Sometimes we are so focused on the best way to pitch ourselves and talk about our accomplishments that we don’t realize that the way we show up at work each day speaks louder than words. It’s important to understand that your leadership potential is evaluated not only by your performance, but also by your presence and attention in the workplace.
Here are five questions to ask yourself:
1. Am I too negative?
I remember early in my career I was very committed to my company and was a strong advocate for my direct reports. But when there were things that I believed needed attention or fixing, I would complain.
I was very passionate about my work and had no idea that I came across as negative. At the time I didn’t have the savvy to clearly state my issue along with potential solutions.
2. Am I too emotional?
This can be tricky for women. We tend to get very involved in our work and passionate about the outcomes. The challenge is not to take things personally and get emotional as a result. Don’t let you ego take over when things don’t go your way. Be sensitive to your emotional triggers and try to be proactive in managing them.
3. Am I too stressed?
Women today, especially working mothers, have a lot on their plate. If you are also ambitious and working hard to advance your career, you have additional pressure. Don’t let the stress get the best of you and don’t advertise it in the workplace. Saying you have too much work may be true but it doesn’t present you in the best light to your manager. It’s always better to take steps to manage your stress with exercise, meditation, a walk at lunch time. Having a one on one conversation with your boss about expectations and deadlines is the best way to approach work overload.
4. Am I speaking up appropriately?
Pay attention to your communication and make sure it’s clear and succinct. Avoid using minimizing language that detracts from your personal power. What is type of communication is well received in your workplace? One of the biggest mistakes women make is to talk about how much effort it took to do a project and not start their conversation with the results. Limit your story telling to your networking, not business meetings.
5. Am I dressing the part?
Unfortunately, the way women dress in the workplace is still scrutinized. Do you look too sexy? Too casual? The bottom line is pay attention to your wardrobe. If you are a high achieving woman it’s important to take note of how women leaders in your organization dress. Model both your behavior and wardrobe after these successful women because they have figured out what it takes to get ahead.
In summary, your performance only qualifies you for a promotion. It takes political savvy to get ahead and part of being savvy is understanding how to demonstrate your leadership potential. Your reputation is not just based on how you actively promote yourself. Pay attention to the way you show up at work each day.