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How to be a boss, not bossed around: Advice from five female CEOs

Sometimes being confident in your abilities can be mistaken for arrogance. In an era where successful women are still being portrayed in a negative light in the media, it’s only natural that we are as unsure as ever on the best way to promote ourselves without stepping on others. Young women are following their dreams more than ever, entering sectors they never would have considered before and starting businesses that flourish. But often, the only thing holding you back is your own self-confidence, these tips from five female CEO’s will help you embrace your inner boss and empower yourself in the workplace in no time.

Fashion Gone Rogue Exclusive#1 Take the worst jobs.
This sounds like counter-productive advice,  but take the assignments and jobs that people want the least. Your colleagues might think that this makes you the lowest in the pecking order, but if you execute it well, put your own spin on it and take charge of the task it will end up making you look good. Angela Braly, CEO of Wellpoint, agrees “Be open to opportunity and take risks. In fact, take the worst, the messiest, the most challenging assignment you can find, and then take control.”

#2 Vocalise your success.
We’re ingrained with the idea that recognising our own achievements is akin to gloating. But if you’ve done a particularly good job, don’t leave it to chance to get your efforts recognised. Your bosses are often busy and unfortunately the praise won’t fall into your lap. Maggie Wilderotter, CEO of Frontier Communications, says “For a lot of women, they think the myth is true, that if they just do a good job and work hard, they’ll get recognized. That’s not the case.” So blow your own trumpet, explain what you thought you did well and how you’ve worked hard and never feel ashamed of being proud of yourself.

#3 Be well rounded.
It’s easy to obsess about your work life, especially if you’re in a career you enjoy or taking a path that could lead you to a dream job. But making sure you have a good work/life balance is essential to your overall work ethic. Sepi Asefnia, president of SEPI Engineering says, “If you are not a whole person––a happy and content person––then your career does not matter. Respect your personal life; take time for it and don’t feel that you are detracting from your efforts at work by doing so. The more joy you have in your private life, the better your performance will be at work.”

#4 Don’t go it alone.
Although the path towards promotion is usually a lonely one, bonding with your colleagues is a great way to ensure you work efficiently as a team. Don’t be shy if you think someone’s work is deserving of compliments, and make sure you’re vocal about how well you work together. Karen Dee, president and CEO of Third Fifth Bank says, “highlighting the team around you is a good way to highlight yourself.”

#5 Be happy where you are.
Ilene S. Gordon, CEO of Ingredion, says “I think it’s very important to build credibility and enjoy and learn from every position you have.” Sure, you’re excited for the future and maybe treating your current job as a stepping-stone, but realise it’s potential as a learning curve and don’t be transparent about the fact you’re treating this as the lower steps of a ladder.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Woman’s day.
Cover photo: YSL

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