For the women: back to basics
August is women’s month in South Africa and in light of this theme I dedicate my August blog to women in the workplace. Let’s get back to the nine basic things that women can do to be successful in the workplace. And for the men: this is equally true for you!
- Be your authentic self
So many women think that they should act like men in order to be successful while the success of a team lies in its diversity. Your power lies in being your authentic self. People are drawn to authenticity and the more you are true to yourself, the easier you will find it to lead.
- Breath, pause and reflect
When things go wrong, women often first go into panic mode; it is part of our biological make-up. Before you act, breath, pause and take the emotion out. Gather information and let the information inform your decision, not your emotions. Making sound decisions starts with gathering the facts, considering all sides of the story and then making a decision.
Even when responding to emails: breath, pause and reflect before responding. And even then, perhaps you only want to hit the send-button after an hour once you have had even more time to reflect.
- Don’t shy away from difficult conversations
You know when you have to address a matter and it is merely the fear of emotions (yours of the other person’s) that makes your shy away from those conversations. What is the worst that can happen? When you think about it: no one is going to die and by having the conversation you might well help the other person. Many leaders struggle with this; you aren’t alone! It takes time and practice. So why not start today?
- Walk the corridors
Women are known for getting things done. The problem with this is that women often neglect making connections with others in the organisation as their focus is to get the job done. Book some time in your diary to walk the corridors, connect with others and listen. You will be surprised as to how many answers to questions that you are battling with you will find in the corridors!
- Believe in your abilities
Often, when a woman considers an opportunity, she starts off listing all the things she cannot do as opposed to focusing on the things she can do. What makes it even worse: she normally verbalises all those shortcomings! Remember, you can learn new skills and your attitude towards learning new skills are more important that the things you cannot do. Step out of your comfort zone, believe in your abilities and grab the opportunity. Carpe diem!
- Give credit where it is due
People look up to a leader whom gives credit where it is due. Speak highly of others publicly, to not only better leverage their talents and skills in the business, but to also grow trust among your team.
- Remember your priorities
We hear so much about balance: work-life balance, balanced diet, to name but a few. To excel at life, it is crucial to remember your priorities. Our priorities are all different and there is no right or wrong answer. Your focus should be on knowing your priorities and building your life around those. There is nothing that makes one feeling more miserable than spending time and energy on things that are not a priority. Why then do it?
- Support and self-care
Successful women in the workplace makes an effort to look after themselves, mentally and physically. And yes, I know that time is not our friend however, even if you take half an hour a week to focus on yourself, it would be a good start.
- Know that your to do lists will never be completed, and be ok with that
Sometimes you can be more productive by accepting that you’re simply not going to get everything done. Learning to let go of certain goals, responsibilities and tasks can be difficult, but it will set you free. You know you will not get to it, so why put it on your to do list and beating yourself up about it?
Courage is not not being afraid; its being afraid and doing it anyways. Gina Bianchini