Over-apologizing, under-advocating, or misrepresenting our capabilities — women are continually fighting to be taken seriously in the workplace.
It’s an observation that can be made across nearly every industry. Men fearlessly represent themselves with confidence, whilst women second-guess their input or the very skills that led them to earn their position in the first place.
And in 2023, this is something we acknowledge shouldn’t be such a prevalent experience. The real solution to this issue is instilling confidence in women at an earlier age, specifically during high school, but until we live in a world where girls are supported and encouraged on a more thorough level, we’ll provide some tips to help the current sitch.
Get on top of imposter syndrome.
Not just a corporate buzzword, imposter syndrome can cover a spectrum of feelings you may have experienced already, like a lack of confidence, voice, or self-belief — all of which are holding you back from realizing your full potential.
Remember that confidence is contagious, says Elana Konstant, a career coach from Fairgodboss.
“If you believe in your own power, others will as well. Be aware of the language you are using and speak with authority.”
Melody Wilding, a licensed master social worker, suggests that if you want other people to regard you as capable, you must conduct yourself as such. This also means speaking up and advocating for yourself, because by keeping your skills, capabilities, and achievements to yourself, you deprive others of the chance to receive your help. And by speaking up, you set an example and create a safe space for others to do the same.
Our advice: Before you begin your working day, tell yourself (aloud) something specific about your skill set, capabilities, or personality that sets you apart from others.
Set healthy boundaries.
Getting in early > saying yes to every task > staying back late > burn out > repeat.
This is a typical cycle that many women fall into in the workplace. It’s a common myth that by taking on more work we’ll be recognized and acknowledged even more. By not communicating your work boundaries in a healthy and constructive way, your colleagues will always be left in the dark when it comes to your workload max and non-negotiables.
Joanne Lui, Licensed Architect turned Branding Strategist, is a master at creating balanced boundaries that gain respect.
Looking the part.
We’ve heard it before; dress for the job you want, not the job you have. And this isn’t about beauty, fashion choices, or projecting affluence, it’s about owning how you present yourself to the world and accepting that that is the impression you’re leaving on others.
This extends to your body language, too. Sitting up straight, maintaining eye contact, and slowing down how you talk can be simple — but effective — communication habits to help you get taken more seriously.
Life’s too short, and you have a long career ahead of you. Don’t waste time in your comfort zone, because all of the best things in life have come out of taking a risk. Growth stems from curiosity, and true leaders respect a forward-thinking approach — regardless of the industry.
Louise Roe, entrepreneur and fashion business owner agrees:
“You’ll never truly progress in your career, or even in your personal development and relationships, if you never make yourself vulnerable and put yourself out there.”
Now that you’re armed with a few of the tools to bolster your position, we’d love to hear any tips you’ve learned along the way. Leave us a comment on our social channels or drop us a message.