Life is short and let us don’t limit our chances to shine.
I read the book “How Women Rise: 12 Habits Holding You Back From Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job” co-authored by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith early this year, and with their advice, I have been shining brighter than ever at work.
Human behavior is based on connecting with their environment, and by nature, women tend to connect more easily. There are times, especially during appraisals in the organizations, when they face discrimination at the hands of the management. They put their dedication and hard work, but still, they are undervalued.
Just because your habits have been working for you in the past few years doesn’t mean they will help you move your career forward. In fact, if you think otherwise, this is what Helgesen states as the “superstition trap”. You may have done many things right, but many things may have also worked against you.
Among the 12 habits Helgesen and Goldsmith recommended in their book, I resonate the most with the below 5 habits…
1. Claim Your Achievements
Most women are reluctant to claim their achievements rather than get the credit for the same. They think staying humble will be recognized by their bosses. Women are taken away by the desire to please everyone that limits their growth. So, stop getting that urge to be always perfect. If you have done something, claim it in the first place. Do not apologize for the things you haven’t done (I have trained myself to not say sorry when I really don’t feel sorry. And I haven’t heard myself saying the word for quite a while…).
Even the acclaimed women leadership expert Helgesen stated she was asked by her co-author Goldsmith to get famous through her book ‘Design the Life You Love’. Helgesen said she never wanted to look ambitious, and at exactly that point she realised she was showing a behavior she advocated to avoid. In response, Goldsmith asked, “Why bother writing if you don’t want the book to be a huge success and wants everyone to read it?”
If you do not value your work, why will anyone else?
2. Leave the Old Behaviors and Habits that are Limiting You
Women are often evaluated based on their contributions towards the company and men on their potential. This behavior leads to many women being on the back foot, and their promotions are delayed.
I have learned that I don’t go to work to make friends (although it is nice to have friendly relationships there), and it really doesn’t matter if people think I am a bitch or not. I go to work to make things happen and solve my clients’ problems.
We don’t go to work to feel popular (let’s just do that through social media), and any pleasing habits or habit of not claiming your dues, won’t take us too far in our career. After all, the only way to earn respect at work is to (over) deliver value.
Break those unhealthy attitudes and make a consistent effort to reach your goals in the future. Don’t keep your head down and make it a go-to-response.
Over Deliver. Claim Your Achievements. Repeat.
3. Do Not Strive to be Perfect Every Time
We women like to be hard on ourselves (so much more than our male counterparts), but it is necessary for us to not fall into the “perfection trap” that limits our growth in career and life.
You can revolutionize how to lead your work, but designing things to be perfect is simply unnecessary. When you try to spot mistakes in even the smallest things, regardless of whether the mistakes are caused by you or others, you look unprofessional and definitely not like a leader.
Leave the negative things aside for a moment to celebrate the positives that have to happen because of your decisions. Do not let your team feel disappointed. Be creative and visionary rather than striving to be perfect always. It is great to explore new territories and ideas. Start making room for positivity and achievements to excel in your role at work.
4. Start Upgrading Yourself
One of the best ways to rise at work is to read and upgrade yourself. You can read books from many best authors like Amy Cuddy, Sheryl Sandberg, Arianna Huffington, etc. You must know how to survive the professional differences and make sure to avoid a surviving syndrome. Moreover, you must have an open mind and expose yourself to new ideas that will help in bringing changes to your personality.
Personally, I read about a book per week, and these books cover a wide range of topics such a self-development and history (and future such as bio-engineering). Reading has helped me upgrade myself and provided me with topics to talk to strangers (i.e. other professionals).
You can also enhance your organizational skills through online coaching, courses, certifications, etc. And you can show your achievements on your LinkedIn profile. This will let people come to you for expert ideas.
5. Build Professional Relationships
It is necessary to build connections and convey the same in your meetings to your top bosses. This will help you and your workplace seniors know how you are dealing with the organizational work.
It is perfectly okay to believe in the “give and take” as a source of mutual benefits. Women worry that this behavior may be rated as self-serving or using others in the organization. But, the mutual give and take relationships are usually constructive and free. Speaking from my experience, if you leverage relationships with good people, you tend to become successful.
Women are less likely to get into the transition of becoming a leader than their male counterparts. Males have always seen themselves as winners.
Women in the professional world usually strive to work for their team rather than for themselves (I mean providing values on their own terms). They go through self-sabotaging behaviors most times, which may lead them to stress and not being recognized. I was guilty of this as well but not anymore. After all, life is short and we shouldn’t limit our chances to shine.
We need more female leaders in the professional world and let us do this together.