What’s your working style?
Are you a passionately enthusiastic, fiery woman with a mission? Or maybe you are a down-to-earth, hands-on pragmatist who needs to see a product in front of you. Perhaps you are an intuitive and sensitive creative who can go with the flow and patiently see the results emerge. Or maybe you are a highly intellectual ideas person who grasps the concepts quickly and communicates them articulately. Perhaps you move gracefully through all of these generalised styles.
Whatever your style, how do you get to be your authentic self at work, make a positive impact and succeed?
To be yourself at work requires a high level of self-awareness. Knowing how to consciously develop self-awareness is a huge asset that many women carry in bucket loads. It’s where many of our male counterparts are now working hard to catch up as new leadership paradigms demand greater emotional and spiritual intelligence.
Ways to gain greater self-awareness are worth cultivating if you are to succeed and move into the levels of responsibility you want as you grow and make greater contributions in life.
Your private mission
Why you want to work is an important question to keep asking yourself. We all have our lifestyle imperatives, but underneath there is always a deeper reason – your own life purpose.
Success depends on your ability to know why you are at work and what you want from it. What do you want to contribute to the overall good of humanity? When you are clear about your own private mission, you can begin to draw to you the opportunities and support that you need.
And you can work towards that success in ways that allow you to be your ‘real’ self while working to achieve the company mission.
Who am I?
Women get caught between ‘arch-witch’ if they stand in their authority, or simpering ‘precious princess’ if they don’t stand up for themselves. There is another choice to make that is far more empowering. Allow yourself to step outside the game of passive/aggressive behaviours and go for greatness – achievement, self-actualisation, success in others and true affiliative teamwork.
Stand up for what you believe to be right. Embrace your talents, know what they are, understand what motivates you to be your best and absolutely believe you can have it all.
Rising to the top must no longer mean survival of the fittest. Unfortunately, many women drop out of the corporate system because they know they are betraying their values if they stay. Even more so because it is perpetuating a system that many men openly admit no longer works for them either.
Display courage and clarity
The more you know about your own behaviours, values, identity and beliefs, the more you will trust yourself. Learn to communicate in ways people can hear and understand. Most importantly, bring your feminine gifts of global perception, intuition, nurturing, multi-tasking and open-heartedness to the workplace.
Use your smarts
Be strategic. Seeing a situation for what it is and managing it strategically towards a better outcome for everyone does not mean giving up your womanhood. Sometimes it is appropriate to give an order. It is definitely OK to expect your team to follow up with your request. There is a difference between respecting your position and being treated like a second-class citizen (the inference being because you are a female).
When you no longer doubt the validity of your femininity at work, others will treat you differently. Remember the universal principle that people mirror our beliefs about ourselves. So, being treated with the acknowledgement you deserve starts with being certain you deserve it. It is a definite shift in mind-set for some and it could mean dealing with some inner, and outer, demons.
Work is a powerful venue for realising potential. We see how innately wise, capable, and all-knowing we are when we get past our inner limitations.
Find the balance
Work-life balance also means choosing what’s appropriate in any given situation. You won’t feel like you are giving something up of yourself when you can’t be all of your wonderful aspects at work. Anchor yourself in your deeper sense of self and you will always be present for yourself. Then you can respond in all your femininity to the situation and get the results you want. You will be far more effective and happy, and you will have a positive, transforming effect on your work culture.
By Indira Kennedy, director of Conscious Leadership