6 Tips to Build Authority at Work
Gone are the days when women were considered weak and naïve. Today, women have ventured into almost every field of work and have shown excellence in whatever they have done. But, wait! We already knew that, didn’t we? Then why the consolation when we know we are good…maybe even better at times? This is because even though we are well aware of our strength and proficiency, there are times when women are still not taken seriously at the workplace. Young female professionals not being given their due share of respect and authority in the office is an important issue that must be addressed immediately. Let us take a look at how you can become a figure of authority and easily influence fellow workers.
Though knowledge and work ethics should be the determining factors for employees to command respect and power, communication and appearance play a major role when you have to push for influence and deference in a male-dominated work environment.
1. Aim to be Statuesque Instead of Glamorous
It would be futile to try to conceal the fact that women want to look their best at all times, even in the office. Physical appearance of a person plays a vital role as it boosts the individual’s confidence. Men have it easy as they just need a clean shave and haircut, while women must tread the path very carefully as they are more prone to being seen as sexual objects. This is why you must put in extra thought and a conscious effort to present yourself in a sharp and statuesque manner, instead of a sexy manner. You should aspire for poise and dignity, rather than trying to be desirable and seductive. If you can understand the fine line between an elegant contribution and a sexy distraction, then people will take you and your work seriously.
2. Roll Up Your Sleeves For All Sorts of Work
Being a girl, it is understood that you may want to do the sophisticated work rather than getting your pretty little hands dirty with the small tasks. Not only is it important to dress to impress, you must have the ability to rough it out too. Do not wear jewelry that is too dangly, heels that are too high or sleeves that are too feathery to do real work. These may come in the way of your job and can prevent you from sweating it out. Also, your hair must not be too loose to handle crisis, such as addressing a panicked client or a frustrated board member. Small things like these make big impressions.
3. Get Friendly with Both Men and Women
Several young women feel that the best way to get respect and be treated equally is to chum up with the male colleagues. In a bid to do so, they end up separating themselves from the female colleagues. If you seek respect then you must value and respect all members of your team, irrespective of their gender. How else would you expect to build authority in a hypothetically male-dominated workforce when you yourself cannot respect your fellow women? It is necessary to build good relationships with everyone in the office while keeping the team’s best interest in mind. This is what shall make you a true leader.
4. But Avoid the BFF Tendency
It is nice to warm up to your colleagues but you must keep the chumming restricted to a decent level as this BFF (Best Friends Forever) tendency can be a major drawback at the workplace. Women, as we all know, tend to remain close to one another and share things because they value relationships. Being bum-chums with men can bring you into the limelight for the wrong reasons, while being joined at the hip with another woman will make you seem less independent and less capable of taking control. Your boss and colleagues must only have you in mind, and not your Siamese twin, when they need you.
5. Stop Being the Man-Eater
Young women can be highly competitive and may feel they are winning when they contribute to the failure of their male counterparts. Do not charge in like you have a point to prove. Stop trying to aggressively mow over your male co-workers as even though this this may give you temporary satisfaction, it still won’t help you earn respect. It would only tarnish your reputation as you begin to beat out all of your feminine qualities. Just remember to worship your work and play to your own strengths.
6. Adopt Strong Rhetoric
This tip is perfectly relevant for young female professionals who try to use rhetoric that ends up lacking certainty and highlights doubt. Whether you realize it or not, subtleties always have an impact on your influence at work. A strong team player shall become a strong influence only by communicating her thoughts with more strength and certainty. Rhetoric must be used carefully as different types of rhetoric, such as your body language, tone of voice, etc. will stimulate different responses from the audience.
The words in the left column will push and convince your co-workers and superiors to act on your opinions as they convey certainty and ownership of the ideas being communicated.
Your ultimate aim is to prove that you are a ‘capable’ woman. So give it your best shot by equipping yourself with the right skills and knowledge and be the change you wish to see in other women.
Follow the above tips to be the woman of substance that your colleagues will look up to and remember that nobody has the right to judge you or undermine your worth just because you are a young woman.
About the author: Devika Arora is a professional writer who has been writing articles and blogs with a special focus on career building and job search. She is currently working with Naukrigulf.com, a job search portal addressing employment needs in the Middle East. Connect with Devika on Twitter or Google +.