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Six Typical Mistakes Women Make at Work

Why do some women achieve success quickly and are regarded as equal partners,

while others remain just good industrious workers but nothing else, even

though both started in the same position? What is the reason for success

of the first and failure of the second? The first steps at the beginning

of our career are often difficult because we learn by our own mistakes

and gain experience. Little by little we become specialists. Unfortunately,

professionalism is not necessarily a prerequisite for a career rise. An

ability to position yourself, that is, to show yourself in the best light

in front of your colleagues and boss, comes first. The reasons for a woman's

failures on this sphere, spring from upbringing and culture. From childhood,

girls are taught to follow certain "how-to-behave" models, which they

stick to in mature life. Not all of these models are effective in achieving

success in professional fields.

Let us look at typical mistakes that are made.

Mistake #1

Desire to be in good terms with everybody.

From childhood, girls are taught to take care of others, to be nice,

and obedient. A real woman must be like that. Parents repeat over and

over again that if you help others, it will be generously repaid. To please

somebody, we often offer help, and then blame ourselves for that, but

sometimes it is too late.

How is it possible to say no to a nice colleague if he asks you to stay

in the office late to help him with his presentation?How is it possible

to say no to a fellow employee whose child has fallen ill? Unfortunately,

at work, such behavior causes sad consequences. Women often spend time

on trifles and, as a result, have to do routine work which distracts them

from more significant and relevant activities. We demand much of ourselves

even if work does not satisfy, but why are we tolerant of the laziness

and irresponsibility of others? We often nag but at the same time do not

lay down any demands.

The nice colleague makes a splendid presentation using your competent

advice, but what do you personally gain from it? Disappointment at the

thought that somebody profited from your work and did not appreciate you

at your true worth. Popularity is gained not by means of capitation and

sacrifices but with the help of mutual respect, tactful behavior, and

reasonable distance.


Be ready to turn down such demands that seem excessive and those that

make your life a misery. Then your "yes" will be much more valuable. By

saying "no", we defend our private life. Otherwise, we cause damage to

ourselves. Refusal should be clear, exact, and quick. You should say in

a firm voice, "I am sorry, but I can't do it". Maybe you will have to

explain your refusal. Find time for activities in which you can reveal

your talents and prove to your boss that you have great potential.

Mistake #2

Take up all the tasks that are offered to you. This is the only

way to show your diligence

At the beginning of our career, we often think that it is enough to be

competent and diligently doing our work, be friendly and do not enter

into conflicts. We want to show that we can do any work, even if we are

not qualified. Thus, we demonstrate our loyalty and diligence. Unfortunately,

the only reward for such behavior is being labeled a person who is ready

to take upon himself any work, rather then taking only such jobs that

can prove his competence and capacities. Don't you agree that it is not

necessary to graduate from a university and have the experience of being

the head of the marketing department to spend the whole hour making 200

copies for a conference? For this, a secretary's course is quite sufficient.

Many women are sure that it is they who must do the hardest and the most

challenging tasks.To ask a secretary to do this unskilled labor is hard

for them - some women regard it as exploitation. Strangely enough, most

men consider themselves too educated for such tasks.


Speak about your achievements. Take jobs that will help you to reveal

your talents. Demonstrate your competence. Stress the main points without

going into unnecessary details. Only new ideas, improvements, and proposals

are rewarded, not your assiduity and pains.

Mistake #3


leads to loneliness. My character will spoil, and nobody will like me.I

will become man-like.

Fear of becoming less desirable after gaining power has deep roots.

From childhood, we were taught that it is bad to impose our opinion on

others and that a woman's purpose is to make the lives of others more

pleasant. We think that men do not like strong women because they are

not feminine, and we believe that real femininity is defenseless and delicate.

Is it really true?

At work, such traditionally female virtues as gentleness, passiveness,

defenselessness are always taken negatively. Such people are easy to manipulate,

and they are never regarded as serious, reliable partners.


In fact, in the past, such behavior was well founded. Women absolutely

depended on men. Since that time, the structure of society has changed;

women work and have active social lives. The prejudice about business

women's masculinity comes from the uncertainty of other women. Lack of

self-confidence makes us copy men's behavior, but any copying is comic,

in essence. In an attempt to look like the boss, we deprive ourselves

of any features of female gentleness. It is easy to be aggressive.


It is not necessary to be a grumbler to be treated seriously. Only self-confident

women can really be desired and feminine. An ability to show power (delegate

your commission) is an important management skill that demonstrates self-confidence.

If you do not feel confident in this new role yet, get special training

to develop the proper skills.

Mistake #4

Wrong signals

It often happens that we do not realize which signals we send to people.

We think about the meaning of spoken words but do not pay any attention

to another language - body language. Non-verbal signals reveal more about

us than our spoken words. We study professionalism and get diplomas, but

our body language reveals our weakness and indecision. Pay attention to

how women talk to bosses who are men. Have you ever noticed how often

they lower their eyes, guiltily or archly smile, giggle, or hesitate to

answer? They drawl and sometimes their voice trembles because of the importance

of the moment. They often lower their shoulders and tilt their heads.

It's a pity, but most often the most widespread signals are confusing:

sexuality, defenselessness, and passiveness. The signals we send determine

the answers we receive: For sexuality - flirting or aggressiveness; for

defenselessness and passiveness - distrust or at best, caring. Is a person

really treated like that if he is considered reliable enough to commit

himself to an important and serious matter?

Such a person can cause pity, and can even be attractive, but is excluded

from dealings in serious business; for this, stronger people are required.

Very often, manner of speech gives away your diffidence and passiveness.How

often we begin with details rather then stick to the purpose. We are so

afraid of leaving something out that we get bogged down in trifles. Perhaps

such an approach is good for a chat with a girlfriend but not for a business




Speak point by point, briefly and clearly. Explain the heart of the

problem, and then introduce the solutions. If necessary, you will be asked

for additional information. Your behavior should be congruous, in other

words, your body language should match what you say. If you say that you

are ready to take on some work, there is no point in making excuses or

dropping your eyes. On the contrary, hold yourself upright and look openly

at your listener. Use confident expressions and gestures. Instead of saying

"I did not understand the task", you'd better say "I need to clarify some

points". You should not feel incompetent; being detail-oriented will improve

your image.

Mistake #5

Indecision and passiveness

Women often keep to given rules. We seldom ask to have the task repeated

and obediently follow the given system. We do things as they are customary.

However, the one who depends on the rules is not clear-sighted and cannot

go forward. Only the one who follows his own rules is able to define his

way and discover something new.

The same is true about complaints. We were taught that we should hold

our opinion inside and be tactful so as not to offend anybody, but this

is not a true diplomacy. Good talks should achieve results that are useful

for all participants. More often, we do not express our discontent because

we think that others must guess themselves. We do not disagree, instead

withdrawing into ourselves, and even if we decide to object to something,

we search for approval. This trait is brought up in women from childhood:

Be obedient; wait until you are called; think first, then speak; and keep

silent while adults are talking. Diligence and assiduity are learned in

this way. Workers that do their job carefully and like a clock are necessary

for things to run smoothly in any company. They will have the opportunity

to keep their job for a long time. However, only those who use knowledge <---newpage--->

to develop their skills and demonstrate their talents will turn their

job into a career.


As a rule, all that we get from life is what we asked for. Demands should

be clearly and exactly defined. You should declare your wishes and the

efforts that you are ready make to realize them. Successful people are

those who state their ideas clearly, express their wishes, and lay down

demands. Thus, they show that they want to do difficult and non-typical


Mistake #6


Many women who have the chance to rise in their career feel so tied and

obligated to their company or boss that they have no courage to change

anything. They are thankful for being well treated. Emotional affection

is a good ground for manipulations. Your opponent can make you focus on

an emotionally strong but inessential point. Emotionality and capacity

for logical thinking are not opposite character traits, but when we see

an excited person, we immediately come to the conclusion that he cannot

think logically. Value your feelings, but sometimes it is better to hide

them. Very often we take to heart common things. We misunderstand actions

and words and interpret what was said by our interlocutors rather than

ask him about it directly. It opens us up to injury on the way toward

success. Bosses hint at something unpleasant, and we immediately begin

to imagine horrible pictures in our mind, make hasty conclusions, and

feel upset for no reason.


Absence of emotional passions helps you to consider the situation calmly

and coolly and to do your work much better. Try to cut down on private

talks in the presence of your colleagues and boss. Bear in mind that attacks

and criticism are not necessarily aimed at offending you personally. Learn

to react to criticism positively, and use it as a step for further development.

After all, if your mistake was not pointed out, you would not have had

the chance to correct it. Your response should be: "It is good that you

noticed it, I will certainly correct this point in my report". React to

facts, not to emotional implications of criticism.

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