I’ve been reading a lot about how important it is for women to embrace their femininity, lead with confidence and take their seat at the decision-making table. I’m confident that with more women leaders, our world will change for the better. Taking that seat at the table isn’t as easy as a request or demand. It takes strategy, positioning and time. I’m convinced that taking your seat is more about how you show up rather than if you show up. Here are three things to improve how you show up in the workplace.
Drive Your Projects
We’re in the information age, where employees are paid more for their knowledge and execution than ever before. You’re not a phone switch operator; those jobs were replaced with automation and never paid well anyway. The second you walk through the doors of your office, be prepared to drive your projects forward. Create a list of the things that you need to get done and hold others accountable for providing their contributions.
It’s easy to fall into a monotonous routine. You have so much that you need to get done in all aspects of your life, but people want players on their teams; the players that go above and beyond to drive results. Nobody wants to pick up anyone else’s slack.
Prepare for meetings by thinking through the problems and suggesting solutions. Even if your idea isn’t implemented, people will take notice. You’ll be known as a contributor and a leader. Before long, you’ll have earned a seat at the table.
Dressing in mini skirts, wearing low cut blouses and short shorts distracts your co-workers, both men and women. Even if your intention is to wear the latest style or stay cool, people who have to expend effort trying to look the other way won’t want to be on your team. Married men don’t want to cheat on their wives or fall victim to their desires. It’s possible that they’d prefer to have you off of their team rather than fight the temptation.
When I was a budding entrepreneur, the advice given to me was to dress like a man. I hated hearing that I needed to wear a suit into the office because I wasn’t convinced that clothing earned me a seat at the table. I believe that when you out perform, you don’t need to conform. While I didn’t conform to societal standards, I did dress professionally and with intention because I wanted to be known for my contribution rather than my clothes.
You don’t need to trash your entire wardrobe. Before you leave the house check the mirror and ask yourself and a few trusted co-workers if you’re making the right impression. You can still wear stylish clothes, but double check the mirror especially if you feel like you’re not being taken seriously or feel that you were unfairly passed over for that last promotion.
Don’t Party Hard
As you continue to contribute to the success of your company, you’ll likely be invited to networking events, conferences and other high-profile functions where alcohol is served. An occasional glass of wine, beer or cocktail is acceptable when others in the room are also partaking, but watch your intake.
I’ve talked to many male executives, and every one of them has said that there’s nothing worse than a drunken woman because nobody wants to take care of her. They have no problem calling a cab for their male counterparts, but they feel that they should show extra care for the women on their team and ensure they get home safely.
Don’t burden your co-workers by being the woman that others have to take care of. Everyone is busy. The less work you add to others, the better. In fact, the more you can contribute to the bottom line the likelihood of your career success. How you show up is more important than if you show up. Do the work, dress appropriately and be responsible when you socialize. Feminine leaders don’t just sit at the table. They show up strong. Contact me today so I can help you get your seat at the table.