As I've grown in my career, and in my business, I've been surprised by how many times people have misunderstood my pleasant attitude for a lack of intelligence. I'm a nice person by nature. This doesn't, however, mean that I am a welcome mat. Here are things that I've learned from being a woman in the business world.
Know Your Value
One thing about being a nice gal, is that people think that you will do any favor they ask. When I first started in business I had to say "yes" to a lot of work for little to no compensation just to get my name out there. Now that I have a fully operational business with employees and overhead, there are still those who think that because I'm nice, I can do work for them for free. Part of becoming better in business is that you have to know what your worth. This true whether you own a business, are an employee, or work as a freelancer. I'm all for a "friend discount" now and then, but remember a real friend will want to pay you what your worth.
Don't Be Afraid to Show your Teeth
Women in the workplace have to walk a fine line between being the nice girl who makes the coffee or the tenacious go-getter that no one likes. Sometimes we have to sacrifice popularity to get a job done. That's not to say that we should walk into work with guns blazing or looking for a fight. But we should all feel confident in speaking our minds or standing up for what we believe in. Even if it means we get a few less smiles from co-workers in the morning, it will set you apart in the long wrong and help you boss or client see that you really care about your company and the work you do.
Turn in the Girl Card
We've all graduated high school, most of us have at least some college under our belts, when will we realize that the things we did in elementary school to get ahead wont work in a male-driven, business world? Believe me when I say your boss doesn't have a behavior board in his or her office and they aren't giving out gold stars for sharing your lunch. Crying may get you a day off, but it wont get you a promotion. To gain respect in the office place you have to be willing to create a few waves but have enough control to not knock the whole boat over.
Don't Lose Your Touch
Women are great listeners, we have a wonderful capacity for empathy, which actually makes us perfect for positions as mentors and leaders. Just because we have to put on our big girl pants at work doesn't mean that we cant still operate under our own terms. Its all about balance and that starts with respecting yourself and who you are as a woman and as an employee. No one will give you chance if you don't give yourself one. So be bold ladies, just because we have boobs doesn't mean that we don't have the balls to take on the big guys.