5 Top Mistakes Women in The Workplace Can Avoid
Of course you know better than to treat the work holiday party like a scene from “Bad Moms 2” or “Girls Trip.”And as the year closes out, you likely don’t need any more reminders that the workplace culture is thankfully getting a clearing out and cleaning up of bad behavior. That is because many have been behaving badly— particularly in the treatment of women.A recent First Round Capital study of 869 tech startup founders, found that 78 percent of female founders said they’ve been or know someone who’s been sexually harassed.[bctt tweet=“78% of female tech startup founders said they’ve been or know someone who’s been #sexuallyharassed” username=“takeleadwomen”]The awareness is in part thanks to the efforts of #MeToo and the ensuing screaming wake up call about zero tolerance—in most places—for harassment and unprofessional tactics and practices at work. For everybody. On all issues. We are witnessing a cultural cleanse of the workplace. And this is a good thing.But the less egregious errors any of us can make can still possibly tarnish a career and professional image, particularly as a woman in the workplace.Not that you need to be perfect all the time, but from early career up to the C suite, women in leadership can for sure avoid these hacks on your upward mobility. So take a gander at these, and make a pledge to avoid making these errors in the new year and beyond.Be unresponsive. There is a happy medium between being someone who responds to an email within 30 seconds—how odd you weren’t busy doing your work—— and someone who never seems to respond within a timely period. If it is not urgent, 24 hours is a good goal for a response. Longer on the weekends and breaks. You never want to hear someone say, “She never answers emails or texts.” Soon they will stop asking for your input and then you are through.“A paper from researchers at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering found that the most common email response time is two minutes. Half of responders in this study responded in just under an hour. About 90 percent of people who were going to respond did so within a day or two,” according to Fast Company. Avoid social contact. You may not want to have everyone gather at your desk for coffee each morning and stop by throughout the day for a gossip break. If that is the case you will be seen as the social chairperson and not the talented team member or leader. You may at times really need to skip the group outing at lunch to the new BBQ place up the street, but you do not want to stay at your desk every day from the opening bell to lights out without any small talk.In a new study from the Pew Research Center, 87 percent of the respondents say men and women express their feelings differently. That leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation. What you see as industriousness, others may see as a signal of aggressive disdain. So occasionally join in the impromptu karaoke battle at the office so everyone considers you a team player.[bctt tweet=“87% of respondents in a study say men and women express their feelings differently #womenintheworkplace” username=“takeleadwomen”]Be completely disorganized. Years ago I worked with someone at a large daily newspaper who kept piles of newspapers, papers, files and notes surrounding his desk from the floor to about waist high. This kind of chaos does not inspire confidence in your leadership or organizational abilities. You do not have to use spray cleaner on your work space every night before leaving, but you do want to have a semblance of order.“Keep your work area bright and uncluttered to ensure it’s a productive environment – a tidy house is a tidy mind. Everything in our design space is always filed away immaculately at the end of every month, because if there’s clutter you can’t be productive,” Kelly Hoppen of Dragon’s Den tells The Guardian.Bring drama to work. Yes, I have gone into the bathroom to cry at work. More than a few times at a few different jobs. But you have to separate work and life during work hours. No fighting with your roommate, family, children, significant others or friends on the phone, by text or in any form that is visible during work hours. Unless there is a serious problem that your manager or team needs to know—you are being stalked, harassed or fear for your safety in some way—keep it calm. There is no Take Your Drama To Work Day for a reason. Maybe that’s why “2 Broke Girls,” was cancelled.[bctt tweet=“You have to separate work and life during work hours #WorkplaceTips” username=“takeleadwomen”]Not learning from your mistakes. Maybe it’s a tad redundant to include a mistake about making mistakes, but you have to honestly look at your own track record to see how to avoid similar bumps— that you have created or contributed to along your career path. “Know Your History,” is No. 1 of the 9 Leadership Power Tools for a reason. Be honest with yourself and “you can create the future of your choice,” says Gloria Feldt, co-founder and president of Take The Lead.You know of course to never do anything illegal or immoral at work, because those are mistakes that will get your fired or worse. Still, keep in mind it is wise to avoid these missteps so your climb up the ladder goes as well as possible.Like what you see? Sign up for more and receive the Take The Lead newsletter every week.