Women need to take a page from the male playbook and make sure that they're getting the recognition and credit they've earned. If you don't announce your own efforts, you can bet that no one else is going to do it for you. With humility, make sure that you're keeping your name, your achievements, and your skill set in front of everyone. If you still have doubts, consider that making your accomplishments known validates the investments others have made in you. Your boss wants to know that she bet on a winner when she hired you. When you can master the art of positioning yourself in an appealing way, you'll unleash wicked success that can push you to the top.
How do men talk differently about themselves?
Men tend to exaggerate their accomplishments more than women do. That doesn't mean men lie during job interviews or performance reviews but it does mean they exhibit a lot more confidence in workplace situations. In other words, they're not afraid to sing their own praises, whereas women tend to give very bare bones feedback on their accomplishments.
How can women be comfortable with touting themselves?
To a certain extent, women are actually wired to nurture and care for others, and to put the good of the whole over their personal interests. But to get ahead in business, you have to put yourself first. Remember, when you're in a job interview or a performance review, the person interviewing you wants to know how great you are. They want to know what you can achieve and what you have achieved. If you've got the credentials to back up what you're saying, go ahead and sing your praises. It's also never a bad idea to practice with someone with whom you feel comfortable. As I've built my business over the years, whenever I've had to go up against a pit bull, I've taken a walk and role-played with my husband, Tom. I anticipate every possible objection and get myself into a Zen-like state. When it comes time to meet with that person, I am centered and ready.
Any other tips?
When you become a better, more confident negotiator and aren't afraid to sing your own praises, you can earn more and open yourself up to bigger and better opportunities. Also, remember that a big part of moving forward in your career is showing that you can be an effective leader. And you can't do that when you're constantly second-guessing yourself in front of your team. You have to set a course for people, and you have to do so with confidence. They have to trust that it's a good idea to follow you. You won't achieve that trust by pandering to them. You can only do it by proving yourself worthy of their respect by communicating your own list of achievements and your confidence in your abilities. Be proud of your strengths and abilities, and learn to compellingly express them to others.
Twitter@DawnHouseTrib Vickie Milazzo, author