For a long while women felt they had to play down their femininity if they hoped to enter a level playing feel with men colleagues.
That's changed. Vickie Milazzo, author of Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman contends it's time for women to rescue the traditionally male-dominated business world from itself.
Milazzo argues that every corporation can benefit from a touch of estrogen and the feminine qualities associated with it. The almost constant changes to the way we communicate, interact, innovate, and do business are setting up an opportunity-filled future for women..."
"Women should absolutely take advantage of the changing tide," notes Milazzo. "No wickedly successful woman ever got anywhere waiting for her big chance to be given to her or for women to suddenly become as valued as men in the workplace. And that's not going to change anytime soon."
Here are some of her suggestions:
Don't act like a man. "Be yourself," Milazzo instructs. "No one (men and women included) wants to work with a bad imitation of a man. And no successful woman ever got anywhere waiting for women's equality in the workplace to 'happen.' Instead, use your innate qualities to shape and fuel your success."
Collaborate. "I find that women excel at connecting and collaborating to solve problems," says Milazzo. "The success that comes from this process provides sanity, support and genius solutions. It's only when we come together and engage in conversation that we raise new questions and think of possibilities at a collective level we would not have considered on our own. Inside every woman is a natural collaborator. That's a wicked advantage we have as women, an intellectual edge we can leverage for using our genius at the highest possible level. When you collaborate, everyone involved benefits."
Be a smart net worker. More than 60% of people find jobs through networking, and you can bet that most successful referrals didn't come from the bottom of their organizations' pecking orders. Successful people spend time with other successful people, not with novices and low performers-and they limit their exposure to individuals who are at a similar level. So start forming strategic alliances, she says.
Don't under price yourself. Let's say you're in the running for a promotion and raise within your company, for example, or that you're in the process of negotiating your salary after receiving a job offer. I'd better not ask for too much, you reason. This isn't what I was hoping for, but if I get too pushy I might be passed over for one of the other candidates. I should just be grateful to have made the cut. Settle for less than you're worth and you'll lose credibility...and maybe even the opportunity.
Put together a power team. It is highly unlikely that you'll be able to work your way into your organization's C-Suite without some guidance and advice from those who've been there and done that. And when it comes to seeking this kind of advice, the more the merrier.
Bust out of stereotype of what power women look like. Stereotypes of women leaders are numerous and contradictory. Women leaders are overbearing. Women leaders hate men. Women leaders aren't tough enough. Women leaders are too tough. Women leaders aren't confident. The list could go on and on. If you want to get ahead, bust out of these stereotypes.
Don't make stereotypes about men. Just as you want to avoid stereotypes about women, you should check yourself before making stereotypes about men. Sure, some of the men you encounter on your path to the top may underestimate you or try to block your path. But many others will recognize what you bring to the table. It's up to you to do the same.###