Despite the growing number of related conference and networking events, the growing number of books written on the subject, and the millions of dollars spent on women’s leadership efforts, it is not yet clear if, as a whole, we are doing enough to prepare the next generation of women to lead. Women, however, can take control over their careers by developing key skills that can be used right now to help them succeed in their careers. Here are some essential business skills that will help women kick-start their success and succeed regardless of their ventures!
It is a well-known fact that in order to succeed in your business, you need to learn the art of influence and persuasion. In the past, being a ‘salesman’ had a misconception of being a man’s job due to the alpha facade and tendencies involved in order to seal the deal. In other words, salesmen are people that need to take charge. Moving into today’s world, more and more women are taking up these roles and discovering that they can lead the charge just as well. Influencing and persuading people have gone from being considered “soft skills” to “essential skills” for women in today’s ultra-competitive world. Granted, it is a skill that requires a lot of practice, dedication and focus to master, it is what will determine how successful you will be, and no other trait comes close to matching its precedence. All the networking in the world would be utterly useless if you’re not able to convince people why they need your products and services.
And yes, almost every aspect of any business involves some sort of selling, from convincing employees about new ideas to changing the minds of potential partners on why working with you would add mega value to their businesses. Understanding the art of selling and being a great listener will make you a much smarter and more effective negotiator.
Although networking alone will not necessarily result in sales, social networks can offer huge value. This is the premise behind social capital and refers to the collective value of social networks and the inclinations that make them do things for each other. Don’t take it the wrong way though – this is not about friending people on Facebook, but rather getting a wide variety of specific benefits that come about as a result of the trust, reciprocity, information and cooperation enabled by today’s relevant social networks.
Although this is one of the hardest skills to master, it is a very critical and often overlooked element of what it takes to be a great leader. Social capital creates values for those involved in the networks and even for those just standing outside of it.
Women who aspire to be leaders in their business need to appreciate the fact that they should stop worrying about leading the way men do. Women have attitudinal and behavioral differences that impact the way they communicate, make decisions, and understand one-another. By understanding these qualities, women are able to be more productive and leverage the strengths of both men and women.
And don’t think that these are just simple generalities. There’s a proper name for it: Gender Intelligence. It is used to better understand gender-related tendencies that will enable us to engage more effectively in the workplace and within many other areas of life.
The above skills all involve learning how to work with people to develop the skills women need to get ahead in their careers. It’s true that there is no real shortcut to learning these skills. They are traits that require tons of practice and refinement… And then even more practice and refinement after the fact. Make no mistake, however, despite the initial road bumps, honing these skillsets will indeed have a profound effect on not only your professional endeavors, but also your personal growth.
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