“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”
Despite our differences, men and women must work together effectively in the corporate world to get things done. This means staying receptive when hearing uncomfortable feelings from each other without attacking, judging, or rushing in to try to “fix” it. It means leaning in with more conversations, not less.
- Be honest and have an opinion. People will be drawn to you for being honest. It’s part of being a great leader.
- Don’t talk about your personal life much. Know that you’ll be held to higher standards than men. Don’t bring up your personal life at work outside a light conversation with a close few.
- Don’t gossip or bad-mouth people. Not even once. It’s a credibility killer. Respect confidentiality because it will be tested. The old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” is important in earning trust.
- Avoid cliques. Don’t sit at meetings with only your female colleagues or male pals. At conferences and other events, intermingle and talk to people at all levels, from administration to executive. Take a seat at the table!
- Don’t answer your cell phone or text when you’re in a conversation with someone else. It’s plan rude. Give that person your undivided attention. Some women do this more out of habit because we are often the first responders for our family. Wait until you’re done with the conversation or meeting, then excuse yourself.
- Own it. Taking responsibility when an issue arises will go much further in reaching a quick resolution than blaming someone else. Even if it’s not your fault, blaming an issue on your assistant doesn’t shed a positive light on you. The buck stops with you.
- Praise in public and criticize in private. If someone is disrespectful to you, handle it, but don’t embarrass people with negative feedback in public. Talk to them after the meeting and tell them you have zero tolerance for their behavior. Just do it in private. If it’s recurring, follow proper protocol.
- Don’t be late. When you are late for appointments you are saying to the other person that their time is less important than yours. If you’re late, apologize and move on. Don’t blame it on a wardrobe malfunction of launch into a detailed explanation about a sick child. Just jump in and get up to speed on what you missed.
- Don’t offer your ideas in the form of a question. If you want your audience to have confidence in you and what you’re saying, speak with assurance. Don’t raise your voice at the end of a sentence. Add value to conversations by knowing your facts. When you make a suggestion, have three reasons why it makes sense. Don’t say, “Well, believe me. I know this will work.” Expect to be challenged, and have your playbook answers ready.
- Don’t cry, especially in meetings. Think about any distraction–like the national anthem or whether a favorite sports team is going to make the playoffs. If that doesn’t work, excuse yourself to the restroom and return after you’ve collected yourself. Don’t apologize. Just rejoin the meeting. Men cry on the sports field, and yes, that’s okay by them. But they don’t cry at work and they don’t know how to handle it when you do.
- Be helpful to your female colleagues. We can be our own worst enemies, working to undermine and eliminate each other from the competition. But if we work to bring more women to the top of male-dominated businesses, the business world becomes more inclusive–and that’s good for everyone. Hire women as often as you can, if you, in turn, want to be hired. It’s good karma.
- Don’t take business personally. Taking it personally is one of our weaknesses. Men blow things off more easily. We need to learn from them and strive to take the emotion out of situations by responding with the facts. This is how men roll, and we can learn from that. If you falter with this, men will view it as a weakness. If you do falter, laugh about it, learn from it, and move on.
- Proactively reach out to male colleagues. Since golfing and cigar smoking with the boys isn’t always on our priority list, don’t make yourself a longer. Engage in friendly (non flirting) conversation in the work kitchen. Connect with fellow workers by proposing a question or asking their thoughts on a current business topic.
- Keep it short. When communicating with men, give them the headlines: fifteen words or less. If you need to give more detail, think of the first and last paragraph only and omit the paragraphs in between.
If you cultivate a calm and professional communication style, even in the midst of drama and chaos, people will remember you. The sooner we put these rules into play, the sooner we will experience abundant accomplishments.
- Showcase Your Company Culture
- Prioritize Gender Diversity, Particularly Among Management
- Ensure Your Company is Promoting Women Fairly
- Improve Your Maternity & Parental Leave policies
- Formalize Flexibility & Work-Life Balance Policies
- Encourage Mentorship & Sponsorship of Women
- Engage Men as Allies & Draw them Into the Conversation
- Attracting higher qualified employees
- Increased effectiveness of employee engagement
- More creativity among team members
- Creating a larger talent pool