Thriving in the Workplace as a Female Leader
Gender equality is a topic that is being discussed a lot when it comes to how workplace dynamics are in contemporary age; many female leaders find that they have a harder time reaching and staying at the top as a leader when compared to men. Why is this? There are many different factors to look at. Often it’s a sexist workplace culture that could be creating obstacles for women to thrive as successful leaders in the workplace.
By Melinda Clover
We’ve compiled some tips to help women thrive despite the toxic workplace cultures and attitudes. Women who want to make it to a leadership role or for those women who already have their role defined as a leader, there are several ways in which you can ensure that your impact is etched.
Always speak up in meetings.
A lot of times, women do not feel confident about voicing their opinions in meetings or during important discussions. If you are a woman, make sure you put the point across in such discussions without any hesitance and if you are a man, make sure that the women in the meeting are as involved as the others by encouraging them to do so in a positive manner. Women often seat themselves away from the main group or are sometimes not even seated on the same table. It is high time to take that seat. If you are a part of making the decision, you are as important as the others there and are entitled to equal participation irrespective of your gender.
Polish your communication skills.
A big part of being a successful leader and thriving in the workplace is hinged on to your communication skills. Women need to pull up their socks in this department and speak directly, especially when communicating face to face. Beginning with an “I don’t think…” or “I’m not sure…” before expressing an idea can often weaken the stance just due to the sheer lack of confidence in the person saying it. Instead, women should make confident statements and not be afraid to say what is on their minds! And for the women working remotely, there are plenty of communication barriers as it is, make sure that you insist on being updated about what is happening in the company from time to time. Using platforms that augment employee communication can be helpful in this regard.
A lot of women find the maximum resistance from other women. In the professional front, women are often pitted against each other, and that is one of the biggest factors contributing to the abysmal number of women in leadership roles. Speak to the women in the leadership roles to understand how and if there is an opportunity to rise within the organisation. This kind of networking will ensure that you have some support at your workplace for your growth as a leader. In fact, it is one of the best ways that you can continue to improve and thrive in the workplace. When you have those, who have been where you are at or are currently in this position, they often have the best and most relatable advice and experiences that you can use for your benefit.
Know the value that you bring to any workplace and let it be known
A lot of times, women’s gender identity precedes their capabilities. Always remember what you bring to the organisation and what you add to it. Do not settle for being the token female representation for your company. Let your skills do the talking. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind if the situation calls for it. If you have the facts and figures to back up your argument, there is nothing that should keep you from putting forth your ideas.
Companies around the world are realising the importance of female participation in leadership roles and how it is helping improve the business. Women need to rise and help each other rise as well . But the efforts need to be made by both the genders in ensuring that the workplace is free of any sexist notions that keep any employee from growing.
Melinda is a mid-western transplant who has spent 20+ years working in Silicon Valley with a variety of enterprise software companies. She has held positions as a Business Analyst, Services Consultant, Services Project Manager, Product Manager, and Product Marketing Manager. She is currently working at GuideSpark, an employee experience plat-form company, as Director of Product Marketing.
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