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Inner-strength training tip #21: Find your voice and let it be heard. Don’t hold yourself back or let others hold you back at work.
You’re at work, whether you are seasoned vet or brand new to the company you want to excel.
You don’t just want to slump by and do sub-par work. No, no, no, you want the recognition. You have a lot to give and you have the capabilities to achieve so much more than you already are.
But, whenever you complete a task relatively well or act independently you are met with odd behavior from your co-workers.
You may have just crossed the invisible boundary that exists in corporations.
What is that boundary?
It’s the pecking order and it’s based on different factors. Like, which employee has been with the company the longest, who has the most senior title, who is the most assertive, who is the most persistent.
For example, if you are the new girl you usually respect a co-worker that has been there longer than you. And if you are too motivated right out of the gate and push that boundary, that is when you will encounter resistance.
In Lois P. Frankel Book Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office She states that when you speak up and assert yourself more you will encounter others that want to keep you in that box of the passive woman.
When someone wants to put you in your box through words and actions, it can sting. Especially for the more sensitive yet motivated individual.
I know the shock of a reaction is enough to freeze me and take me back a moment!
The last thing I want to do is upset somebody.
Do you feel the same way?
The question is: should this be your motto anymore. “You don’t want to upset somebody.”
Is it holding you back?
Combined with the resistance of others when you make a chess move, this just might be a recipe for disaster.
Signs that you are held back:
- Trained by an employee that has been there less time than you
- Your team leader constantly stands over your shoulder telling you to do x, y, z. Even though you’ve proven to be a capable employee
- When you take the opportunity to act independently you are met with objections from your co-workers who tell you to back off
- Told by your team leader that you need to go back to the basics after you have just expressed an intelligent statement
- Passed over for high-level projects consistently
- Interrupted by another co-worker when you explain a process. Perhaps they don’t like the fact that you can think for yourself.
- You notice employees mimic your behaviors and adopt them as their own
- Co-workers belittle your work, “your little project”
- Put in your place during a meeting, off-topic criticized about your personality or more opinions hurled your way. Or, made to look uninformed (when you know that you aren’t) during a meeting.
Other people might see how well you are doing at work and not like it very much.
You may be an up-and-coming star. Or, seen as someone who can “rock the boat.”
All of this comes as a threat to their security, and to their paycheck.
A true team player and someone who is secure with themselves doesn’t have to be the smartest in the room.
They harness the unique talents of others and use them to create a fun and productive work atmosphere.
At work, it’s important for you to be respected and likable so that you can promote yourself. Another tactic is to voice your opinion and call out bad behavior.
Interestingly enough as women, we are still trying to break free from our socialization.
Still trying to play a different recording in our minds other than the be seen but not heard. That we are too threatening if we are pretty and smart. To keep our thoughts to ourselves because we might annoy the men in the room.
Lois P. Frankel has a really helpful free self-assessment that you can take called the Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office Assessment. It will rate your strengths and tell you the areas where you could improve at work.
And it’s pretty scary stepping outside of those beliefs that are more comfortable to us.
But when you let others know where you stand, you slowly gain respect in your environement.
Experiment! And get comfortable with the idea of disrupting the office ecosystem a bit.
For example at work stating your opinion:
If a co-worker continually interrupts you when speaking you could say:
Hey Louisa, I don’t think we will get anywhere interrupting each other.
If someone calls out a trait you have passive-aggressively you could defend your position:
Co-worker: Some people are too nice and don’t like to give bad news.
You: Hey [Co-worker], I like to set realistic expectations and have the customer’s best interest at heart. Sometimes there is an opening for an appointment during the day.
The person you speak with may have a quick comeback. If this happens know that you can handle it. Restate your first statement in a professional tone.
Co-worker: Yes, but there’s a difference between setting expectations and wasting a customer’s time
You: I’ve seen openings happen in this office and I think this customer has a chance to book. It’s in their best interest.
You can circle back and talk about how you do what’s best for customers. There’s no reason your truth shouldn’t be heard and others should be!