Women can be their worst enemies in the workplace. Very often women are afraid to defend themselves, to speak out, to negotiate, to disagree and to promote themselves. Women often believe that the workplace is a meritocracy, and that their good work and good interpersonal skills will point them out and move them forward.

False. The workplace is a lot, but a meritocracy is not always part of it. Of course, good work is generally rewarded, but good work in a vacuum is not. The people who progress are those who speak, negotiate, defend and make themselves known. And women tend to fear the very things that will help them move forward.

Here’s how to fight the four big fears that hold women back:

1. Fear of assertive speech.

One of the biggest mistakes made by working women is to soften our speech. Speech has three components: the words we choose, our body language and our tone of voice. And women are afraid to assert themselves in the three.

Women tend to use what we call “weaker language”. For example, women tend to predict what they say, as in, “I think it’s a good idea” or “I think it’s the right way to do it,” or “We could consider this option. ”

A more affirmative speaker would say, “It is a good idea”; “It’s the right way to go”; “This is what we have to do.” Assertive people do not predict their language. Say what you want to say and don’t soften it or qualify it.

That said, in some situations, using assertive language may not be the right way to go, and you can alienate people if you are overly confident. You must be aware of your audience and judge the level and type of speech. If these are all affirmative types, rest assured. If you are dealing with less assertive people or if the situation does not justify it, take a step back.

There are times when predicates are absolutely appropriate, and you should soften your language, but if you soften everything, people won’t see you as a leader. And regardless of the audience or the circumstances, being insured does not mean being rude, condescending, shrill or shrill. It means being confident, commanding and authoritarian. The tone is very important.

One last thing: body language is a big part of speech. So sit straight, sit straight and sit at the table or in the front where you can be seen. Do not sag, hide, or sit in the background. Be as sure of yourself with your body language as with your speech.

2. Fear of negotiating. 

Overall, women continue to lag wages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women still earn only 79% of what their male counterparts do. Female consultants and lawyers tend to charge less than their male counterparts. Studies show that a $ 5,000 difference in your first job can make a huge difference of $ 200,000 over the course of your career.

Unfortunately, many women are afraid to negotiate. We don’t do it as well as our male counterparts. Women feel guilty about asking for money, so we take what they offer us.

It must stop. We must stop being shy and learn to ask for it. Come find out what you are worth, find out what your value is to the business, find out what you have done and are capable of doing, and ask for money. No one will do it for you.

3. Fear of conflict.

Women are very good at building relationships. This is extremely valuable in the workplace, where building relationships is key to success. But too often we are reluctant to disagree or have conflicts with our colleagues and colleagues. We are afraid of alienating people, so we do not defend ourselves or speak out. We are afraid of being perceived as a bitch if we are not friendly and easy to get along with everyone.

Conflict does not have to be overwhelming and disagreement must not be alienating, as long as you use respectful language and leave emotions aside. You can assert yourself without alienating people if you do it right.

Workplace relationships need to be strong, but they are not the same as your personal friendships. You are not at work to make friends. You have to find the right balance between being a person who helps create a harmonious workplace and being an assertive and strong person. You are not there to love and nourish everyone; you are there to work, work well with people and get the job done.

4. Fear of self-promotion.

Women believe that the workplace is a meritocracy. It’s not. Good work is not enough. If you want to move forward, people need to know who you are, the work you have done, your value for the business, and what you are capable of. You have to do a little self-promotion. That’s what men do, and so do you.

Now, shameless self-promotion and shameless self-promotion are two different things. Don’t confuse confidence with arrogance. There is a way to promote yourself and your achievements without being obnoxious. This is essential during meetings with your boss or manager; you must be able to catalog your achievements, ideas, and contributions.

If people don’t know your successes and what you are capable of, you will not get the opportunities. So start making a list of your accomplishments now. Keep it up to date and don’t be afraid to share it. Don’t brag or brag.

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