There are so many examples of women who have risen to the top of their field, who are leading their organisations, or who have started successful businesses of their own. Working with women like this, I’ve come to realise that in their minds, there is no room for excuses.
However, here are three excuses I often hear from other women and it’s time to stop using them:
- I can’t commit as much time to my work because of my family. I often hear women complaining that they’re at a disadvantage in the workplace because they have children and can’t commit as much time to work as their male colleagues can. While it is true that having a family means juggling many different balls, I’d argue that most successful businesspeople – men and women – wish they had more time available.Instead of dwelling on the difficulties of juggling your children’s school routine with working hours and how this gets in the way of your success, do something about it. Focus on developing systems and routines that work for you. For example, I make sure that my family eats dinner together and that I spend time with my children before they go to bed. But once they’re tucked in, I have learned to set aside time to tackle my emails each evening. Also consider delegating certain tasks to free up your time, whether that means enlisting your PA to help you with responding to emails, doing weekly online grocery shopping and having the goods delivered to your house, or hiring an au pair to take your children to their extra mural activities in the afternoons.Outsource whatever is not core so that you can devote your time and energy to things that are, from spending quality time with your family, to focusing on your key projects at work.
- I’m expected to act like a man to get ahead. Because society still sometimes tends to think of leadership as more of a masculine trait, many women feel they need to behave like men to succeed in the workplace. They try to stifle their warmth, be more aggressive and hide any sign of femininity.Instead, women should learn to embrace the unique traits that we bring to the workplace, and explore how our femininity can be an asset to our organisations. Spending time with people like Monica Singer, CEO of Strate, has convinced me that this is the way women will succeed. Monica is genuine and authentic and does not put on an act in the workplace. People are drawn to these qualities, as well as her warmth, and she is successful because she does not feel the need to put on male characteristics at work.
- I need to play politics at work to succeed. This is not true. There’s a major difference between influencing people positively and building partnerships that help you to grow, and politicking in the office.Workplace politics is all about using and abusing people to your own advantage. Instead, focus on being visible to people who can influence your career development, and forming long-lasting, mutually-beneficial relationships. Rather than looking for what you can get out of everyone, think about how you can add value for them.
Changing your attitude in this way will boost your personal brand and your career prospects. Steer clear of office gossip and keep your nose out of the politics, and you’ll improve your chances of getting ahead.
This article originally appeared on Destiny Connect www.destinyconnect.com