If you are a working woman, who believes that compared with men, you face tougher challenges at workplace, hurdles in career progression, and greater demands on your time from family, you may be right. However, you should never allow circumstances to dictate your destination or the journey. It is up to you to master these challenges and excel in your career. Here are some pointers that can help you power up and boost your chances of success. And, yes, these choices work equally well for either gender.
Prioritise safety, comfort
If you are planning to change jobs, put safety first; all else can wait. Check if the workplace offers personal safety, which includes the commute, location, work timings, travel requirements, etc. Equally important are the people you interact with and the office culture, which should prioritise individual safety. Find out if the job profile and workenvironment suit you. If the work demands clash with personal responsibilities or working conditions aggravate your health problems, you are setting yourself up for failure. Focus on getting safety and comfort in place while selecting a job and free up your energy to pursue results when you begin work.
Go for results
What are the results expected of you? Which targets will get you promotions, increments and awards? Know them well and chart out a route to get there. During the performance review, who you are matters less than the actual results you have delivered. Bonding with the team, good rapport with clients and a positive opinion of your boss are strong enhancers in your performance review discussions, but they do not cover up for lack of hard numbers.
Learn to be assertive
Stand up, and speak up as well. Assertiveness is not just a good skill to have, but an essential tool for a professional. During salary discussion, like every professional, you are expected to speak out and negotiate for your dues without accepting the first offer. In the meeting room, the team can function well only if you are loud enough to be heard and taken seriously. A team member will deliver results only if you accept nothing less than excellence. Like any other skill, you can learn to be assertive and get better with practice.
Publicise your work
The priciest diamond has no value while buried in the earth. Similarly, an executive's achievements are not recognised till they are communicated to the world. Know that you have to highlight your contributions and blow your own trumpet. Make sure that your boss knows the good work you are doing and your team knows how you are pulling your weight. Use both formal and informal opportunities to talk about your work and seek due credit. Speak about team achievement to focus on your own inputs. Practice accepting praise gracefully with a 'thank you', instead of diverting or ignoring it.
Seek people who are willing to teach and can compress your learning time from years to months. Good mentors, too, are from either gender. From their wealth of experience or understanding, they help you master better work attitude and skills and negotiate challenges. For a sustainable relationship, do not confuse mentors with friends. Be sure to give your mentors the respect and gratitude that is due.
Be a professional
Professionalism knows no gender. Pull up those socks; the results and reputation are worth the effort. Show up on time for work, meetings and events every single time. Treat each deadline like an airline flight and make sure that you deliver at least an hour before it. Earn a reputation for work that does not need to be rechecked for errors. Over time, you will be respected and treated as a professional instead of being judged over your gender or status.
Multitasking doesn't work
Stop multitasking and your effectiveness will shoot up dramatically. Focus on the present moment and immerse in the task at hand. If unable to complete, reschedule and remove it from your mind. Worrying about an office deadline in the middle of your child's birthday party or fretting about an ill relative while your boss is discussing the quarterly target does not work well for anyone.
Invest in your team
Help your team members succeed. A career path is much like climbing the Mount Everest; you can reach the top only with competent team members who deliver results. Invest in the personal and professional success of the members who report to you. The payback is two-fold. First, they are able to handle greater responsibilities, and second, you earn the reputation of a boss who breeds success and attracts better professionals.
Manage the breaks
A break in your career need only be a pause, not a fullstop. Whether it's maternity leave, illness or extraneous circumstances, you can manage your break keeping your career needs in mind. Returning from a break, you will only need to convince potential employers that you are as sharp as ever and an invaluable asset. Going back to an ex-employer or ex-boss is almost always easier. You can also use the time to enhance your career by working as a part-time consultant or acquiring additional skills.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME
1. Automate finances: Save 4 hours a month. Automate routine expenditure and investment tasks. Link regular bill payments to your credit card or bank account. Link your bank account to an automatic/recurring deposit scheme. Ask service providers to send online bills/statements. These save you the time to record and file.
2. Work the commute: Add up to 10 hours a week. If you commute by car, invest in a driver or join a car pool. Use this time to answer e-mails, make calls, write notes, catch up with friends or even take a nap. If you travel by public transport, try juggling your travel schedule to get a less crowded ride and elbow room to use the time productively.
3. Smarten the phone: Add 1 hour every day. Invest in a good smartphone, Internet on the go, and learn how the phone works. Treat your device as a mobile computer that also makes calls. Now, put empty, wasted minutes during the day to good use—catch up on reading books, answer routine e-mails or research your industry numbers.
4. Shop online: Save 4 hours a month. Reduce the time spent in travel and at the brick-and-mortar stores. Explore the world of online ordering for all your shopping needs, including books, electronics, clothing, even groceries.
5. Reward the staff: Save 2-6 hours a month. Much time can be saved if you get better service from the people who work for you—the maid, cook, parking lot attendant, waiter at your regular lunch joint, office secretary, tech-support team, etc. Choose to acknowledge and reward desired service levels.
Source : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com