A few years ago, when I sat down to begin writing More Than a Minute, all sorts of images came to my mind. One of them was of the first time I read The One Minute Manager (written in 1982 and one of the best selling management books of all time).
It seemed pretty clear the only woman in that story was a secretary and the successor was clearly a man. Well, thank goodness a few things have changed since then.
It is a bit mind boggling when you consider the depth and complexity of transformation to our everyday lives in the past 25 years.
As a female leader in organizations for the past 20 years, I have spent much of my time being the only 'girl' in the room. I remembered back to the days when I wore man suits. You know, the grey box cut with small silk bow tied around the neck? I carried a man-woman briefcase and hung out with the guys.
Eventually, as my career began to take shape, I grew to be more comfortable being a woman at work – actually wearing colors and more feminine attire. Now, I even use cooking metaphors sometimes when making a point – in addition to all those sports ones I have managed to compile over the years. A sort of equilibrium between being a woman and being a professional with the ability to assert myself with my male counterparts was eventually achieved.
Through the course of my professional journey, I've learned a few lessons about being a woman at work:
More importantly, don't be afraid to be heard. Just know that sometimes women have to do it louder and more often to truly make an impact.
Early in life we are taught to constantly compete against other girls but as women we simply need to push past those limiting beliefs and learn to share our knowledge with others. By teaching other women, we grow stronger as a force in the business world.
Choose a female role model in your field or profession (they are out there) and learn from them. Ask questions, find out about the challenges and successes they've experienced on their own path to success.
Get in the game because you'll never advance by sitting and cheering from the sidelines. And don't worry; you can join in without being "one of the guys."
Make sure that you take the time to get comfortable with yourself, your role, your expertise and your value. This way, you can identify any weaknesses or areas where you might need to improve.
We all face challenges but it's important that you never blame failures or setbacks on being a woman in a man's world. Instead, look for the things you can address and take it from there!
As the world of work continues to change, there will be more and more opportunities for women to shine. Focus your energies on becoming the best leader or manager you can be and you will certainly be able to keep up.
Check out Holly's book, More Than a Minute, How To Be An Effective Leader and Manager in Today's Changing World for more career advice for women.
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