Why do some women succeed in the workplace and others don’t? Here are the 10 most common leadership and management mistakes at work that women tend to make.
Have you ever wondered why some women are not regarded as equal partners in business or treated with respect in the workplace even though they have vast knowledge and impeccable training?
There are women who climbed the success ladder quickly and those that did not manage to move an inch even though they both started at the same time, at the same position.
So what is the reason for failure in one case and success in the other? Many women tend to make professional mistakes at work and most of them can be avoided with some knowledge of professional mistakes examples and how to handle them.
Making mistakes at work is how we learn in a new job. These 10 common leadership and management mistakes are not deal-breakers, but they are definitely the sort of professional mistakes you want to avoid if you plan to get ahead in your career
10 Mistakes At Work That Women Make (And How To Fix Them)
Starting a career is difficult for everyone. The very first steps a person makes at the beginning of a new career can be rough, but experience and learning from mistakes are crucial in one’s professional development.
As a career woman, you must be able to show up in a positive way. If you want to learn how to succeed at work, make sure you pay attention to the 10 most common unconscious mistakes that women make in the workplace.
1. Being a people pleaser
Girls are often taught to pay attention to other people’s needs, to be obedient, and to be nice to people. Parents raise their girls with the belief that helping others can make you feel good about yourself.
In the office, this turns women into people-pleasers who want to be liked by everyone. Sometimes a colleague will ask you for a favour that requires your time and dedication, such as staying late to help them with a presentation.
Despite the fact that it is good to help each other, people often take advantage of coworkers who can’t say no when asked for help. So, even if you agree to help your colleague once, it could easily turn into numerous favours for that person and everyone else in the office.
As a result, you’ll end up wasting your precious time on things that cannot benefit you and are distracting you from your actual work. In the end, your colleague will take credit for your work and you will get nothing in return.
A colleague is someone you work with, but they are also your competition for promotion and success in the company. Sure, you could help out a colleague once in a while because you may need help someday too, but you should definitely set some limits.
How to fix it: Learning to say no is crucial in the workplace. Don’t allow people to take advantage of your desire to be nice just so you can stay in their good books.
2. Taking on too many tasks
Being competent, friendly and diligent in doing your work is important in a career. However, women often try to overcompensate in the effort to show that they are more capable and qualified than others.
Demonstrating diligence, hard work and loyalty can be achieved by successfully completing jobs that are commensurate with your pay, and not just because you want to prove competence.
You may be better educated than everyone who works with you, but some tasks require experience also. This is why you must always aim to take up jobs that match your aptitude and personality, and not just any work you are offered.
Everyone has their own career aptitude and talents, so make sure to pick a job or career that helps you showcase yours. Such jobs will help you demonstrate your best qualities, skills and competence.
Men often say no to work when they’re assigned tasks that don’t match their aptitude and capabilities. Follow their example and you will get to the top much faster.
How to fix it: Don’t try to overcompensate. Only take up jobs that match your aptitude, personality and skills. Do a career aptitude test free to find out what you’re good at.
3. Being afraid of loneliness
Many high-achieving women have a fear of being lonely because they’ve heard that powerful and ambitious women are less desirable to the opposite sex and more likely to end up alone.
They worry that after they reach a higher level of success, people will dislike them for being fiercely ambitious and they’ll become too much like men.
But the truth is, women being subservient to men is an outdated and detrimental practice, especially in the workplace. We no longer need to be delicate and defenceless in order to find a partner. Strong women can attract strong and supportive partners.
Despite the fact that our culture teaches us to see women as the passive and nurturing gender, this need not apply to the workplace. Women who act subservient and don’t learn how to be assertive will never be taken seriously or even considered to be reliable partners.
Today, women do not need to depend on men the way our parents and grandparents used to. Most working women enjoy their own independent social lives. The ability to be a powerful leader is a key management skill that will help you rise in your career, so never be ashamed of your strength and capability.
How to fix it: Don’t worry about being liked. Learn how to be assertive and speak clearly and confidently. Take a class in leadership skills if you need to.
4. Defensive body language
When you meet people, you communicate with more than words. Your body language reveals much more than what you are saying verbally, so sending the wrong signals can greatly influence the way people see you.
Schools rarely teach students about body language and how to avoid showing indecision and weakness. This is why women end up showing how intimidated and insecure they are to others, especially to overbearing male bosses.
When speaking to influential people the worst thing a woman can do is giggle, hesitate when asked about something, and smile guiltily. Another giveaway that you’re nervous is when your voice trembles during important occasions, such as an interview or a presentation.
This is why it’s extremely important for a woman to learn not to send signals of defensiveness, powerlessness, and fear. After all, business requires confident, assertive body language and you will not be considered for dealing with serious matters if your body language speaks otherwise.
How to fix it: Get mentoring or coaching from leadership coaches or take a course in public speaking. This is an essential leadership skill for women and it will help you speak with confidence in front of others.
5. Being indecisive or too agreeable
Many women are more comfortable doing traditional tasks that let them be seen as passive at work. They do not express their opinions or discontent because they’re unsure of how others will react.
They rarely disagree and try to be agreeable at all times. But if you wish to succeed in business, you cannot be seen as indecisive or too agreeable.
You don’t have to wait until you’re asked to speak or stay silent while others are speaking. If you want to climb the career ladder, you have to make yourself heard in a calm and confident way.
How to fix it: Confidence comes from the inside. Learn how to strengthen your self-confidence from within and learn all you need to know about your domain of expertise so you can be more confident when you need to get your message across.
6. Being too emotional
Don’t get so emotionally attached to your workplace or work colleagues that you don’t have the courage to make a career change that will benefit you.
You may come across an opportunity to rise in your chosen career, and that may end up hurting others’ feelings, including your close work friends. Or you may get a better job or be offered a new opportunity and have to leave your workplace or make a career transition.
It makes no sense to give up an offer for growth or better pay just to avoid hurting your colleagues or work friends. You need to do what’s best for you, in the end, or you’ll end up resenting your friends and colleagues.
How to fix it: Learn how to keep your work apart from your personal life. You can keep in touch with your work friends even after you leave your current job, especially through social media.
7. Not seeing the workplace as a playing field
While you should not take up too many tasks in order to prove you’re more competent than others are, this does not mean that you should see the workplace as anything other than a playing field.
It’s not advisable to start too many things you cannot finish, nor should you remain passive and think that a promotion will come your way on a silver platter. You need to lobby for it and ask for what you deserve.
How to fix it: Be your own advocate and Champion. Learn how to confidently ask for raises, promotions, and don’t be afraid of self-promotion.
8. Not realizing the importance of networking
Today, your success does not depend solely on what you do at work, and getting ahead in your career is not just about WHAT you know, but WHO you know.
Developing professional relationships outside work and participating in professional associations is essential for ambitious women who want to become something more, even if it seems impossible at the moment.
Using social media for a job search is very common today as most recruiters check out the social profiles of new candidates for any red flags.
Professional networking, whether on social media channels or at networking events, can open up opportunities that you never knew existed.
How to fix it: Build your social network and connect with leaders and influencers online, especially on LinkedIn. Attend conferences and build personal relationships with speakers and other attendees.
9. Not telling the truth
Telling a lie or making up a story in order to explain why something did not go as planned, even though it was not your fault, will make people lose respect for you and can even get you fired.
Truth is your best option in the workplace. Every person at your workplace has made a mistake at some point, so even if this was your fault your employer is more likely to appreciate the truth than forgive you if they catch you in a lie.
And if it is not your fault and you’re simply unsure, clarifying the situation for their benefit is always your best option.
How to fix it: If you lied about something, don’t give excuses for your behaviour. Just come clean and admit it.
10. Not building a personal brand
Building a personal brand in the workplace showcases the value you bring to the table. This is the only way to stand out from the competition in your industry.
It’s a competitive world out there and, more often than not, a single mistake could cost you your reputation and success. To become an expert in your industry, you need to define what you’re good at and showcase your strengths and career achievements.
How to fix it: Learn how to build a personal brand at work and if you’re invited to be a spokesperson for your company or talk to the media, don’t miss out on the opportunity.
Choosing the right career and working towards it is the first step to making sure you’ll find the right job, but what happens after you get that dream job?
Everything is different when you get started at your job and need to rise above the competition. This is why it’s important to avoid these professional mistakes at work that women tend to make.
What To Do When You Make A Mistake At Work
So you’ve made a mistake at work. We all have! Should you quit because you made a mistake at work? Not at all! Unless your new job mistake is so bad that it has affected the company’s reputation, making mistakes at a new job is common.
No one can tell you how to avoid mistakes at work or how to not make mistakes at work altogether. The workplace is a learning environment and mistakes are normal, even expected.
But if you feel that you keep making mistakes at work and want to know how to make fewer mistakes at work or how to get over a mistake at work, here are some tips that will help.
1. Own responsibility for your mistakes at work
The first thing to do when you make a mistake at work is to own responsibility for the mistake. If you need to do that in a conversation, you can just say “Sorry, my bad,” and move on.
2. Write a short apology note
If you need to apologize for making mistakes at work via email, you can include a short apology note by email. Send it out to all your co-workers who were affected by your mistake and mention that you will be more careful to avoid such mistakes in the future.
3. Ask for help
When you make mistakes at work because you’re new and did not know how to do something or don’t know the correct protocols, ask for help from a senior person to understand where you went wrong so you know how to avoid the same mistake again.
4. Learn how to fix your mistake
If your mistake is something that can be fixed, get the help or training you need to learn how to fix it. This will boost your self-confidence and teach you how to deal with mistakes at work in the future.
It’s not possible to learn how to stop making mistakes at work, but anyone can learn how to handle mistakes at work better and how to fix a mistake at work. Keep learning and growing and you’ll learn how to make fewer mistakes in the future.
Julie Petersen is a blogger and a writer at NinjaEssays.com. She shares her experience to help women avoid mistakes that can damage their career and success.