The workplace is changing. Not just fancy and fresh technology, which is rampant, but the C-level players are changing too (that is, C for critical); We need new and scintillating ideas.
Women are coming back into the workplace after hiatus or are etching closer to that glass ceiling. It’s in reach, and if you look closely, you can see cracks.
But more progress needs to be made. I will be the first to admit this and can offer a prototypical perspective as an accomplished Project Leader and Navy Veteran working in Corporate America for 10+ years now. Further, I am proud to be writing this post as a budding writer – founder of Bizzeebobber.com – and defender of equality.
It can be tough to breach the status quo in traditionally male dominated corporations, so how do you break that mold? How do you ascend to new heights and reap opportunities? These 5 tips will help boost your presence at work – and help you climb the ladder. No need to kick off them heals! Be bold… Be you.
Pssst guys, you can benefit from this blog post, too. In a similar fashion – I am not ashamed to say I read my girlfriend’s Cosmo magazine, when I was a young buck and in my early 20’s. It was perspective and of course, welcomed education for all. Though it truly needs to be less about pictures as to not perpetuate the wrong conveyance of the message.
ARE YOU CAREER WORTHY?
Of course you are! YOU decide, if and what kind of career you want to have. You have to establish your own personal career goals and be honest about your strengths and growth areas.
Goals and plans are best, when they are documented. Use a napkin, journal, or an online notebook, as examples – in as long as it’s a tool where you revisit for progress or make updates to ensure you stay on track. In sum, write down your career goals and be sure to review them every now and again.
5 ways to positively boost your presence at work – and climb the ladder with heels on (If you want to)!
As a man, I strongly advocate for equality. #HeForShe …
“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.”, says Emma Watson, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, in her infamous speech.”
I don’t know what it feels like to wear heels, but I know you shouldn’t need to kick them off to climb the ladder. And this isn’t about aesthetics or appearance, but something deeper. We need to advance beyond the trite and superficial to usher in a better tomorrow.
Perhaps a ladder decked out in diamond studs? Perhaps not, wooden rungs have stood the test of time. We cannot assume that all women will like the same thing, and genders should be liberated to do any work or career they choose. What constitutes a ladder is up to you, but it’s significance in compelling. Wood and diamonds are the same. Don’t you agree?
1) Be careful with “reverse” gender bias
“Any gender bias has negative connotations.” – John Waite, Founder of Bizzeebobber.com
This could be a tricky one to lead with, but It’s important to make the point. We are still in a male dominant corporate America. With that, you have deep-rooted systems and networks in place to advocate for men.
This needs to change, but what Men have done to women – in essence – shouldn’t be reciprocated now that we are in an inflection point. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Simply put, it’s important for women to embrace equality too on their rise to the top.
Focus on career growth and with attention to glaring business issues, which promulgates value to customers. Leaders do not hold grudges. Leaders set the example and stand above the rest.
Boost your presence by leaving gender bias out of the role status.
2) Make big decisions
It’s not a case of making decisions that are pragmatic versus emotional. Genders will likely approach problems differently, and this extends beyond Male or Female precepts. With however you identify, it will help govern your methodology in making such a choice.
Idleness or inaction kills.
Decisiveness is necessary to grow your career. Making big decisions is a great responsibility that many do not want. It could be due to fear, insecurity, lack of knowledge, or other factors.
With many decisions, it [they] will prove to be wrong…
If you are wrong it can be fixed, but doing nothing at all is a worse premise. Fail quick, or succeed, but taking no action halts progress. It’s not weakness, it’s just – to me – a proven notion that there is a lack of leadership.
Boost your presence by putting your opinion and judgement on the line.
3) Go against the grain
Don’t be different or obstinate “just because”. It might be perceived as a personal vendetta or some other contempt to go against the grain, but if there is rationale and substance behind your stance don’t be afraid to stand alone.
Have your convictions and integrity.
My career has been exemplified with many moments where I found myself on the other side of a debate or discussion. I didn’t do it to be difficult. I didn’t do it to prove a petty point. I did it, because it’s what my heart – and brain – believed were right; Oftentimes the convergence of both faculties is purpose and fate.
What happens when you go against the grain with purpose – you garner respect from others. Gone are the days of the YES men and women.
Boost your presence by standing alone and being able to justify your position.
4) Be the BEST listener in the room
Leadership isn’t borne from talking all the time. The best leaders listen. They are empathetic and problem-solvers by nature. They will HEAR their team or direct reports. Further, they give credit where credit is due.
You won’t always be the brightest or most savvy in the room. You don’t need to be. But if you slight co-workers or disregard others’ opinions and sentiments you will always have to look over your shoulder.
Boost your presence by not talking too abruptly even after uncomfortable pauses; Engage when others have finished their thoughts and sentences.
5) ALWAYS put the customer first; Be a Team player
“The customer” can mean different things to different organizations. Sometimes your customer is an internal party working for another part of the company. Other times it is more in the traditional sense of the term such as an outside entity that you service. But it has to be more than just providing services…
Without customers, businesses don’t exist.
To do well in your career it’s important to understand HOW to work with customers. And this doesn’t mean saying yes to them all the time or merely performing the prerequisites of the job description. It comes down to navigating a complex relationship versus just tactical execution.
“The best customer relationships are ones in which you are an extension of their team. EQ or the Emotional Quotient aspect is a significant portion of this…” – John Waite
I make it a point to know MORE than just my customer’s business model or mission statement. I have empathy when they have something significant happen in their business. It’s being cognizant that they have families too – work is just a bi-product of their life. In essence, customers become more than business, but just less than friends. How do you keep the balance?
Boost your presence by advocating for the customer. Be their voice within your organization. But also, look out for their best interests and sometimes this means saying, ‘No” or letting them know something is ill-advised.
Always remember, the best relationships – personal and business – are based on trust and honesty.
Ladder “Climb”ax (Umm, in conclusion…)
Climbing the ladder may be a figurative expression, but there is a ladder. It doesn’t care about gender. It doesn’t care about age. It only cares that you are interested in going places. How high will you climb? What is your pinnacle or climax? Hopefully far enough where you will get cut breaking through the glass. Time heals (the other heels) all wounds.