Work ethics and the ability to do the job should be the only factors that come into play when judging an employee. But we are all human, and both appearances and communications skills play a big part in how we view people.Unfortunately, I’ve seen young women struggling to gain respect, both in male-dominated and equally gendered work environments. Unfortunately, this trend in the corporate sector is becoming all too prevalent.
Having been in this situation before, I want to share with you a few tips that worked for me. These suggestions may help you when dealing with male clients and co-workers, as well as other women, who may be trying to undermine your value just because you are young yet.
1. Be statuesque, rather than exploit your sex appeal
Statuesque is partially defined as grace, or dignity; having a stately disposition.
Aim for grace, dignity, and stately poise, rather than giving the impression of a seductress or sex goddess. There is a thin line between what your co-workers, both male and female, consider as being a sexy distraction, and an attractive elegance.
2. Present a low-maintenance professional profile
It is important to dress for success and stick with the trends of corporate apparel in modern-day Australia, but professional dress code typically isn’t 5-inch heels and your hair a tangled, seductive mess, and barely contained cleavage. Dress to impress, yes, but in the right way.
3. Get close to the men AND the women
It is easy for a young woman who is still growing into her sexuality to make the mistake of playing up to the men in the workplace, thinking this is her best bet in garnering respect and being noticed as an integral part of the organization. But separating ones-self from the women is a big mistake. Women can be catty. Be someone who deserves respect because of what you contribute, and prove your leadership qualities by giving respect and value, to everyone on the team. A motivated female isn’t going to gain respect in a supposedly male-dominated work force by separating herself from her fellow females.
4. …but don’t buddy up too much
You don’t want to spend so much time with one person in the workplace that you become thought of as a joint entity, attached at the hip with another. When your manager thinks about you, you want him or her to think of you, not of you and your best mate.
5. Don’t try to be a man
You are a woman, and there is nothing wrong with that. Women needn’t be submissive, but they also don’t have to play as aggressively as males may play. It may be a man’s world, but our feminine characteristics and qualities are just as necessary. Our skills of picking up on emotions, our tendency to make decisions cautiously, our listening skills – these are all strong skills in most women, and they should be embraced. We aren’t men, and don’t need to behave as such. We just need to cultivate the strengths we have, which may be a combination of so-called feminine and masculine traits, and we will grow into our own beautiful, feminine skin.
This guest article was written by Hayley Granton.