Over the years, I’ve worked with many women on their communication challenges. I have found that they have different preferences, styles and approaches from men which creates a feeling that they are not as accepted or valued in the workplace. Many women have a tougher time (than men) communicating effectively with command and power when things like relationships might be at risk as a result.
What can women do differently?
Don’t Take It Personally
Women often think over (and over and over) specific things that happen at work, taking things personally and experiencing them deeply. It is more effective to process through challenges analytically and work to neutralize your emotions. Too much emotion compromises the ability to make effective decisions and take action.
Do Take Credit Where It’s Due
If you find yourself talking about what ‘we’ accomplished instead of what “I” accomplished you are not making a compelling case for your endeavors. If you won’t talk powerfully about your accomplishments, who do you think will?
Do Negotiate for What Your Deserve
A lot of the reluctance to negotiating for what you want right off the bat is due to the idea that there may be punitive repercussions down the road. But making a well thought out case for what you want at the beginning is critical because it’s almost impossible to catch up later.
Do Speak Truth to Power
Challenging the ideas to those is power can be difficult for anyone but women struggle with this more. There definitely can be a real backlash in the workplace when you speak your mind and go against others. But it’s unlikely you will ascend into more powerful positions if you don’t learn how to speak up and disagree well. Figuring how to challenge others in a way where you can be understood and valued requires the ability to examine and understand the organizational culture where you work.
Do Get Sponsors With Influence
Sponsors are the people in your workplace who are at higher levels who can advocate for you and support your growth and ascension. Mentors are people who provide feedback and advice. Both are important but obtaining effective sponsors is essential. These are the folks who have clout, can help you advance and assist you in getting the exposure needed for professional success.
Do Project Confidence and Presence
Poise under pressure can be the thing that helps you succeed in the workplace. We all have experienced times when we fell “less than” and lack the confidence we want to have. But women tend to think about it much more. Whatever you feel you are missing, figure out how to shore that area up: gain it, achieve it and claim it. While you can’t fake feeling empowered, you can acknowledge what you DO have and use that to strengthen your sense of self-worth.
While these are the ‘WHAT,’ you may struggle with the ‘HOW.’ That’s where one-on-one consulting comes in. I can help you develop the skills you need to execute these strategies. It could be time for us to work together.