Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dare to lead - Winning Strategies for Women

“I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an' pretend
'Cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever gonna keep me down again 
Oh yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to
I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman”
                                     --Helen Reddy and Ray Burton

If you are a woman reading this, I’ll ask you to go and hear the song. It’s beautiful, strong, feminine and in your shoes! If you aren’t, you should hear it anyway, to realize what I am talking about.

Being a woman and being out there is an achievement, so much so, that it is worthy of ballads. Because being a woman with a career means breaking the norm and keeping it at the same time!. On one hand you break the convention of spending your childhood and youth not in becoming Lizy of Pride & Prejudice but becoming Mr Darcy with a better body and prettier shoes. On the other hand, you don’t want to give up the pleasure of cooking for your husband, helping your kids with their homework and booking full day spas. That’s two roles in one. Only a woman can manage that kind of multitasking!

But just like any achievement worthy of praise, it is not easy being that power puff girl. What keeps these women ticking and what makes them win? I asked few women around me (and put in my own two cents).

The top answer is surprising for the uninitiated. Family. Women are probably more emotional and sensitive than their males counterparts and hence it is important for them to have the support of a family around them. A great husband, loving kids, parents. Women lay lot of emphasis on having things sorted back at home. Having a supportive family helps them focus guiltlessly on work and accomplish more in their careers.

Gossip and women go hand in hand. But it seems that when it comes workplace, women want to stay away from it. Excluding the discussions around whether your boss is in a foul mood because he had a fight with his wife, women are generally distant from work related gossip. More specifically, workplace politics. Most women are interested in quickly finishing what is assigned to them and saving manipulation for their friend circles.

The glass ceiling. Who hasn’t heard of that. But the trick is in believing it does not exist. Sometimes, women seem to presume that their bosses will prefer their male counterparts over them for higher responsibilities, get demotivated, and don’t perform anyway. Those who don’t get into this trap, easily cross the holy grail in an unbiased work environment.

That brings me to the last factor, your boss. This is irrespective of gender. But women, as far as I know, respond very well to mentorship and positive reinforcement. The more trust & responsibility, you put in them, the more you reap. Most women who have an ascending career graph, agree that it woudn’t have been possible without a supportive boss and open work environment.

I am sure there are many more experiences and learnings to share. I am woman still learning.  

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