So I’m sitting here watching Bravo TV (half watching because I’m actually working). Kell on Earth is a new show that they’ve unleashed upon the viewing public. The gist of it is she’s some fashion publicist/event planner/organizer or whatever kind of company. They chronicle her life and business a la Bravo style. In half listening I heard some things that really disturbed me. Now, I’m all for maintaining control in your company. Nobody wants to have employees who walk all over them and treat them like crap. I’ve seen this in the real world and in reality TV. It’s not pretty. But nobody wants to work for someone who’s an utter bitch. Excuse the language but I am on a truth and transparency mission this year.

I’ve done my time in the corporate world where I’ve experienced bosses who were absolute terrors. I don’t know if it was bad attitude, poor upbringing or overloaded stressful workloads. But I’ve always maintained that NOTHING gives anyone free reign to unload all their bullshit on their employees or subordinates. I have short tolerance for rudeness so I never did well in an environment where managers and bosses felt they could talk down to me just because they had a title and a little more responsibility. You may be dealing with a boss (man or woman) who is just a complete bitch. No matter how well you work, they always have some nasty, mean negative thing to say. Or how about the ones who yell at their subordinates? I know we’re all encountered this one on occasion. See, here’s the thing. If you are on delivery end of such bad office behavior, stop and think. Do you want people talking to YOU like that? Would you speak to someone on the street like that? How about your boss? What about your spouse? People often feel they have a right to say what they want to whom they want when they want. There’s a time and place (and a manner) you express yourself. Unloading on your staff is not only inappropriate, but could also get you punched in the mouth after working hours should you come across the wrong person who will not put up with such nonsense.

I always go by the old saying treat others as you want them to treat you. Step away from the title and the office, and you put your pants on one leg at a time. Long gone are the days where the higher up your position is, the meaner you need to be. You can’t manage or lead by terrorizing. It doesn’t facilitate productivity. In fact it breeds resentment. I’m not advocating coming in to work every day like you’re the next coming of Mary Poppins. Just realize that your actions (and words) have consequences. Effective leaders do well because they establish a rapport with their staff. People want to follow leaders who lead with the intention to educate and collaborate. It’s OK to be bothered by something or someone, but pull that person to the side and speak with them in private and with the dignity and respect they deserve.

If you’re a victim of the Office Terrorist, try scheduling a one on one meeting and express to them how it feels to be treated in that manner. Now, I understand that in reality someone who is intent on making others miserable will not hear your message, and there’s a real possibility that you may experience retaliation. But if you don’t start standing up for yourself, you give the other person license to figuratively spit on you. You have to set the boundaries and let people know what you absolutely will not accept. To be fair, the person may not be aware of how they’re treating people or how it affects them. But sometimes it takes putting everything on the table to open their eyes. If you are dealing with someone who is absolutely not interested in adjusting their attitude, perhaps THEIR superiors need to step in.

There is no excuse for treating your staff poorly. Even in the most dire of circumstances, a supervisor/boss/manager needs to keep the morale of the team a top priority. You can manage firmly without being nasty. Productivity affects performance and your company’s bottom line. Remember that the next time you feel the need to go Cruella deVille on your staff.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

radioiconIt doesn’t have to be lonely at the top. Sometimes women feel they have so much more to prove than men, that they keep every task, project, or issue to themselves. This can lead to destruction if you’re not careful. Ladies, you can be a leader and still delegate critical tasks to others, while maintaining control. There’s no rule that says in order to be successful you HAVE to do it all. Join me as my guests and I discuss how women in top positions handle leadership and delegating. We will be discussing how to learn how to delegate in order to lead effectively, the pitfalls of not delegating, hiring the right people and deciding what should be delegated, and how to create an environment where people will gladly follow your lead because they believe in your vision and mission. Tune in live at 9AM EST at and join the conversation in the chat room. Call in with questions or comments at (347) 215-9362.

24036871I’m back! This time talking about Transitions. Getting a promotion to a manager or supervisor role is a sweet deal. Or is it? With a higher position comes much responsibility, and of course some resentment. It can be a delicate time easing into a new leadership role and keeping office relationships (almost) at the same levels. People view you in a different light. Some may feel that your new position elevates you above the “regular folks” and believe that they can’t trust in you because you’re the “boss lady”. Some may even believe that you catapulted yourself above everyone else and no longer care about the plight of the little people, even though this may not be true. In any case, there are best practices to managing the transition.

Tune in tomorrow morning to listen to our guest panelists as they talk about their own experiences in dealing with the transition from team member to manager and tips on best practices for managing relationships within a new dynamic. They also discuss stepping into a leadership and management role with a team of all or mostly men! Feel free to call in with questions or comments. (347) 215-9362.

You can listen online at or catch the podcast at iTunes if you miss it live.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

Lately I’ve been obsessed with researching for my next book.  The topic? You guessed it…women power brokers.  I’ve been gathering the information on the women I want to interview for this book and I’ve been watching press and footage of some of them, trying to get an understanding of who they are.  I’ve learned that power comes in many forms and has different meanings for different people.

In a way, I am considered a power broker. Not because of fame or fortune (still working on those HAH!) but because of the connections I make and relationships I develop.  I am the networking guru.  I derive great pleasure from linking people together. I’m great at it and magic happens when I do it. I know a lot of powerful women (and men) and I know how and when to use them for my self and when to connect them with other key people.  That’s what makes me a power broker.

Hillary Clinton is a power broker.  Regardless of what you think about her, regardless of what I think of her personally, you have to give it to her.  She has a grasp of the political scene, a fearlessness that I admire, and a no surrender attitude. I’ll admit, during the primaries, she got on my nerves. At times I resented her because she wouldn’t give it up already even though it was clear she lost. But what made me resentful, also made me respect her fight.  Hillary went after what she wanted even though at times people made it hard for her.  She still fought the good fight. She made such a statement to all the girls and women of the world that we have indeed come very far and that the sky is the limit on your dreams. My proverbial hat is off to Hillary for being that woman who almost successfully went for the highest office in our land. I see her continuing to sharpen her political stronghold and a run at the seat in 2012.

Take someone like Kimora Lee Simmons.  Yes, Kimora.  Now there are some people who don’t take her very serious because she married a mogul and “inherited” her empire.  And there are people out there who discredit her business accomplishments and write her off as a gold digger.  But you know, I’ve been researching Kimora.  Her girls (two young daughters) are at the heart of everything she does. Yes she’s over the top, but I look beyond that and get to her core business and the woman gets things done. She is not a power broker because of her money, fame, ex-husband or extravagant lifestyle. She is a power broker because she manages to keep her obligation to raising her girls in step with growing her business and by going after exactly what she wants.

A power broker doesn’t need to be in the spotlight.  The two diametrically opposed examples I gave above are small examples from the extreme end of the spectrum.  A true power broker in my opinion is a woman of class, leadership, ambition, knowledge, service, energy, vision, creativity, visibility and positive attitude. A woman of power is clear about what she does and what she brings to the table. A power broker doesn’t let a perceived glass ceiling stand in her way nor does she let the small things distract her. She surrounds herself with key advisors but ultimately makes her own decisions and is comfortable with said decisions because they are her own.  She holds just as much pride in her silent power than in the in your face over the top displays of power.  When I think power broker, I think women like Indra Nooyi, Sara Blakely, Anne Mulcahy, Muriel Siebert, Sheila Johnson, Andrea Jung and Anne Fudge.  These women have risen to a level of power that took time to develop and fought all the way there to earn their spots.  Of course there are lots more out there who bring a different perspective to power.  But these are the women who stand out to me.

So how do you become a power broker?  First of all, you need to be true to yourself. Know your goals and don’t let anyone deter you from them. You need to be comfortable with breaking the stereotypes and have a thick skin.  Many people are going to hate you along the way no matter how nice or mean you are. It’s a fact.  But it’s up to you to make sure you don’t fall into the pitfalls. You must not be afraid to dare to buck the system. There’s never a straight line to anywhere. Sometimes you have to take the untraveled (or unpopular) path to get where you need to go. Dare to be different and follow your own heart. Networking and mentors are key.  Even power brokers need mentors, and relationship building is the cornerstone to success.  You know what they say about the company you keep.  Realize you don’t know everything and that in life you are always learning.  Always keep yourself open to new experiences and ask about what you don’t know. Education, self or institutional, can never be out of style. The more you know, the better you can position yourself for success.

Don’t settle, ever. If you want something bad enough and you have enough passion and fight in you, go for it! Reach for the unreachable.  Many doubters will try to talk you out of doing things. Cancel out that background noise and follow your heart.  Remember, the sky is not the limit. Leadership is a key trait of a power broker.  It is not about telling people what to do, rather, leading by example. Learn to listen to your people and find a way to bring out their best.  That’s the sign of a true leader.  And finally, check sabotage.  You shouldn’t be trying to sabotage anyone, and you need to be alert to anyone sabotaging you. Once you see an instance of potential sabotage, check it immediately. Don’t be afraid to get rid of negative people or people who don’t look out for your best interest.

I could go on and on about the role or archetypes of a power broker, but I’ll save it for my book.  I want everyone reading this blog to realize that no matter where they are in their career, no matter their station, everyone has the potential to become a power broker.  When you become a power broker, it’s up to you to use that power responsibly. Having power doesn’t mean you throw money at problems, treat people as inferiors or putting your word or opinion above everyone else.  True power comes from how people perceive you and trust me, it can be taken away at any time.

Tile next time.

Adrienne Graham