Getting their point of view across in the workplace can be difficult for some women, particularly when there are strong personalities that seem to over power your every word. Some of these women end up being walked all over and taken advantage of. Likewise, some women tell me that when they do put their views forward, they get told that they are too aggressive.
So what is a woman to do? Having those difficult conversations that need to be aired can be quite fearful and put many women off having them.
Here are 3 such situations with a way to address them if this applies to you.
1. Disliking confrontation
A dislike of confrontation can make some women fearful of voicing their opinion because they believe that things will get nasty. The word confrontation in itself conjures up images of aggression and forcefulness. If you are thinking about it in this way it is enough to make anyone fearful of entering in to.
Rather than viewing it as a confrontation, try and view it that you are helping the other person to see your point of view. They will either accept your point of view, accept parts of what you say or they will reject it. Whatever their response, they too are entitled to their point of view.
This will help you to approach such conversations less fearful that there will be a confrontational outcome and will make having these difficult conversations less stressful for you.
2. You are told that you are too aggressive
I had a client who was told that she was too aggressive. She however, saw herself as being assertive.
Getting feedback on your behaviour from a trusted colleague will help you to become aware of whether you do come across as assertive or whether in actual fact you are coming across as aggressive. If the feedback given is that you are aggressive, you can then moderate your behaviour accordingly. If the feedback is that you are assertive, try having a friendly conversation with the person that is labelling you as aggressive and find out what it is about you that makes them think this.
3. Feeling like you are unable to contribute
One woman that I worked with would not participate in office discussions because she felt that she had nothing of interest to contribute. This had a big impact on her confidence, so much so that a male colleague that she worked closely with started to take advantage of her quiet, passive nature. Work that they had done jointly and for which she had made the bigger contribution, he passed off as his own, getting all the credit for it.
A close examination of what was going on for her showed that often the topic of office discussion focused on areas that she had no interest in, namely sports and TV soaps. Initiating conversations of matters of interest to her enabled her to feel more confident about joining in discussions. She stopped viewing her male colleague as someone who was threatening and overpowering which removed the fear she had of addressing concerns with him. She was able to view him for what he was, namely arrogant and conceited.
How are you letting your voice be heard in the workplace? If you need to have a ‘difficult’ conversation, be assertive but not aggressive and do it in a way that is authentic to you.
If having difficult conversations in the workplace is something that you struggle with, I will be running a free webinar called ‘3 Mistakes that Prevent Prevent Women in their Forties Having Successful and Fulfilling Careers’ on Monday 9 December 2013at 8pm GMT.
The webinar highlights 3 common mistakes that prevent women in their forties (although it is also applicable to women of other ages) having successful and fulfilling careers and shows them what they can do to overcome them. During the webinar I give examples of case studies and practical exercises for participants to complete so that they can apply the learning to their own personal situations.
The mistakes centre round issues of fear which I have found through my work and my research to be a prevailing factor preventing women from achieving their full potential.
Register for your place at http://goo.gl/sDFsei and share this with a friend.
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