5 Tips for Women to Build Executive Presence and be Taken More Seriously in the Office
The issue of women in the workplace has been hashed and re-hashed for decades.
The simple fact is that although things are changing for working women – gradually – we still find ourselves playing a game that men created… in an arena built for men.
In many cases, women continue to struggle to overcome the gender barrier. The good news is that while it may be more difficult for women to climb to the top of their organization and while we will certainly face challenges that men never have to think about, women around the country are doing it anyway!
Here are my top five tips for women to build Executive Presence and be taken more seriously at work.
Tip #1: Step Into Your Leadership Qualities
If you truly want to be taken more seriously and considered for the project leader positions and promotions, you must first believe in yourself. No one will give you extra responsibility if you don’t truly own it!
The truth is that if you find yourself wishing after those positions, chances are you have what it takes. Perhaps your leadership qualities need a little refining and honing, but they’re there.
Don’t cut yourself short. Acknowledge yourself as a leader.
Tip #2: Help Others Get What They Want
I love Zig Ziglar’s famous quote that reads, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
These are words to live by. After all, we are our contributions to the world – and if you make a point to help others move forward in the direction of their dreams, not only will you make friends, but you’ll make the world a better place.
When you find yourself running teams, go out of your way to give them acknowledgement, creative space and the compensation they deserve. When you do, they will go out of their way to help you shine in your position, too. It’s a win-win!
Tip #3: Notice Your Habits For Better And For Worse
I often see women undercut themselves professionally just based on their habits. A bad habit like slouching and avoiding eye contact sends the message that you’re not confident, while standing tall, smiling and directly addressing people demonstrates that you’re executive material.
Notice your habits. Chances are, you’re sending messages out into the world without even realizing it! Do you speak up in meetings? Do you insist on being acknowledged for your work? Are you good at communication, and are you brave enough to reach out for help?
Ask yourself these questions, and really answer them for yourself. Understanding where you are today can only help you move forward on your path toward the executive suite.
Tip #4: Recognize That It’s A Man’s World… But Don’t Let That Stop You!
Yes, it’s true that it’s more difficult for women to get to the top. We still live in a man’s world. The danger is that we’ll become complacent in this fact and not continue to challenge it.
When we know that we’re living in a man’s world, and we clearly see how it’s affecting our status at work, we can acknowledge it and change it. If we don’t even see it – or we get so used to it that we start to ignore it – things will never get better. Each of us has the power to shape the world our children will step into, and the more we recognize that, the better off all of us will be.
Tip #5: Know Yourself
To quote a character from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “This above all: to thine own self be true.”
To me, this quote says that no matter what you encounter on your journey, no matter what challenges you face or obstacles threaten to derail you, stay true to yourself. Know yourself, and don’t apologize for who you are.
As you examine your own habits and intentions in the workplace, remember that the most powerful thing you bring to your job is YOU. You have the power to encourage others, you have the power to do amazing work, and you have the power to improve yourself even after you’ve scored the C-suite.
I believe in you! If you’d like a little extra help honing your Executive Presence, click HERE to connect with me.