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Lead Your Team Women in Business

Advice for Women Entrepreneurs: Sit Up Straight, Listen and Take a Compliment


It can be difficult to be a female business owner,especially in a male dominated industry. Gina-Lynne Smith, president of Value Place Franchise Services, which franchises the Value Place economy extended stay lodging concept, gives BusinessNewsDaily readers a few tips on how women can leverage their strengths to succeed in a male-dominated business.

Accept recognition for a job well done - Women's success — or lack thereof — in a male-dominated field is often a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Have you heard yourself saying “It was really nothing” or “I got lucky"?  Would you ever hear a man say those things?  Not likely.  Allow yourself to be recognized appropriately.  Next time you are recognized for a job well done, take credit where credit is due.  Say, "thank you” or “we could not have done this without your cooperation and support.” People will begin to understand your contribution and worth to the organization.

Be assertive and precise - Apply this concept in your posture, your writing and your choice of words.  Sit up straight with your arms and shoulders open. Smile confidently and hold your chin up.  Never say a word without looking someone right in the eye. Don’t use weak words.  Instead of “I think” or “I feel,” say “this may” or “it will” or “we have.”  Do not ramble. Determine your message and get it across using action verbs.

Stop talking and start listening - Women are exceptional listeners. Do not let that skill escape you in the boardroom. When you feel the need to overcompensate or to prove yourself, it will cause you to stop listening because you are using part of your brain to determine how to answer or comment to the topic at hand. Stop it!  Listen intently. Savor silence when necessary to determine your response. You will find your responses more succinct and your contribution more relevant.

"No More Mrs. Nice Guy" - Feel like you have been kicked to the curb by a male counterpart?  Don’t retaliate with a "no more Mrs. Nice Guy" response. You will unintentionally undermine yourself.  Be assertive; not aggressive. Have moral courage to address the situation at hand with passion without emotion. Trust those who have proven they can be trusted and don’t take losses personally. Learn from your errors and move onward, and more importantly, upward — whether that is in terms of the corporate ladder or your overall success.

View yourself as a leader - Women can have trouble seeing themselves as natural leaders . Much of that belief comes from our misunderstanding of what it means to be powerful. Powerful people demand respect, are aggressive and yell to get their way. Right?  Not always the case.  Some of our world’s most powerful leaders never acted in that way. You can be highly influential and yes, powerful, (don’t be afraid of this word) and still be kind.  Be fair, but firm. Be credible, but direct. Assertively and with grace, you can make your way to the top.