So, what’s a girl to do? Let me give you seven tips for how you can take charge of your career before someone else does:
1. Learn To Negotiate
It’s been shown that women are actually good negotiators – when they’re negotiating for someone else, that is. Otherwise, we avoid negotiating to get what we really want for fear that we’ll be seen as greedy or selfish. As a result, we leave tens of thousands of dollars in pay and perks on the table over the course of our lifetimes. Take a negotiation skills class to gain confidence in this critical arena.
2. Build Your Brand
There is a “word on the street” about all of us. Decide what you want it to be and take action to make it a reality. Write down 3 – 5 characteristics you want others to use when describing you then identity the key behaviors in which you must engage for people so actually see those characteristics. Remember, people don’t know us by our intentions, they know us by our behaviors.
3. Communicate With Impact
Women tend to use more words than necessary, many of them qualifiers, thereby softening their messages. Use the headline model of communication that requires you to say the most important thing you want to convey first in a single sentence, then follow-up with just 2 – 3 key points to support. Then stop. Short sounds confident.
4. Stop Making Miracles
Miracle workers are canonized not recognized. Men don’t make miracles. They delegate unrealistic tasks to… women. In every workplace, there’s a baseline for hard work. You have to work up to the baseline, but every time you go over it you set yourself up to be given even more work. Instead, manage expectations by letting people know what you realistically and effectively can and cannot accomplish and negotiating for what you need to do the job efficiently.
5. Play Your Game At The Edge Of The Field
Every workplace is a playing field with rules, strategies and boundaries. Games are won at the edge, not by playing it safe in the middle of the field. To get the things you most want, you have to take risks. Look at the people who are winning the game in your workplace. What are they doing? Chances are, they’re using up the entire the field without ever going out of bounds because they’ve learned where the edges are. You need to do the same.
6. Capitalize On Relationships
Women are great at building relationships, not so great at using them to their advantage. Remember that inherent to every relationship there’s a quid pro quo. One thing in exchange for something else. If you’re only giving to and not getting from a relationship, then you’re allowing yourself to be used. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need in exchange for what you give.
7. Ask For Support From An Advocate
Recent research shows that women are promoted less frequently than men because they have mentors, but not advocates. Advocates are people who will speak up on your behalf during meetings where discussions take place about potential candidates forpromotion or developmental assignments. When you hear about an opportunity for which you’d like to be considered, ask to have your name added to the mix.