9 Silly Mistakes To Avoid at Work
Get ahead by avoiding these pitfalls
Anyone can make an error in judgment at work. But sometimes, those mistakes can haunt you, and keep you from getting ahead.
Here are nine silly mistakes that women often make at work, that you can learn to avoid.
Don't avoid challenging projects
Laura Gmeinder, a life coach and consultant, shared her top three mistakes to avoid making at work:
1. Shying away from challenging projects. Often a woman's chance to shine at work is tied to high profile projects. Because of the attention a project like this receives, many women shy away from taking it on. They doubt their ability to lead the project and whether they have all of the skills needed. This is the fear and a lack of confidence getting in the way. The more you risk and push yourself past your limits, the grater the reward, both personally and professionally. Often when you pass on a high profile project, the opportunities for challenge and growth come further apart until you are no longer considered. This jeopardizes a woman's long-term potential for challenging work and promotional opportunities.
2. Women don't apply for internal positions. Most companies post job openings internally. This allows employees an opportunity to grow their skill set, which is important to an employee's level of engagement, and allows the company to promote from within. It's a win-win for everyone! Time and again I have seen women who are interested in promotions not apply. They figure someone has already been per-selected for the job or because the hiring manager or HR didn't personally invite her to apply, they don't want to consider her so it is not worth the time and effort to apply.
3. Interpersonal conflicts. Most work environments are professional and employees get a long well and operate as a team. Often the way a woman conducts herself can hold her back. For example, a manager who plays favorites. While she may get above and beyond performance from those in her inner circle, everyone who is made to feel like an outsider is resentful and disengaged. This also invites friction between both groups. With lack luster results the manager is sure to get overlooked for promotional opportunities. On the other end of the spectrum is someone who holds a grudge. This type of employee refuses to work with a person she has had a bad run in with, bad mouths them and typically creates a negative environment for anyone who has to get in between the two. It's important to be professional and work well with everyone. If you have a falling out, do what you need to do to get beyond it. The way you handle it reflects on your character and can impact your career.
Tracy Williams, CEO at Olmstead Williams Communications, gave her top mistake that women make:
4. The number one silly mistake women make is oversharing. From break ups to breast feeding and talking about how much something costs, women tend to overshare on personal matters which weakens their appearance of strength. Some women think it shows their humanity, but leaders listen and share personal stories only when appropriate. Tracy Williams has over 25 years of public relations and crisis communications experience and has grown her company to be one of the top 25 public relations firms in Los Angeles.
Don't dress inappropriately
Carole Lieberman, M.D., shared her thoughts:
5. One of the silliest mistakes that women make at work is choosing inappropriate clothes to wear - from clothes that are too sexy to those that are not professional enough. Many women don't put enough careful thought into their work wardrobe. Instead, hoping to land a co-worker or boss, some display their assets with plunging necklines or mini-skirts. This makes the men at work feel distracted and uncomfortable. Although they may appreciate the view, they don't appreciate the obvious efforts at seduction. Other women go in the opposite direction. They dress too casually, such as in jeans and T-shirts. This conveys the message that they are too casual about their work and don't consider their job or the workplace professional, which irritates colleagues who take more pride in their work.
Don't be afraid to speak up
Jennifer Hill, co-founder of Sixty VocabOne, shared her number one mistake:
6. The top mistake that women often make is to wait to speak up in meetings or to raise an issue unless it has been raised by others. Often this stems from a fear of looking silly or being too advanced for the group. As hard as it is at times, it's better to speak one's mind and be confident in the view.
Don't fear the word “no”
Cheryl Hunter, author, coach and consultant, shared her top three tips that hold women back at work
7. Don't say “yes” more than you say “no.” Traditionally, women are people-pleasers, and as a result say yes to most requests that come their way.. The problem is, they say yes at the expense of themselves and their mental, physical and emotional well-being. A CDC study asserts that only 9% of men of working age report feeling “very tired” or “exhausted” while the number of women experiencing the same phenomena is nearly double that amount.
8. Don't be afraid to improve your areas of competence. While there may, in fact, be areas of training or development that would assist a woman in moving upward in the workplace (i.e. “I’m not technical enough,”) if women were rigorous about what training and development they actually needed, they could seek those out without having the perceived shortcoming impact their confidence and their upward trajectory. Competencies can be learned; confidence can be learned as well. When it becomes a sticky situation is when we think our current skill set defines who we are and what we’re capable of.
9. They apologize too much. There are countless articles and studies about the percentage of apologies that come from women vs. men on everyday situations. According to Huffington Post, “Sorry is a crutch — a tyrannical lady-crutch. It’s a space filler, a hedge, a way to politely ask for something without offending, to appear “soft” while making a demand.” If women simply asked for what they needed from co-workers to get their jobs done, and did so without apology; if women believed that they have the right to exist without apologizing for their very existence, “Sorry, am I in your way?” the workplace—and women’s place in it—would be a more level playing field.