Dress Up, Show Up, Speak Up, Follow Up
Despite ongoing efforts to level the playing field in business, the fact still remains that thirty years after women became 50% of the college graduates in the U.S., men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. Proficiency in skills gets us hired.
Continual growth and a refined presentation are vital in leadership. Among the most frequent requests from executives to “polish” their staff: “Help our employee to dress and/or speak more professionally. Her skirts are too short, blouses too low cut, and her shoes look like she’s headed for a night club.”
Broaching the topic of personal appearance is, well…personal. Men especially are uncomfortable discussing these matters with female subordinates. In order for women to be heard, promoted and respected, applying principles of Impression Management are critical. An objective coach and professional wardrobe stylist can serve as excellent support in bringing your A-game to the table in the following areas:
The more skin, the less power. When a woman dresses provocatively for work, she can shoot herself in the foot and put us all back another ten years.
Be easy to be around. Learn how to navigate your way through a business lunch and never smack, slurp or speak with your mouth full-even in the office kitchen.
Author Shaunti Feldhahn notes in “The Male Factor: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace” that in order to work more efficiently, men prefer to keep emotions out of the workplace. “If they can’t think clearly when they’re processing emotion, they look at you, as a woman, getting emotional and assume you’re not thinking clearly either…damaging to us as women, because it’s completely inaccurate.”
Brevity is the soul of communication with men.
Get to the point. When a female colleague goes into lengthy explanation to men, it’s painfully uncomfortable for them to listen. They don’t know where she’s going with it. Psychotherapist Dr. Kelley Watts recommends giving foresight to communication, making it as succinct as possible. Instead of belaboring a point, pause and let them speak or process your message.
Madeleine Albright said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” May we all encourage one another in becoming the best version of ourselves.
Please check back in the February edition of this newsletter for Ms. Perry’s next installment focusing on tips for men in the workplace.
Helen Perry is a result-oriented consultant to companies and individuals desiring to heighten professional presence and productivity. She is a
2013 and 2014 BBB Pinnacle Award Recipient.
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