A baby is struggling to get on the sofa. A well-meaning parent picks her up and places her on a seat, but not necessarily on the sofa.
You ask the top boss for directions several times, and soon you find yourself reporting to someone in the mid-layer.
Any kind of dilemma, fumbling, indecisiveness puts you in a subordinate position. You have lost the lead.
I wake up with a clear cut action plan for the day, and start executing it. If someone intervenes with a demand, I give them a time slot saying it can be done after I complete this task. If their need is immediate, they manage themselves.
If you don’t do this, you’ll find time and life slipping away in catering to whims and fancies of others. Working from home is difficult, because there is a strong likelihood of your presence being taken for granted.
SYMPTOMS OF A MALAISE
- Do you come across frequent mansplaining?
- Do you see people ignoring your expertise even for free advice, while they would pay a less qualified consultant somewhere else?
- Do you find yourself serving coffee, while others discuss business, politics or philosophy?
- Do people say “Please consult your father/husband and get back to us”?
- Do people praise your culinary skills while discussing the economy with others?
- Does your husband say, “Let me handle this. You won’t understand.”
- Are you left out of the decision-making process often?
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE
- Set clear objectives
- Find resources to meet those objectives
- Have a clear cut plan
- Engage others as consultants, assistants or associates, not bosses to tell you what to do
- Share knowledge and achievements on appropriate platforms.
- Monitor progress at every stage. There should be no loophole for someone else to step in and take the lead.
- We do need help at times. Gather online information. Seek advice or opinions, not directions. The final decision should always be yours.
Plan —> Execute —> Monitor —-> Control —-> Review
If this sounds like a lesson from a MBA class, understand that the Control stage is most important, or you’ll see another leader in the next cycle.
WHERE DO WOMEN FAIL?
“You are looking beautiful, Ms…”
A snigger from behind,
“Ha! She really believes that? He is taking her for a ride.”
The guy who praises your work in a board meeting thinks it’s a chivalrous act, not an acknowledgement of your true worth. Ideally, you should not need someone else to give you credit.
If you’ve been on the scene of action, told others what to do, and supervised summaries and reviews of the project, you are seen as a leader.
I saw a female business head meeting the top boss on her birthday, and saying “A birthday morning had to start with you.” He was busy and moved ahead without acknowledging the gist of her statement, till someone else reminded him to wish her.
Another one accidentally spilt coffee on the boss’s shoe. It was cleaned and taken care of by the housekeeping guy. Yet, she apologised so many times that I visualised her shrinking in size. A quick ‘Sorry’ with appropriate directions to the helper to clean it up was more than enough.
These incidents happened in the office corridor, and suddenly the ladies’ reputation as Business Heads fell apart.
Somehow, our culture teaches us that we are valued for
There’s nothing wrong per se with any of the above values, but not at the cost of your image as a Boss Woman.
There is a difference between a humble President and a humble office boy.
Excellence, Efficiency and Assertiveness are non-negotiable.
Author: Reena Saxena
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Stand up and be counted.