When women are faced with the prospect of raising their profile and gaining due recognition, it is important to own more of who we are and what we have to offer. Here’s how:
- Become a person of value
Recognise your own worth. If you want to work on a project, speak up. If you want to lead a team, tell someone. No-one will appreciate your contributions until you appreciate them yourself. Work to become known as someone who can be counted on.
2. Let your voice be heard.
Studies show that women are much less likely than men to speak up in meetings and when they do speak up, they apologise repeatedly and allow themselves to be interrupted.
If you don’t believe you have anything worth saying, how will others have confidence in you?
Recognise the value of your opinions and believe that what you have to share is worth listening to.
3. Speak with confidence
If your communication style seems a bit weak, practise being assertive. That does not mean that you have to be aggressive. Simply drop the qualifying words and phrases when you speak – like “just”, “I feel” and “sort-of” – and others will see you as more authoritative and confident.
4. Learn how to handle conflict
Instead of engaging in conflict or avoiding it, learn to communicate forward by acknowledging the conflict and asking, “So how do we move beyond this?”. Don’t make or allow personal attacks, keep it professional. Don’t hold a grudge; once the conflict is over, shake hands, hold your head up high and return to work.
5. Take on a leadership role
You don’t have to have a leadership title to be considered a leader in your office.
Whatever your position, find a leadership role in which you can excel – whether it’s heading up a key initiative, solving problems, resolving conflict or calm decision-making in a crisis. Then push yourself to be the go-to person for those situations.
6. Find a sponsor
Look for sponsorship in your workplace by building strong relationships with your boss and other senior leaders. Pay particular attention to cultivating relationships with the individuals who believe in you and who publicly support you – they are going to be your best advocates and your greatest supporters.