Women: How to Grow & Develop Professionally

By Robyn Crigger, CEO

Our business world is still very competitive, and though many woman professionals have broken through the “glass ceiling”, the majority of them still are compared to their male counterparts.  There are certain areas of business and professionalism that are especially used to gauge the potential of a woman executive.  Therefore, take time to review these particular areas and ask yourself how you stand.

 

The first area is one where many women actually excel, though businesses believe this is a critical skill that a “professional” must conquer: “Communication”.

  • It is considered a true necessity for Professional Executives to be especially effective and succeed in delivering an exceptional, convincing, and motivating presentation. To be able to grab your audience (men and women) and relay a strong, clear message, which wins their trust in you, is equivalent to a “Home Run”.
  • In addition, your style of communication needs to have appropriate verbiage and body language, which helps your audience to identify with you. Such skills should assure your audience that you are clearly an expert in the area.
  • Even if you are able to accomplish these priorities of communication, it is wise to learn from the errors and mistakes of other presenters. We all make mistakes – the important thing is to learn from them.

 

Another area where women need to improve is to strengthen their ability to project “Confidence”.  If you struggle with a lack of assertiveness, this will surely be conveyed in your demeanor and presence.

  • You can’t expect others to believe in you, if you do not believe in yourself. If you demonstrate being timid, you will definitely fall victim to being “run over” by others.
  • There is no room for you to be “indecisive”, as that leaves others to take the reigns and action away from you.
  • With a strong self-confidence, others will be more apt to TRUST you and believe in you. Your associates and subordinates will subsequently see you as a Leader.
  • Instead of appearing weak and unsure, your “confident self” will send a clear message to those challenging persons that you are “ready for them”.

 

One of the toughest issues that Business Women face is “dealing with trouble makers” or “conflictive business persons”.  These people seem to have only one agenda, and that is to stir up trouble wherever they go.  They are not in the least productive but instead only creative destruction.  This makes you a target for them.  How do you deal with such a personality?

  • First, you need to be trained in “conflict resolution”. Otherwise, it is easy to get sucked into these destructive traps.
  • Next, you will need to learn how to express yourself without using terms that imply any sarcasm, negativity, or sound judgmental.
  • Responding to these argumentative groups requires skills in delivering credible explanations, factual data, and provides positive results in your favor.
  • Even when your negative counterparts happen to get the best of you, accept the outcome and recognize that you gave it your best efforts.

 

Of course, a natural and necessary area a Business Woman will require is to “Learn how to be a Leader”.  You may have heard that some people are just “natural leaders”.  There is no proof this is true, though some people do seem to display lots of self-confidence, which is often viewed as a “trait of leadership”.  Still, anyone dedicated to becoming a “good leader” is wise to find ways to grow this ability.

  • Initially, be clear with yourself as what are the traits of a “true and good leader”.
  • As you observe and research examples of strong leaders, make note of their challenges and how they combatted them.
  • In order for leaders to be successful in helping others and accomplishing as much as possible, they must learn how to “delegate tasks”, which, in turn, will multiply their accomplishments and make a bigger impact.
  • It is important to gather the many requests and needs of others and determine which ones need immediate attention and to place others in a later time line, using sound insight and identifying priorities for that time line.

 

There are obviously other areas that Women Business Leaders should strengthen and develop, but these seem to be the top areas, that can make a bigger impact and are of higher value to the majority.  The key is for these women to always be open to learn and grow.  With this in mind, an Executive or Strategic Business Coach could be a very useful and valuable investment in your future.  Think of those in business with whom you have a high regard.  It wouldn’t have to be an expensive, high profile business professional to guide or mentor you.  Instead, look for the qualities that you desire and who has the character and standards you want for yourself.  The bottom line is to make a conscious effort to work on your future growth and NOT put this off.

 

(Compass Career Management Solutions is a human resources-consulting firm, which focuses on Career and Business Development and Transitions by using multiple HR-related services.  704-849-2500; www.compasscareer.com.)

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