Walk the Talk: How we present ourselves in the workplace
Women in leadership are still something of a rarity today. There have been a couple of articles recently in the Wall Street Journal looking at women in the workforce and analyzing our collective progress. While there are no concrete conclusions about why it’s happening, the data is unambiguous. Women are being overlooked at promotion time.
This got us thinking about our own successes and failures in various industries within the working world. We have come to the conclusion that there are five key ways to “Walk the Talk” when it comes to how we present ourselves out there. Here they are, for your pondering –
- Speak how you want others to speak – both TO you and ABOUT you. Think for a moment about how others would describe you. What would they say? Is that who you want to be? The way to change it is to give them something better. The old adage is true – you get what you give.
- Be authentic. No one likes to deal with someone who is two-faced, to be blunt. Be true to your values, and don’t be afraid to disagree with someone else, even if you work for them. If you find ways to do so respectfully and sincerely, you might be surprised at how well received your opinions will be.
- Go out of your way for others. It seems that in many workplace environments, we’ve come to expect the worst of each other. There is a clear “every (wo)man for her/himself” attitude out there. When you extend simple courtesies to someone else, you show that person that you are considerate. Nothing helps with rapport like a small act of unexpected kindness.
- Focus on your work ethic. If you don’t deliver, you don’t have credibility. It’s as simple as that.
- Take responsibility for your actions and words. Lose the victim mentality. If you mess up, opt for a simple “excuse me” or apologize rather than offering excuses or reasons as to why something happened. This covers everything from being late to a meeting to not making a deadline. You write your own story, and life is not happening to you – you are not a puppet.
The bottom line is this – women have historically had a tough time out there. Many of the barriers that have stood in our way in the past have come down, and many others are still there. Nothing will change overnight. However, recognizing that you are the main character in your own story and that you can control your actions and behavior just might give you the courage you need. Stand up and lead like a woman and excel in team building and leadership.