a career barrier, take a deep breath and pause. It’s time to reexamine your goals.

Are there tweaks needed to improve the results you’re generating? Is your chosen destination still the right one? Or is it time to reinvent yourself? After all, you’re always evolving. There’s nothing wrong with throwing out your entire game plan to design a new one that will encompass the reality of who you presently are.

RESET: Our whirlwind of the ever-changing work environment, as well as a busy personal life, leaves little contemplation time. Love yourself enough to discover where you’re joy resides through introspection—or as I like to say: contemplating your navel. When you allow yourself to drift, you’ll end up living a life you never intended, with a career you’re no longer proud of or enjoy. Calendaring time for self is the most dynamic future generating activity you can schedule.

GIFTEDNESS: Uncovering your talents is easy, and it isn’t. A significant clue is detected in your childhood, so begin the process by asking: What did I enjoy as a child? I bet there are golden threads that will lead you right into your today business world. Imagine getting to play and earn your living? What bliss! Another great question is: What do I do today that I get lost in where three hours pass as though it’s been merely three minutes? How amazing would it be to get paid for eight hours, yet feel as though you’ve spent eight minutes at work! Consider: What endeavor does your boss or fellow employees come to you for insight or advice? Often those around you witness your mastery with better clarity and insight than you notice yourself. Write everything down and hold it before you. This process isn’t just a quick dip your toe rather it necessitates meditating because this is your life.

ADVISOR: No one realizes a successful professional career and personal life without a lot of help along the way. It requires a teachable spirit open to receiving wise counsel. So, as you discover the next stage of your career, reach out to those you respect and admire soliciting their perspective to add richness and depth to your observations.

Ultimately, achieving your brass ring is a journey of stepping into your giftedness, serving others—your customers, your company, your boss, and your co-workers—learning from those around you, taking in the wisdom of your mentors as well as periodically pausing to examine where you are and whether it reflects who you are today.

3 Career Red Flag Women Must Learn To Recognize

The times are ripe for women to lean into their strengths and realize all their business dreams. And yet, we can’t afford to ignore Red Flags popping up along the journey.

Are you prepared to spot your career Red Flags?

Red Flag #1: Do You Hear Yourself Saying….? 

I’m not qualified to apply for that assignment. I don’t have the required talent or skill. 

Somehow, many of us buy into a mistaken career formula. It’s a truly small view one that only attributes perfection as the qualifier for competency. With such a mindset, we women limit the scope of the jobs we go after, which in turn, shrinks our career possibilities.

The reality is we often have a misperception regarding the hiring process. Rarely, does an applicant meet a 100 percent of the job’s criteria. Men seem to tap into this truth better than women. Hewlett Packard found men applied for a position if they were 60 percent qualified; whereas, women didn’t put their hat in the ring unless they judge themselves 100 percent competent. Recalibrate your confidence meter and stand up for yourself in big, bold way!

Red Flag #2: Do You Find Yourself Distancing or Withdrawing From Business Relationships because….? 

You believe an executive is too high up the corporate ladder to connect with you.

Or he or she is untrustworthy and doesn’t measure up to your relationship standards. 

The good news, without question, is women own the domain of deep, meaningful relationships. The not so grand news is women sometimes find it difficult to comfortably, and with integrity create strategic, targeted ones. The snag comes from the need for emotional affinity. Women have an inherent expectation of “respect,” “trust,” and “rapport” in a relationship. And in the business world where relationships are a prerequisite for producing products and services—emotional connectivity is a plus, not a necessity.

Studies by Catalyst confirm women’s relational networks have less clout than do men’s. This difference accounted for male executives receiving 15 percent more promotions than did women. In the research, men share how their network aided them in planning their next career move. Women, on the other hand, reported the emotional support they receive.

Red Flag #3: Do You See Yourself as a Fraud, So You’re Uncomfortable Working Outside Your Comfort Zone Since….?

You believe playing it safe as you check one item after another off your “to do” list is your success formula.

Within, you lack the confidence to perform above-and-beyond your specific job responsibilities; thus, never develop the pioneering spirit indispensable to leadership. This attitude keeps you from asking for the big assignment, which ends up stunting your career growth. And it silences you when every fiber of your being wants you to courageously speak up about an idea or take a stand when something doesn’t sit well with you.

You see not owning your power (your confidence) impacts every area of your career as it stops you from acting. Building up your belief in self is just as valuable, if not more so, for your career success as developing your competencies. So, start stepping over the shadow of yourself and move forward into the light of the greatness you richly deserve.

The time for you to soar is here and now. Take the Red Flag challenge, and then, prepare yourself to secure the high ground you’ve always aspired to garner.