We’ve seen it before. A pursed lipped business woman who barely says hello and sits behind the closed doors of her office. She doesn’t participate in networking engagements with colleagues and misspells your name on every email.
There is a huge misconception that women in business must fit this type of character to get ahead. The secret of it is, the woman I just described probably knocks down a few bevies at home with her feet up on a Friday night, hosts poker nights and wears sexy lingerie. The point I’m trying to make is, being a bitch isn’t the same as being professional.
I’ve read many great books about how to be a woman in a corporation, women in business, business etiquette, how to give the proper handshake etc. There are some fabulous tips within these books but the misconception is that you should change who you are and fit an entirely different persona while at work. The idea is, take some of these great tips and enhance your brand in the workplace. You should still be “you.”
Corporations are looking for people who are not only just qualified to do the job and have the pre-requisites but they are looking for people who suit their company’s vision. Most often having a personality, good ethics and manners are just as important as qualifications if not, more so.
The collaboration of useful business etiquette tips and your own personal best qualities will create your brand and will set you apart from the rest while receiving respect and admiration from colleagues.
Here are some quick tips on how to balance having these changes which will make a huge difference in your career TODAY:
- Always say “good morning”, “hello”, “have a nice evening”
- Try to remember people’s names and address them personally after the salutations mentioned above.
- Don’t commit to a project you don’t have time for, always negotiate a reasonable deadline so you can complete the task given and allow yourself time to do it right and not rushed.
- Do not delegate to people who do not report to you. You can always ask a colleague for a favor but remember to show appreciation for that favor (a lunch date, a surprise latte, ice cream bar at 3pm or even just a sweet thank you card).
- Complete each email with your professional signature with a polite “Sincerest”, “Best”, “Thanks”, or even something more personal like “have a great weekend”. Ending an email with a “Thank you,” when you haven’t asked anyone for anything comes across as aggressive.
- DO NOT respond hastily and immediately upon receiving an offensive email. Go ahead and draft one and press “save”. I guarantee you will rewrite your email the next morning after you’ve had time to think about the best way to handle the situation and the response.
- Being assertive is different than being defensive. Understand the two and why it is best to be assertive. Have your own back but always request clarity so everyone has an opportunity to express their view points and you can address each issue one at a time.
- Don’t bring up a problem that you don’t have a prepared solution for. This will perceive you as “complainer” rather than a “problem solver” two considerably different profiles.
- You are only as good as your word. If you say you’ll do something…do it.
- If you don’t understand something, ask for additional training or help, or be resourceful and find a way to get through the learning curve. This show’s initiative. By not doing the task or procrastinating gives the person you report to the opportunity to guess why it’s not done such as laziness, poor time management, unmotivated etc.
- Dress polished and professional with a little bit of personality. If you’re going to rock a suit, pair it with some leopard pumps or a bolder lip color.
- Volunteer for extra opportunities, yes you may not get paid for it right away (and don’t expect to) but consider it an advantage for position advancement, salary negotiation or experience to add to your resume. (this also includes charitable events through your organization)