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Women are often under-represented in leadership positions. Unfortunately, there are actions women often take or don’t take that make them less likely to obtain greater authority in the workplace. Below, expert Vicki Brackett explains five mistakes women make that keep them out of leadership roles.
Not listening to their gut or women’s intuition.
If something feels funny, then pay attention to that sixth sense. Women have a tendency to downplay their feelings as being “emotional”. Women need to listen to the voice, then ask questions to make adjustments in their decision-making process. And if they change their mind – that’s okay too. Again, that’s part of the process.
Not taking credit when they do something well.
Men have no trouble taking credit, but women feel that taking credit is self-serving and so they tend to pass the credit to everyone else. When people give women credit at work, they must acknowledge those people and thank them. A reference can be made to give a team credit as well, but women must take their credit first. An example of what to say is, “Thank you. I enjoyed taking a lead role in the project, everyone worked well together, and the ideas were flowing.”
Not asking for help.
It’s important for women to understand they don’t have to go it alone. One of the biggest mistakes that women make is not understanding that people want to lend a hand when they believe in you, the company, department or what they do at work. By giving others the opportunity to help, women position themselves as a leader and at the same time get the help they need. It’s not about feeling needy, weak or unequipped to do something. Allowing others to help puts women in the power position and this can be a spring board to a position with more responsibility.
Not sitting in a power position at the conference table.
Men have no problem sitting across from the boss, at the head of the table or next to a power player in the room. Strategically, women must plan where they want to sit in the meeting and then make it happen. Remember that people will be watching gestures, body positions and reactions. Plan ahead and take that power place at the table!
Not speaking up.
Women traditionally care what others think because their egos do not work in the same way as men’s egos at work. Even when women do speak up, they tend to beat themselves up if everything they said wasn’t perfect. It doesn’t have to be perfect. If unsure, preface an idea with, “One of the ideas I have been mulling over is” or “after gathering information and looking at the numbers, a way we can do X is”. Everyone knows that great ideas take time to cultivate and perfect. Understand the mental process and participate!
Vicki Brackett has spent her entire career leading small, medium and Fortune 500 organizations through start up, turnaround and rapid growth scenarios. Brackett speaks, trains, consults and mentors leadership inside companies to help them with strategic planning, employee engagement, process re-engineering and moving key performance indicators in the right direction, all while increasing employee satisfaction and retention. For more information visit www.theleadershiptoolbox.com or www.vickibrackett.com.