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5 lessons to learn from successful women in the workplace

5 lessons to learn from successful women in the workplace

Written by Staff Writer

April 26, 2021

By Donna Rachelson, Founder and CEO of Branding & Marketing YOU


One of the most important things as women we can understand is what is holding us back from the ongoing success we deserve in the workplace. 

With the experience of being a woman in male-dominated environments for 27 years, I have published research, and have experienced some of SA’s top businesswomen. Thus, I will outline 5 lessons to learn from successful women in the workplace.


1. See business as a game

There is huge value in seeing business as a game – understanding that you win some and you lose some. Often as women we tend to focus more on meaning and purpose and tend to take things personally. When you adopt an attitude that business is just a ‘game’, business becomes far more fun, there is less emotional attachment and it becomes easier to take risks.


2. Don’t take it personally

Women tend to personalise work issues too much and internalise them. If someone does something untoward at work, don’t take it personally. Women need to stop taking people’s professional behaviour personally and start separating our professional and personal feelings. This requires practise! 


3. Don’t wait to get noticed

Women have been brought up to believe that it’s more polite to wait to be asked. Women wait to be asked out on a date, they wait to be invited to dance and they wait for someone to ask to marry them. This carries over to the workplace, where women wait to be noticed or to be asked and then they become increasingly frustrated. Women at work need to be open about their achievements. Practical ways of getting noticed include: updating superiors on progress, claiming work victories first and becoming more visible by packaging the value you have delivered through projects/initiatives/tasks.


4. ‘No’ doesn’t necessarily mean no! 

Women tend to take a ‘no’ answer at face value and take it as an attack on their personal abilities. To  a man a ‘no’ can be interpreted as ‘maybe’, ‘later’ and maybe even ‘no’ if all possibilities have been exhausted. This understanding can help women become more successful in the world of work. Take no as a relative term  and challenge the status quo to drive what needs to be achieved. 


5. Work your network

Women may not be leveraging the benefit of networking as much as men in the workplace. This is because finding the time to network, as well as develop narrow and deep networks, can be challenging. 

There are huge opportunities in leveraging broader and shallower networks  that can be called on for a variety of reasons. Successful women see networking both within their organisation and externally as a core to getting ahead – leveraging alliances and reaching out for support, help and assistance.


I hope these ideas help harness your potential, take centre stage and take your rightful leading role!





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