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Studies show that women face more challenges in the workplace than men. Although many organizations are now calling for gender equality, some women are still not getting equal opportunities as men. So how do women navigate these challenges and stand out from their male counterparts? The key is professional development.
Here are some ways women can professionally develop in the workplace.
1. Develop Resilience and Self-Awareness
Given our fast-paced culture, we must work extremely hard to meet deadlines. However, this pace can often lead to burnout and stress. Navigating through the challenges in a fast-paced environment requires resiliency. It’s a key strategy helping women tackle stress, especially in a highly competitive industry.
Resiliency is when you can bounce back and thrive from any work challenges. Self-awareness can help you build resilience, allowing you to bounce back from any setback in your work. Once you understand your strength and acknowledge areas for improvement, you can adjust accordingly and acquire extra knowledge when necessary. It also helps you make positive decisions even in the middle of work challenges.
Stress is not the only thing that could test your resilience. However, your ability to handle stress indicates your ability to bounce back amid challenges. Resiliency is also essential in improving well-being. While it can’t drive away your problems, resiliency can help you see past work challenges, find enjoyment in life, and better handle stress.
2. Develop a Growth Mindset
Our abilities and mindset can significantly affect our work performance and everyday life. Yet not everyone takes the time to think about themselves and tend to make assumptions about their skills that are often negative. Developing a growth mindset means believing you can improve your skills through hard work, implementing the right strategies, and guidance from others. It also means embracing challenges and viewing failure not as a result of unintelligence but as an opportunity to learn and grow.
To develop a growth mindset, take time to reflect, acknowledge, and embrace your failures. Recognizing your areas of improvement is a stepping stone to cultivating a growth mindset. Keeping your weaknesses hidden will only prevent you from achieving success. Part of developing a growth mindset is embracing challenges and seeing them as a learning experience that you would not otherwise get. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is constantly fearing that you’ll make a mistake.
Fostering grit is also essential when developing a growth mindset. Grit is the ability to persevere through challenges to achieve a meaningful end goal. Holding on to grit will give you that internal push to move forward in achieving your goals. Always focus on your goals. Come up with clear and realistic goals. After ticking one goal, people with a growth mindset know they have several other goals waiting in line.
3. Develop Managing People Online Skills
Women should consider taking up online lessons to develop their personal and professional skills. It’s not enough that you have the expertise and technical skills to get your job done. Although these are incredibly important for professional development, you must take the next step to be good at managing people. For this, you need to develop an entirely different set of skills.
One of the skills essential to managing people is building relationships. Creating partnerships builds trust and helps to encourage people to share ideas to accomplish a common goal. Trust is important when it comes to establishing relationships with employees. Managers must show their employees that they have trust in them. Instead of micromanaging, managers should assign jobs, outline expected outcomes, and give space for questions. The goal is to make them know that you’re there should there be any issues.
Proper communication skills are essential to becoming a great manager and can be helpful during times of change or uncertainty. Great managers must be able to present ideas clearly and inspire others. With proper communication, leaders can highlight the importance of assigned tasks and discuss the next steps towards achieving the organization’s goals.
4. Develop Leadership Skills
Women should remain confident in their abilities to lead people by honing their leadership skills. Some women are naturally born leaders. However, anyone can become one by developing the skill set needed to be a good leader and advance their career.
A good leader should practice discipline. Developing discipline in your professional life is one of the keys to becoming an effective leader and inspiring others in the workplace to do the same. Another way to hone your leadership skills is to take on more responsibilities. You don’t need to take more than what you can handle, but you must do more than what is expected of you if you want to grow.
By stepping out of your comfort zone, you will learn something new. Eventually, company executives will notice you and think of you as someone who has initiative, which can pave your path to a leadership role.
5. Utilize Peer Feedback and Mentoring Programs
Women should utilize mentorship programs in the workplace as it’s an effective way to help them thrive and grow. Peer feedback and mentoring allow employees to take ownership of their professional development. Instead of feeling stagnant, employees will be encouraged to develop, thanks to their relationships with their mentors, who serve as their trustworthy resources from whom they can seek advice.
Mentors are employees with a higher level in the company and have unique skills and expertise they can share with others. Mentoring is one way to hone leadership skills, preparing employees for higher roles in the future. Mentorship should not be a one-way street. Communication should go both ways, allowing mentors to also learn from their mentees.
Peer feedback and mentoring programs support a learning culture in the workplace. It helps develop and improve professional relationships and facilitates collaborative learning and knowledge sharing among employees, resulting in well-rounded employees keen to develop their skills and improve their expertise.