We’ve all been there: Maybe you’ve been asked to take charge of party planning for your coworker’s birthdays or go on a coffee run (even if you said goodbye to the “intern” title years ago). Or perhaps one of your colleagues keeps talking over you in meetings (been there, done that!). You know you should be strong and confident, but maybe you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to empowerment in your career.
We know what it’s like to feel undermined in the workplace, and we’re here to help you feel like your best self at work. We partnered with our bubbly of choice, La Marca Prosecco, to help you overcome challenges and feel confident in your career. La Marca Prosecco believes in celebrating the joy in everyday moments, including all the work that so many women go through to make their dreams come true. We are proud to partner with them to bring you advice on how to overcome challenges and feel confident in your career.
With everything from imposter syndrome to dismissive bosses, it might be hard to feel like the powerful badass that you are at the office. La Marca Prosecco is the perfect accompaniment to celebrate the boss that you already are and how bright your future career can be. Grab your La Marca mini and read on for 10 behaviors to be aware of in order to be your strongest self at work.
1. Instead of apologizing, share your perspectives with confidence.
Admit it: You’ve responded to an email or sat in a meeting and said something along the lines of, “I’m sorry, but I disagree because…” You felt compelled to share your point of view, but you didn’t want to hurt your colleagues’ feelings in doing so.
You don’t have to agree with everyone else in the room or on the project, and you certainly don’t have to feel sorry for feeling differently. Your view is essential and additive, and you can meaningfully contribute to the conversation without worrying about how others might respond to your opinion. Instead of apologizing before stating your truth, try saying, “Let’s talk about this through a different lens.” This approach welcomes varying perspectives without the unnecessary apology.
2. Rather than be the designated notetaker in every meeting, help empower others to do the job.
Somebody has to be responsible for taking notes in meetings, but it shouldn’t always be you unless your job description clearly states that responsibility. There’s an assumption that women are more equipped or “better at” these types of tasks and duties, so they often fall into our laps without our permission.
If you’re always the assigned note-taker, consider recommending that this responsibility gets divided amongst meeting attendees or alternates. And if you still find that colleagues call on you because you “do it best,” offer to show them your note-taking strategies and say, “I’d be happy to teach you the strategies I use while taking notes so you can try them during our next meeting.”
3. Finish your thoughts and don’t hesitate to call out interrupters.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been interrupted or talked over during a meeting or presentation (We’re all raising our hands, right?). Interruptions are disheartening and happen to the best of us. It’s best to nip this behavior in the bud right away to eliminate the precedent that you will accept it in the future.
You can shut down interruptions through a variety of tactics. In one-off situations, try continuing to talk or raising your hand to finish your thoughts. If you’re dealing with a repeat offender, address the behavior with specific instances of interruption in a private setting and talk it out.
4. Don’t feel pressured to say “Yes!” to everything.
There’s a difference between being a helpful team player and being taken advantage of at work. Women in the workplace tend to take on tasks such as planning for birthdays, cleaning up the kitchen, ordering lunch for a group, sending out meeting invites, and more. While you might think volunteering to do the “stuff no one else wants to do” is going to make you more likable, you might be unintentionally undermining your value.
If you turn down tasks every once in a while, does that mean you’re not helpful? Absolutely not. If you get asked to do one of these tasks, offer a group of team members the rundown on how you’ve made it successful previously, and then hand it off for good. You can say something along the lines of, “While I’ve volunteered for these tasks previously, my bandwidth is currently full, but I’m happy to onboard someone else to the task.”
5. Don’t minimize your accomplishments—celebrate them!
Look, there’s a difference between bragging and owning your successes. Women are known for downplaying their work and not giving themselves enough credit. Imposter syndrome brings about feelings of unwarranted self-promotion, but advocating for yourself and promoting your achievements aren’t bad things.
Take getting a promotion or landing a new role, for example. We say things like “I got promoted, but it’s no big deal!” instead of sharing these achievements with honor. Next time you catch yourself getting ready to downplay your success, try to focus on sharing the update paired with feelings of excitement: “I got promoted, and I’m excited about this new opportunity!” Celebrate your success so others will celebrate you, too. La Marca minis are what we keep on hand to celebrate successes big and small. You deserve it!
6. You’re worth every penny, so don’t work for less money than you deserve.
We could spend all day talking about the gender pay gap and the history behind women getting underpaid in the workplace. While we continue to make progress towards equality, the reality is that compared to men, women are underpaid, and there are more significant wage gaps for Women of Color. Accepting unfair pay sends the message that your employer can get away with taking advantage of you.
All that’s to say that you don’t deserve to feel undervalued and receive less pay than what you’re worth. If you’re doing more work than your job description requires of you, ask for a raise. If you’re preparing to accept a job offer, consider negotiating your salary.
7. Communicate up rather than venting sideways.
We all have issues that come up at work. The truth is that no matter what the office environment is, miscommunications and misunderstandings are unavoidable. What matters is how you address them to remain as professional as possible in the workplace.
If an issue arises at work, communicate up and have a healthy conversation with your manager about what’s going on rather than venting sideways. Your manager is there to help you and can support you in these situations. While venting to a colleague might help temporarily, sharing what’s going on with your manager can help build a strong relationship built on trust and can yield a long-term solution.
8. Uplevel your emails by removing modifiers like “just” and “actually.”
The way we communicate verbally and in written communication is powerful, and adding modifiers can make you seem less competent and confident. The words “just” and “actually” are often unnecessary and can easily be eliminated for a stronger message.
Instead of saying, “I just wanted to follow up on this!” say, “I am following up on this…” Rather than saying, “I actually have one more question,” say, “I have a question.” Practice reviewing your emails before you send them and removing these modifiers until you get in the habit of not including them.
9. Don’t worry that you aren’t making sense.
Have you ever spoken up during a meeting and shared your perspective thoughtfully and thoroughly, only to wrap up with a “Does that make sense?” at the end? I used to do this all the time. It can feel almost natural to close a point this way, but when you do, you imply that what you just shared makes no sense or that your audience is incapable, making you sound condescending.
Try avoiding this phrase and replace it with something along the lines of, “I look forward to hearing others’ thoughts on this” or “I’m happy to answer any questions or provide clarity.”
10. Your ideas aren’t silly or “out there,” so be proud to share them.
Your ideas are not silly, and you shouldn’t lead in with a preface that discredits what you’re about to share. Whether your imposter syndrome is getting the best of you or you fear judgment and rejection, you need to leave the phrase “this might seem silly, but…” in the past.
Look, if you don’t believe in your ideas and present them confidently, how do you expect others to believe in them? Sure, sometimes we all come up with ideas that might seem like a stretch, but there’s no need to say it out loud. Next time, jump straight into sharing your concept without any preface and ask for feedback after sharing it.
La Marca Prosecco is an elegant sparkling wine grown in the heart of Italy’s Prosecco region. La Marca Prosecco believes in celebrating the joy in everyday moments, including all the work that so many women go through to make their dreams come true. A focus on career empowerment has always been part of The Everygirl’s mission, and our partnership with La Marca Prosecco has helped us take that mission into the real world with live and virtual events, small business grants, and more. Let’s raise a glass to that!
This post is sponsored by La Marca Prosecco but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl Media Group editorial board.