8 Workplace Resolutions for Women
As more and more women assume leadership positions in business, like the 2013 appointments of Janet Yellen at the Fed and Mary Barra at GM, female members of the workforce reflect on the things they expect from their professional life. And while 2013 had been a definite leap forward, women still have a long way to go in the corporate world. In fact, of the 122 top-ranked businesses on bestcompany.com, only a handful of them have female presidents or CEOs.
In addition to equal representation, women are also fighting for equal pay, mentorship opportunities, and the abandonment of gender quotas and stereotypes. Nonetheless, there can’t be true change without actual effort. Below you’ll find eight resolutions for the workplace that require women to forget the patterns of behavior that prevent them from thriving. And it doesn’t have to be New Year’s Eve to make them.
Ask and thou shalt receive.
In a recent survey by Citi/LinkedIn, one thousand female professionals were asked about their biggest work obstacles, and “not getting paid enough” was amongst the top three. Still, only 25 percent of the respondents asked to get a raise that year. So, if you want something to happen, ask! And this advice is evidence-based: The same study showed that 3 out of 4 women who asked for a raise, were granted one.
Be a “mean girl” if you must…
To be a woman on the helm is a classical paradox: if women want to be successful, they have to stand out, be different and, more importantly, not too empathetic. Yet people expect them to be lovable and “blend with everyone.” Many think it’s impossible to pull through, so you are better off not trying at all. You’ll have it better if you make intelligent decisions, stand by your beliefs, and get the job done –no remorse.
...but not when you shouldn’t be one.
Workplace bullies believe that they secure their own position by preventing others from evolving. However, research shows that people who provide mentoring achieve more at a professional level than their peers who don’t. Such was a study conducted by the University of Texas, Austin, in 2012, which showed that mentoring helped people to better understand their own limitations and strengths, to reinforce their comprehension regarding particular career-associated concepts, and achieve happiness on top of everything. It all comes down to this: try to become a better boss this year. Ultimately, you are no better than your weakest employee.
In a recent study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, it was shown that women shy away from work more often than men. Don’t do that. Acknowledging your own hard work helps you progress, aids other women achieve higher confidence levels, and can even enhance your mood: Harvard researchers showed that self-talking stimulates the same pleasure centers in the brain as being paid or eating great food.
Stop tracking favors.
Sometimes, women can make a habit of tracking incoming and outgoing favors, regardless of them being small or substantial. However, keeping a score has its roots in exploitation, and is grounds for hostility at work, sabotaging collaboration and feeding contempt and division instead. And we haven’t even mentioned what a huge waste of everyone’s time it is.
Stop saying you are sorry.
Women are also more likely to be afraid of success and ambition, although most times they don’t mean to. They think they don’t deserve the raise or the promotion; they fear that being successful will drive away their friends or romantic interests; they abstain from asking for what they want. However, if you just stop feeling sorry for pursuing your goals, or nailing them, your chances of success and personal fulfillment will be much greater.
You get to decide what “having it all” means.
Whether women can “have it all” or not has been a subject of intense debate. A good idea for this year would be to stop assuming that all women have the same aspirations. Women have different wants, meaning that “all” has no definite meaning. And it’s fine. Whether you want to go after a career and on what terms, is entirely up to you. So take ownership of it.
Go home for dinner.
No joke, just do it. And if you think your career comes first, then it’s the same: A recent study published in the Gender & Society journal showed that surpassing the 50-hour mark at work weekly not only failed to help female managers and professionals to do better but led to worse outcomes instead. Follow the example of Sheryl Sandberg, who is famous for leaving work at 5:30, to catch dinner with her children at 6:00. Perhaps Sandberg’s success was a result of that habit, rather than happening in spite of it.
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