I was disappointed when I discovered that there were only six women listed among Forbes 70 most powerful people worldwide. It also saddens me to think that women earn considerably less than their male counterparts, even though they might be just as capable if not more so.
The world of business still features sexism, the glass ceiling and male domination, however, a few of us have broken through and been victorious and here are a few tips to help you succeed.
- Don’t Try and Do Business Like a Man: This might be a tall task, but it has definitely worked for me. Rather than getting involved in the hustle and tussle of conventional business practices, try to do it your way by focusing on your strength and following your own instincts.
- Be Calm and Confident: Never be intimidated, remember you’ve worked hard to get up the corporate ladder and fully deserve to be there. Confidence is an attractive quality and one that will have colleagues respect you more. Try to remain calm even in the face of adversity, your colleagues will thank you for it.
- Build and Focus on Your Strengths: Concentrating on your expertise and knowhow and putting your talents to use will increase your confidence as well as your standing among your peers.
- Communicate and Care:Women are often better communicators and better equipped to assess and understand others. If you are a boss, care about and communicate with your employees and if you are an employee, express your opinions and communicate your ideas. Make sure to be a caring, communicative team member.
- Learn and Teach: Be humble in your approach and be open to learn. Don’t hesitate to make your expertise and knowledge available to others.
- Support and Ask for Support: Don’t try to be superwoman, ask for assistance if you stumble upon a problem you cannot solve by yourself. Asking for advice and support is not a sign of weakness. Equally, if you see someone struggle with a work task, step in and lend your support.
- Effective Networking: Networking with the right people can land you a promotion or a contract for your business. Men are renowned for effective networking and woman need to position themselves equally well. Get to know as many people as you can and talk about yourself or your business.
- Visibility: Don’t hide away in your office and don’t go through a meeting without adding to the conversation. There is no need to be overly pushy, instead, just allow yourself to make a contribution.
- Ignore the Naysayers: I have seen many women pull back just because they were afraid of rejection. Consider that these naysayers may just be irritated because you have come up with a great idea or made an interesting point.
- Assert Yourself: When you feel strongly about something, assert yourself, express your opinion or voice your concern, even in the face of rejection or ridicule.
There is no doubt in my mind that there should be a lot more women at the top of the corporate ladder and that women should be allowed to make whatever contribution they may wish. Some say, gender shouldn’t even come into it, which I find a bit simplistic. Feminism may have liberated women all over the world, but the sad fact remains that women are still far and few between when it comes to top jobs, are still judged by their appearance and earn considerably yet. There is a long way to go if we are trying to get to a stage where equal opportunities do indeed exist.