So, you’ve always known where you were going in life, your focus and motivation were never in doubt, you’ve achieved the business and career you set your sights on, or you’re vigorously pursuing your dream. Everything is hunky dory in your world.
Or is it?
Do you ever feel that on some level you have sacrificed, or are being asked to sacrifice a part of who you are as a woman, in order to get where you want to go? Would you like to press the pause button for a second and reassess who you are?
To help you, I’ve listed my Top 10 tips for being a business woman and working successfully with men, whether you employ men in your own business or have men as clients (and these tips are just as relevant in your personal life too!)
1. Be aware of how we listen
- Women have evolved to hear high pitched noises, so we are able to pick up nuances in conversation that men are oblivious to.
- Women tend to use facial expressions when listening, to show interest and engagement.
- Men tend to remain static when listening, showing no emotion.
- If you are in conversation with men, be aware they perceive our facial expressions as agreement, not engagement, and your assumption that his facial and vocal inaction mean he’s not listening isn’t the case!
2. Be aware of how we see
- Many men operate with tunnel vision.
- Whereas women generally see what’s in front of them, either side of them and behind them – yes we really have got eyes in the back of heads!
- In the work environment this makes us brilliant at analysing a group situation, we are aware of everything going on around us.
- This skill allows us to ‘catch on’ to situations far more quickly.
3. Recognise how to delegate
- Know that men will need instructions delivered to them differently to women.
- Men generally will respond to clear instructions, with deadlines.
- Remember to praise when a job has been well done!
- Forget dropping hints to men – it isn’t going to work, they may get confused, do the wrong thing and then blame you.
4. Never underestimate your EQ (Emotional Intelligence)
- Anyone can learn skills, but EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) is a well-developed part of a women’s DNA.
- Own this part of yourself, honour it and use it – in business and in life. Our ability to empathise, enthuse, motivate and empower should never be seen as less crucial than other, intellectual, skills.
5. How we behave in groups
- Men and women react differently in groups. Men will often scan the room for enemies and find the nearest exit (escape route).
- Women will scan the room for friendly faces, who they can build rapport (relationships) with.
- This makes us much better at networking activities, group situations and team building. Know it, honour it and use it.
6. Use your non-verbal communication skills
- Women make brilliant detectives; combined with our listening and seeing skills, our ability to pick up clues from people’s non verbal communication is excellent.
- This allows us to be excellent team members and managers as we are aware of group dynamics and, combined with our EQ skills, ensures we are more effective at dealing with conflict.
7. Ask for help when you need it!
- We don’t have a problem asking for directions if we get lost, so don’t hesitate to ask for help with your work if you need it.
- The strong manager/leader of people is the person who is able to recognise they are not brilliant at everything.
- Asking for help shows humility, authenticity and instils a trustworthiness from others that being a ‘bull in a china shop’ is never going to achieve.
8. Use your creativity to inspire others
- Women have the ability to be truly creative with problem solving and creating vision.
- Respect this skill in the workplace and empower others to think ‘outside the box’, honour their creativity and empower them to shine.
- Encourage men to be creative - you will be tapping into the very core of who they are, but believe they are not ‘allowed’ to be in a business environment.
9. Keep the balance in your life
- Do you want your epitaph to read – ‘should have been in the office more’. Make sure you maintain balance in every area of your life. The balanced person creates a balanced environment for others.
- Be aware of your personal boundaries and don’t let others abuse them. The woman who honours every area of her life is allowing those around her to do the same, making her the person to emulate in life.
10. Be the shining light for other women
- We owe it to the women who have been before us, to respect their hard work to create what we take for granted today.
- We have a responsibility to create the environment that allows women coming up behind us to grab hold of our mantle, and continue to flourish and blossom in every area of life.
- Embrace your feminine energy – it is far more powerful than taking on the traits of a man!
I’d love to hear about your own experiences… let me know in the comments below.