Most women tend to underestimate themselves, in many aspects of their life. We often judge ourselves way too severely. This can then translate into a lack of confidence—and certain unwanted behaviors at work…
Picture this great cartoon I once saw in a newspaper: An old man and an old woman are looking at their sagging body in the mirror. What do you think the man sees in his head? He sees a man with a nice muscular body. And the woman? She sees a sagging body in even worst condition than it actually is! No matter the age, men seem to have self-confidence encrypted in their DNA. We should try adopting this attitude once in a while and we might realise we like it!
Your colleagues and managers may have an idea of what your role and responsibilities are but do they really have the right picture of what your strengths are? To what extent you are good at what you do? And the potential you have to develop and take on other more challenging responsibilities?
By becoming more assertive at work you allow people to discover your real worth. Maybe your name will pop-up in their mind when comes an opportunity for a great mandate or project that fits your profile.
ASSERT YOURSELF – STOP THESE HABITS
1 Refraining from asking questions because you’re afraid of what people may think?
If you don’t understand something, chances are others do not fully get it either. Asking questions is normally a sign of intelligence. You must have a good understanding of what is being discussed or what is at stake to be in a position to contribute and be relevant.
2 Keeping your ideas to yourself in a brainstorming?
In a group discussion or brainstorming, even if you’re surrounded by other more senior people (and sometimes all men), don’t hesitate to put forward your ideas. If you’re in that meeting your ideas should be as welcome as anybody else’s around the table.
3 A process can be improved but you wonder why your boss is not taking care of it in the first place?
If you have an idea you think could help improve a process or communications, bring it to your boss. Managers don’t necessarily have all the answers. Your boss may not have thought of this solution so why not sell it to him? It’s certainly worth the effort. Every idea may not be retained, but that’s the worst that can happen.
4 Chosing to sit at the far end of the table in meetings?
This sends the wrong message. You may think your opinion is not important anyway. But that’s just your tendency to underestimate yourself acting out. Assert yourself— sit in the middle of the group so you can fully participate in the conversation. When more people contribute, better ideas come out.
5 Not putting your name on the material you produce?
You may not even think about putting your name on your documents and reports since obviously your boss knows they’re coming from you. However always have in mind that your boss may need at one point to use your document in a discussion with some of his colleagues or his boss. And when that happens, it’s important for people to know who wrote it. You will slowly build your reputation across the company.
6 Not raising your hand when your boss asks who wants to take charge of a specific project?
You are tempted but you think “I’ve never done this before… I don’t have the needed experience…there are certainly other people who are better suited for this task than me…maybe next time…“. DON’T LISTEN TO THIS VOICE. If this task or job interests you, it’s a sign that you may very well be the best person for it! Allow yourself to discover if you like this type of responsibility. You’ll be learning new skills which is always stimulating, and will find out more about your own strengths.
7 Hesitating to ask for help because it may be taken as a sign of weakness?
On the contrary. First, because you will avoid losing time on something you can solve in a much quicker way. Second, because you’ll be building your network in the process. Remember that people are generally flattered to be asked for their help in their own field of experience.
Stop these habits! You are capable of much more than you think.
Just try it and you will see…. Only good will come out of it!