When you move up the career ladder quickly, it may feel like you haven’t earned the respect of your coworkers and peers. We posed this question to find our how you can make an impact as a young professional.
I’m one of the youngest managers/vp/executive in my office. What steps can I take to command more of a presence and be viewed as the professional I am?
To give you expert answers we contacted 5 women from different market segments.
The easy part is over. You have already dazzled upper management with your work ethic and professionalism to be rewarded with a manger/vp/executive title. Now how do you get the rest of the office to respect you as an authority even though you are one of the youngest in the office?
Confidence has a big role in a situation like this. You must reflect a confident aura. Co-workers can sense intimidation and a lack of confidence and they will eat you alive. Upper management believes you are the best for the job; otherwise they would not have promoted you. Show the rest of the office that same certainty that yes I can do this job and do it well.
There really is no secret to being a good manager and having the respect of your co-workers. Co-workers respect a manager who is loyal, trustworthy, easy-to-talk-to, confident and one that manages by allowing coworkers to do their job without micromanaging. Most importantly you can guarantee your own success when you take the time to learn their jobs and to understand the frustrations and challenges that your workers face on a daily basis, on certain projects, with management policies or working alongside difficult peers. Co-workers want the security of knowing that their manager is on their team and will go to bat for them in a time of need. This is how you gain the trust and loyalty of your co-workers. If you can achieve this reputation, they won’t look at you as someone who is young and naïve but as a great manager who wants the people around her to succeed!
Amanda is the co-founder of bizMe.biz, an online magazine that is the bizgal’s career coach—guiding and mentoring the young professional as she gains her career savvy, budgets her paycheck, and acquires her lifestyle. It’s like having the honest, real-world advice from a trusted professor and the encouraging support of a best friend all packaged together in articles that reflect a “just like you and me” conversation. Please visit www.bizme.biz or @bizmebizgal on twitter.
Be yourself- says Lara Dalch. You were hired not only for your experience and skills but also for your unique approach to your business. Your perspective can only come from you. Make sure you share it confidently.
Treat your superiors with respect, but don’t forget that they’re just people. If you interact with them from a place of authenticity and confidence instead of blind deference (be careful not to come across as arrogant though!), they will respect you as well.
Give your direct reports a chance to add value to the business and actively mentor them. If you do it sincerely and honestly, they’ll become your internal cheerleaders – a great way to gain visibility in the office.
Play politics. If you’re like me, you hate this one; but it’s unavoidable. So try to figure out what the “political currency” is in your particular office/industry and find a way to use it to your advantage. For example, if people tend to get recognized not only for their measurable contributions to the business but also for their presence at client or office events, make an effort to be at every event, even if you don’t stick around for all of it.
Lara Dalch is Chief Brand Matchmaker at Dalch Marketing Partners, a New York-based boutique agency specializing in integrated marketing and brand partnerships. She is also a Certified Pilates Instructor and spends much of her time perfecting the art of efficient wardrobe changes as she moves seamlessly between Pilates studio and business meetings with clients.
In her past life, Lara was Head of Brand Development/Promotions at Classic Media, where she created promotional campaigns and partnerships for famous brands such as The Lone Ranger, Where’s Waldo?, Underdog, and Lassie. Prior to joining Classic Media, she was Director of Promotions Marketing for Cartoon Network & Adult Swim; and held various roles in marketing and promotions for Comedy Central and Wizards of the Coast (now a division of Hasbro).
According to J.T. O’Donnell, founder of Careerealism.com, Getting respect is about speaking the language of those who can give it to you. Get to know the players in your office on a more personal level. If you haven’t already, start reading up on generational differences in the workplace. In particular, study how the older generations of workers (Baby Boomers, Gen X) define things like, “Loyalty” “Hard-work” and “Professionalism.” Their definitions are often very different than a younger employee’s (Gen Y). The important thing to keep in mind that nobody’s definitions are right or wrong, BUT, failing to respect what others value can cost you the respect of those who can help you in your career. The most successful young professionals today are learning how to ‘manage up’ by embracing the differences of their older counterparts.
Natalie Goel and the team at Shop It To Me, an online personal shopping service, has a perspective we really appreciate.
Even before you open your mouth, the first thing anyone notices about you is the way you dress. It’s no coincidence senior managers look like a million bucks even when they aren’t earning it. You’ve heard about the elevator speech – don’t forget about the elevator look as well! Random run-ins can still make a strong impression.
First and foremost, stick to the old adage “dress for the position you want.” No matter the function, veer on the side of formality when it comes to your professional attire.
And don’t forget about fit. As you move up the ranks, make your tailor your best friend. Hemlines and seams can easily be altered to make a so-so suit look spectacular.
Time is money, and you can save both by shopping online. Not only do online retailers often offer a wider selection than brick and mortar stores, there are also some amazing designer deals to be had! So log on and start shopping — an investment in your wardrobe is an investment in your career
Shop It To Me is a free online personal shopping service. We proactively send you clothing that matches your size and brand preferences as soon as it goes on sale. We have relationships with more than 100 retailers and offer 700+ women’s brands. Our service is great for men and kids too!
Abby Kohut said, It’s an interesting topic that I have had to deal with personally, not because I was young, but because I look young. I’m in my early 40’s but when you look at me, you probably guess that I’m in my 30’s at most. In jeans and a sweater, I have even been accused of being a college kid.
My advice for people who look young or are young is the same.
Dress to impress. I learned a long time ago that if you want to be the Vice President, you need to dress like one. There are different levels of suits and once you figure out what they are, you need to buy the better ones. In other words, dress a level above where you are. It helps to create an impression that you’re already there.
You also need to speak professionally and avoid slang. This is easier said than done if you are a light-hearted person who has a dry sense of humor. But, there are times to be cute and times to be professional. The more professional you sound and the more confident that you appear, the more the corporate world will respect what you say. And, keep your workspace neat as well. It will only help your professional image.
And last but also very important…be careful of the pictures you post on your social media sites and the things that you say. You never know who’s going to be checking you out.
Abby Kohut , President and Staffing Consultant, Staffing Symphony, LLC
Her websites include www.AbsolutelyAbby.com and www.CareerWakeUpCalls.com
You can also connect with Abby on twitter @Absolutely_Abby and you can also purchase her newly published book 101 JOb Search Secrets.
We here at Workchic want to thank all these ladies for sharing there expert advice on commanding a presence as a young professional. We hope these tips help you to grow your career.