Happy Women's History Month 2016! During this time, we celebrate and bring awareness to women's achievements throughout history, and this brilliant comic by Rebecca Cohen sums up why they need remembering. We all know that women have come a long way and that there are still differences in terms of employment, salaries, pay raises, and company culture.
We often hear about women having to act in aggressive and demanding manners and being called a "bitch" or trying to fit in and be one of the "guys" in order to get noticed at work for that sought-after promotion.
And we all know that we shouldn't have to do this, so what are our better options? Check out the following tips, which are applicable no matter what your gender is.
6 Tips to the Next Promotion
Ask Questions During the Interview
Step one is about preventing yourself from stepping into an uncomfortable company culture in the first place, beginning at the job interview. Remember that a job interview does not only involve the potential employer interviewing you to see if you are a good fit for their company and the job listed, but YOU are also interviewing THEM. And during the interview, you can ask a couple of key questions to get a better idea of their company culture. Here are some examples:
- I would like to get a better understanding of the working relationships amongst colleagues here and was wondering if you could tell me about the gender balance in the company?
- I am a person who likes to grow and learn, so I was wondering what promotion opportunities you have available? What is the process for being considered for this?
- Can you tell me an example of how someone (or a woman) in your company was able to get a promotion?
*Tip: Give some positive context when asking these questions, instead of asking out of the blue because, unfortunately, these questions can be a bit touchy and might be seen in a negative light. If you give them a positive context, and the interviewer is still defensive or negative, it tells you that this might not be the best workplace for you.
Bosses give promotions to employees who not only work hard, but who they also have a good relationship with. So next time you go to work, spend a little time each day on building relationships with your colleagues and bosses.
*Tip: Ask your boss and colleagues how they would like to be communicated with best. And it's never too late to do this. Some people like getting emails, others like phone calls, or face-to-face, or even on sticky notes.
Speak Up and Ask
Being aggressive and communicating effectively are different. The former has a negative connotation and often involves stepping on others in order to get ahead. The latter is just plainly that - true, honest, open communication.
Research has shown that women often hesitate when it comes to asking for the promotion that they want. But if you don't ask for it, how will your boss know that you would like to be considered?
*Tip: Ask your boss to consider you for the next promotion, and instead of talking about why you deserve it, present how your promotion may positively affect your boss and the company.
Check Your Posture
Stand up straight, with your shoulders back, chest out, with your arms uncrossed. We've heard this a million times, accompanied with several well-placed jabs, from our mothers, and it will definitely come in handy in the workplace. However, make sure you don't take it too far (lift your chin, but not so high so that people can see your nose hairs).
*Tip: Check out Amy Cuddy's Ted Talk on power posing below, a nice trick you can utilize for a few minutes in the bathroom before going in to speak to your boss about the promotion.
Mind Your Manners
This definitely goes for everyone. If you don't have basic manners that show respect, you can forget that promotion. This is again where aggressiveness and communication differ. Having manners and saying your please's and thank-you's does not mean you are "weak" or "soft," as long as it is accompanied with confident and open posture.
But Don't Lose Yourself
You should never have to feel like you are a completely different person at work from the person you are at home. Whether you feel like you have to "be like the guys" or "soften up a bit," if the minute you step into work, you have to turn on this switch to become the "work" you, it might be time to step back and assess the reasons.
- Why are you doing this?
- Are you still happy doing this?
- Do you like who you are at work?
- Do you like who you are at home?
- What are your core values?
- Are they being compromised at work?
*Tip: Do what makes you happy with who you are, in a respectful manner to those around you, and you can keep the dreaded Burnout at bay.