Have you ever wanted to be more like a man in the workplace? Perhaps you feel like you’d be taken more seriously, or you’d be able to close more deals, or that you’d be more decisive hence better at managing people. Men and women bring different strengths to the workplace. Wanting to be more like a man does nothing towards you realising your own power. Actually, it diminishes it. When you realise the strengths and gifts that you bring as the woman that you are, you empower yourself and allow yourself to shine. I know this because I’ve worked in several male-dominated industries. After years of trying to bring a balance of masculine and feminine to my career, I realised that we were created to excel in areas that men sometimes struggle with such as connecting, communicating and showing a healthy dose of appreciation and care.
Women are multi-dimensional and complex, and it is within our very intricacies that we add value. Trying to emulate a man in the business world denies our unique strength which lies in our feminine qualities. Knowing and understanding how to leverage our innate gifts and skills not only advances our own career trajectory but also plays a significant positive role in creating a collaborative and effective work environment for everyone.
Top performing career women tend to share these six traits that have advanced their high-heeled ascent up the career ladder.
1. We’ve got team spirit! Relationship Building & Team work
Women are known for valuing relationships and seeking out connection, a competitive advantage for the fairer sex as this has a significant positive influence on team building. Women tend to display strong networking and communication skills that nurture a collaborative work environment. We’re more inclined to ask questions to gain a better understanding of the task at hand and the people around us. Our listening skills and empathy allow us to make people feel that their contributions are valuable, encourage the exchange of ideas, and dispense tailored advice to promote team work and group effort. Women embrace inclusivity over exclusivity, by inviting as many perspectives as possible, we cultivate strong relationships and foster loyalty.
2. Great Communicators & Passionate Persuaders
Born with the gift of the gab, women have strong listening skills and are adept communicators. Studies have shown that women respond more effectively to emotional, verbal and visual factors than men. Men often lack the meaning behind unspoken words, while women are excellent decoders of body language and verbal cues. Coupled with a strong sense of empathy and sensitivity, these personality traits make women great persuaders and automatically puts them in good stead when making informed decisions and setting congruent objectives. By inviting many perspectives and getting to know those around them, they understand the advantage of communicating according to other people’s values in order to reach the collective goal.
3. Natural Motivators
Natural-born nurturers, women are givers by nature. High-performing career women understand the value of encouraging other team members, motivating them to thrive as more efficient employees. Our emotional intelligence, empathy and sensitivity allow us to understand others’ emotions better so that we can appeal to their unique needs more congruently, motivating and enabling people to perform better. Successful women have a tendency to regularly check in on their team, making sure everyone is on board and are more instinctively inclined to give compliments and make people feel good about themselves. We understand that people thrive on acknowledgement. Inspiring and motivating those around you is guaranteed to add a few more inches to your step.
4. Problem-Solving Pizazz
Value is often found in the details. Bigger picture thinking is grand but without bothering with the details, the grand ideas are often worthless. One of the many strengths of a woman is that we get into the details. We dissect, we analyse, yes, we also sometimes over-analyse. The result often is coming up with ideas and solutions. This makes us problem-solving machines. And let’s be honest, we like the finer things in life, we appreciate small gestures and we have a well-trained eye for detail. This makes us incredibly valuable in the workplace.
5. Trust your gut! Sensitivity & Intuition
We are often blessed with an intuitive power that can detect underlying tensions or problems on the horizon, as well as the foresight to work towards positive change collaboratively. Patience and tact complement our communication skills which serve us well in times of challenge, making us effective crisis managers. Our empathetic nature means that we can decode others emotions and foster strong work relationships within the team. Building loyalty and rapport allows female leaders to sway the tide and keep their team on track towards the bigger picture.
6. Empowering Yourself – Embrace Femininity
The big common denominator that high-performing career women share is the understanding that empowering themselves is their responsibility. Coco Chanel famously said that women should always keep their heels, head and standards high. This takes commitment; commitment to yourself, your career and your team. Commitment is at the epicenter of everything great – and guess what? Women have a tendency to stand by their commitments. Taking responsibility and staying committed to empowering yourself will make you an indispensable asset to your work environment.
With traits like these, it’s easy to understand how women win over hearts and influence others to give their best to achieve something big. I am not saying that women do not have any downsides in the workplace. Our tendency to juggle and multitask can at times leave us distracted. The over-analysing and the over-caring can lead to analysis paralysis or indecision. Our inclination to apologise for ourselves and not be overly proud of our work can result in our work and ourselves not being valued adequately. And our emotions can definitely disrupt an office party or two! With that said, what I wanted to do here is highlight our strengths and give them a platform to really shine. Most of us are already very aware of our weaknesses as they tend to get highlighted time and time again. Let’s shine the spotlight on our strengths. We all have strengths and weaknesses and being a woman means that we have our own unique set of traits.
So stand tall in those killer heels, acknowledge your strengths and unique traits and use them to your advantage as you journey up the career ladder (while looking fabulous- I might add!)