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Politics of Work: 3 Simple Ways Men & Women Can Get Passed It

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A quick Google search on the general topic of “the success of women in today’s workplace” turns up no less than 226,000,000 results. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Many of these articles quote statistics from surveys and studies done on the progress of women – and too often these tend to assume a dire tone, pointing out how slowly gender bias is improving, and noting the remaining presence of a glass ceiling, a significant pay gap, and documenting that women are exiting the workplace at greater numbers than their male colleagues.   

All this is important and enlightening but perhaps not all that helpful as a way of effecting change. In a very practical article printed in Harvard Business Review in mid-December, Kathryn Heath provides action steps regarding her topic, “Three Simple Ways for Women to rethink Office Politics and Wield Mo re Influence at Work.” 

Heath emphasizes the linguistic message we have all heard regarding the differences in male/female communication style. Men, she writes, tend to talk about competition at work, using language like “tools,” ”winning,”   and “achieving results.” Women, on the other hand, describe their workplace environment using words like “influencing,” “ideas” and “shaping agendas.” But the difference is deeper than the words – the difference is how men and women see their environment and how they approach the politics of work. She offers three steps to help get passed this: 

  1. Know who you need to influence

  2. Add to your network of mentors and sponsors to include others in your industry who are close to you and appreciate your skills and contributions (these are called “agents”) while also seeking out those who can be trusted to tell you the truth and give you honest feedback.

  3. Think bigger. Women need to push themselves a little harder to follow big, bold ideas – aiming higher. 

This author truly has shared some key suggestions that can help everyone move forward on accomplishing their goals.  

Click here for Kathryn Heath's full article.