Webinar presenter Jonni Redick answered a number of your questions after her presentation, How Women Rise: Breaking and Creating New Habits for Success (part 1). Here are just a few of her responses.
Audience Question: Can one person be all of those categories? Can one person be a mentor and a coach and a sponsor and an ally, or is that too much to ask of any one individual?
Jonni Redick: One way to look at that is, so for me, as an assistant chief, it would be really hard for me to give you the value you need and me to mentor you effectively, all the time. So, I would say, when you’re looking at mentors, they need to have time to be the person that’s going to listen to all the real talk that they’re going to need to give you, and all the things that you’re probably going to want to vent about. And then they can give you advice towards. Coaches will want to listen as well, but they’re going to come back with some more structured goals and things that you’re going to need to work on, accomplish, come back and report to. So, they’re going to have some more of this follow-up for you. And then, when you’re looking at sponsors, sponsors are busy. Awesome sponsors, there will be people trying to get to them all the time. And so, it’s not that you couldn’t be all of them, but I think we talked about part of the self-care, creating some healthy boundaries. Understanding that you also have to have some healthy nos with your yeses for a person that might want to be all of those. But I try to lean into, differently to each person. So, if I know I can sponsor people really well, I want to be that advocate for them at the table, and then I have some relationships that are sometimes peer relationships, where I’m being more of a mentor if that makes sense. And so, I don’t think it’s impossible. I just think it has to be done with good balance and some thought with it.
Audience Question: Should agencies assign employees to specific mentors or sponsors? Or should employees find those mentors themselves? What’s the benefit to each?
Jonni Redick: I would say, don’t wait for your agency to do anything. Because when you wait, you can be waiting forever. But it would be great. Some agencies do have formal mentoring programs, but they’re not necessarily designed effectively for the way that they should, I’ll say. But it would be nice if there were mentoring programs that understood the differences for women so that when you are having mentoring programs, you can match people up according to how to improve their development and their strengths. And it’s a great opportunity, right now. Especially with the 30 by 30 initiative that’s going on for, you know, 30% women by 2030. That if there are law enforcement leaders listening to the webinar, or you’re in some kind of a position to have the conversation, introduce a mentoring program just to start, right. And then you can build that out and grow that. But for most, you have to be your own advocate. You have to.
Audience Question: You talked about having a pitch. Is this the same thing as an elevator pitch and what should be in that?
Jonni Redick: Helgesen and Goldsmith, they talk about that, they talk about this pitch, if you run into your boss, in the elevator and maybe they don’t know you or maybe they only know a little bit about you, and it’s really talked about. “Hi. Chief Redick. So, nice to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you. I don’t know if you know who I am, but I happen to work in the Oakland area. I work on the task force for auto theft. I don’t know if you’ve heard about the event that we had, where we did this, that, and the other. But I really enjoy being out in the Bay Area and out of the task force, but I am planning on taking the next Sergeant’s exam.” Okay, that takes less than a minute, right? But if we’re not prepared to have that conversation, and we just go, “Hi..” And you know, and we freeze up. But if we mentally work those things to our head, develop our pitch, and it can be casual and comfortable. And it doesn’t have to sound like we’re selling ourselves, but we’re selling ourselves, right? We want them to remember that they ran into us in the elevator, and they’re going to be like, “Man, I remember Officer Redick.” Right?
Audience Question: How do you do that pitch just to a boss or an executive, without it seeming, selfish, egotistical, or anything like that? Or is it simply just practice?
Jonni Redick: It is simply practice. Because if we’re not confident and comfortable in how we’re going to communicate, then that’s going to come across. And so, it is just practice. And I feel like, the example I just gave, it was a way where you don’t come off feeling any of those things that you asked in that question. And they can be natural and authentic and it’s okay because leaders kind of want to know a little bit about who you are, and they’re awkward too. They don’t necessarily know what to ask or talk to you about either like, “Man, can we get to the third floor already, gees boy can we get out of the elevator” when that awkward silence hits. So, you be the one that has the confidence, right, and that ability to communicate a little bit about who you are, and you’ve created that connection.
Audience Question: You mentioned, having healthy nos and yeses. What’s the secret formula here? How do you get better at saying no? And how do you recommend saying no?
Jonni Redick: So those are hard when I was an officer and a sergeant. It was hard for me to say, no, because I wanted to promote, and I felt like everything was attached to a yes. And for me, it was maturation. It is understanding that some of the things I was saying yes to, or not directly correlated or connected to where I wanted to go in the organization, they weren’t going to benefit me that way. I was saying yes, because I was a people pleaser, and I didn’t want to let people down. It wasn’t my yes that was designed to help to move me forward if that makes sense. So, when you are considering your yeses and nos, it’s really looking at, what the yes is? What is the yes going to provide you? How much time is the yes going to take? And having the conversation with the person asking you to do this, to know already what responsibilities you have, and this is professionally at work, personally at home, because it’s going to impact you, whatever you say yes to, it’s going to affect you at home. And so, for me, it was really slowing down and really having a pause before, I press the play button on things versus no, this is not going to really… and it’s not selfish, it’s just like I don’t have time for it, I have too much that I’m doing, or it’s not within the focus or the interests that I have. So, when you say that, you go, “Gosh, I really appreciate your thinking of me on this one. But I’m already have all these projects, or I’m already overtaxed with this, but I’d love to be able to be considered for the next thing.” Right? So, never cut yourself off.
Audience Question: Could you review, again, she missed the first assignment that you gave for writing. She heard the second part about defining your why. And, again, if you could kind of put some more context around that, that’d be fantastic, but if you could kind of review again. What are the assignments for next time?
Jonni Redick: Here’s a document that will help you prepare for the next webinar session.