By Nancy Fredericks
Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at www.thrivewithnancy.com. The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.
The good news is, as a woman, you own communication!
Your mind is hardwired to achieve better results in this zone!
A woman’s brain centers have 11 percent more neurons than men. This natural facility gives females a leg up regarding verbal and non-verbal skills. You can read faces and body clues along with the capability to listen to another’s tone of voice, which gives us priceless insight into their state of mind at a fundamental level before anything is said.
And isn’t it lucky as it turns out to be the single most crucial skill you can have for a solid foundation in business and personal success? Confirming this, 86 percent of employees and executives cited ineffective communication as the leading cause of workplace failures.
Whether you like it or not, communicating effectively greatly impacts your career. You are always creating either a positive or negative impression.
I know you’re probably an outstanding communicator, yet even the most successful leaders continually grow and develop their best skills to remain relevant in today’s ever-changing marketplace, which is why I’ve written this blog.
Check out three questions intended to challenge you as you notch up your communication strengths.
1. Is Your Style Serving You At Your Present Position? As a woman, you probably message others through an expressive, friendly, pleasant, and approachable communal style. Men are more agentic communicators by nature—assertive and independent and tend to impose their thoughts on those around them. Guess what? Research reveals that the more communal you are, the less qualified you will be assessed.
However, women who can use both communal and agentic communication techniques are more successful in their careers—in terms of compensation and promotion—than other women…. And get this, men!
By making minor adjustments that are in integrity with your values, you’re sure to realize improved leadership outcomes.
Challenge: How comfortable are you with strengthening your directive leadership style? Ready to test out this approach to see how it fits you? Be you and bring your expertise and authority—the agentic aspects of you—is a winning formula!
2. Are You Tolerating Being Stereotyped? You can’t ignore that pigeonholing women is going on and may injure how your organization assesses you. No question, it’s a double edge bind for you.
It may destroy your future in two ways:
- First, it blurs the reality of who you are and the strengths you bring to the organization.
- Second, and this is unfortunate, you may be tempted to conform to the static stereotypical views of women still hanging around businesses to be successful.
People don’t think they judge others based on stereotypes…. They believe they’re free of biases, yet, sociological studies make it clear that many fall prey to them.
Challenge: Have you unconsciously bought into self-limiting yourself to fit in? By any chance, do you believe you have to act like your male peers to get ahead in business….wrong! Don’t give up your voice. It’s your strategic edge. Companies recognize they need the female mind for profitability, so don’t dilute your contributions.
3. Can You Raise The Bar On Your Conflict Leadership Muscle? Our business cultures are overflowing with conflict. In fact, 85 percent of employees experience it.1 Nobody likes discord, but it arouses greater anxiety and discomfort in women than men.2
Conflict is a costly issue in business. Of note, employees in United States companies spend roughly 2.8 hours each week in conflict. And it accounts for roughly $359 billion in hours focused on conflict instead of on positive productivity.3
Without question, this is a big issue in the marketplace and one that you need to tackle immediately. Ignoring conflict or passively addressing it isn’t the answer. Strife doesn’t go away. It flares up more contentiously and is more deadly somewhere in the future.
Challenge: The stats tell the story that conflict is an often-experienced factor in business. How responsive are you in the face of employee disputes? Are you unconsciously pussy footing around the problem, hoping it will disappear on its own? Is this an area you are ready to improve?
Which of the three communication areas hit you as the next one you want to master at a higher level? Start your action steps now.
If none of them resonated with you, it doesn’t mean there are no other aspects of communication that you can and should uplevel. Begin your exploration now, or contact me. I can assist you in identifying the next communication areas you may want to upskill.
1CCP Global Human Capital report
3CCP Global Human Capital report
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