The Career Woman’s Guide to Classy Professionalism

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As a woman, you have the ability to be influential in any environment in which you spend a great deal of your time, particularly, the workplace. When you think of a “career woman,” what comes to mind? Is she bossy? Belittling? Demanding? Untrustworthy? Cold and uncaring? Then again, maybe she is known to use her appearance to advance in her career over her intellect and work ethic.

Sadly, these are just a few characteristics that come to mind when it comes to the ways most women typically default to in order to “be powerful” in a man’s world. Well, the good news is that you can still be a classy professional who is influential, strong, persuasive, and an asset to the corporation you work for or the company you own—without compromising your values and true self.

Men and women, of course, are created differently, but it does not mean one is “stronger” or more “powerful” than the other just because of the differences in physical makeup. Each is strong in different ways, and these strengths are meant to be celebrated, nurtured and given platforms to grow. They are not to be stifled, suppressed or manipulated in some way for the sake of a paycheck and job security. Here is a picture of what a powerful woman should aspire to:

A powerful career woman is confident and secure in who she is. She does not give in to office politics and peer pressure, and is not afraid to dress in appropriately feminine ways. She does not get jealous of others’ accomplishments and try to steal recognition. She thinks about what she says and how she says something before necessary confrontation.

She also chooses to be helpful, even to people she does not naturally click with or even like. She shares ideas because she understands that success is a team effort. She also seeks ways to do her job more efficiently and does not abuse company time and resources.

Most importantly, a powerful career woman is one who makes an effort to use her influence, platform, paycheck and resources to empower others. When you think about it, people are generally more motivated by encouragement than criticism. In fact, some of the strongest people are the ones who need the most encouragement and praise. This is dramatically different than how our culture typically operates. Most assessments focus on the things you do wrong rather than the ones you do right. But, as a powerful woman, you have the opportunity to be part of the solution.

So, as you reflect on your career goals, current position and sphere of influence, take time to consider your true strengths and how to make a truly lasting, positive impact. You now officially have permission to be the powerful woman you are—in all of your glory—without fear or worry that you will not be respected or given opportunities to which you are entitled. You never know what doors will be available to you in your future as a result of the way you steward the opportunities and professional relationships you have now.