Not long ago a friend of mine, Olivia, had a temperamental boss who was the CEO of a very successful business. On her first day of work, she was warned that he was a beast to work for and that she should be tough with him. He had recently burned through a long string of female assistants who had, apparently, each run from his office screaming about unfairness before quitting. The most recent girl had lasted all of one month. Olivia decided instead to be patient with him and try to understand him, along with his idiosyncrasies.
It wasn’t long before she began to see the human being beneath his crusty exterior. One day when he ran out of the special Kleenex (the only kind he allowed) that she had ordered in bulk for him. He approached her desk and asked her if she had any more boxes, and she reached down for the nearest one. It was covered in purple flowers. He raised a disapproving eyebrow and sullenly headed back to his office with it. Rather than roll her eyes at his finicky behavior, Olivia immediately went online and ordered a handsome black slate tissue box cover to match his office furniture, and the next morning the purple flowers were disguised by a masculine shell. Soon the CEO asked her “Did you put something in my office this morning?” She smiled and answered “Yes I did. Is that okay?” He smirked a little and simply said “Nice.” A few days later, Olivia even heard him proudly teasing a peer about his girly tissue box, knowing his own was now the epitome of manliness. Soon, my friend became the only known recipient—ever—of a Christmas gift from the boss: a $500 spa package. Her co-workers were aghast.
Olivia is happily married with no romantic interest in her boss (who is also happily married), but she exercised a valuable skill that all women can possess if they are willing to learn: the ability to understand men. She is great at maximizing her femininity at work, and you can too with the list of tips below. This isn’t about seducing all your male co-workers; it’s about being true to your inborn abilities.
1: As stated above, learn to understand men. If you think they’re the filthy, chauvinistic, selfish, raw meat-eating cavemen that “modern” women say they are, you don’t understand them at all. Really try to think outside the feminist box here. Find the nobility, the bravery, the sensitivity in men around you and let them know you admire them for it.
2: Exercise empathy and compassion in your professional relationships. All men and women around you deserve your kindness, even (or especially) when they’re cranky curmudgeons. And you never know when you’ll need each other during a work crisis.
3: Play up the contrast between you and the males at work. Your feminine voice, charm, appearance, manner and even humor work miracles in lightening the mood at work. Being feminine also inspires chivalry, which can come in handy in many situations. But be careful about flirting too much (See #7).
4: Inspire and strengthen morale by encouraging others, noticing their contributions and giving praise, as well as passing news of their accomplishments on to supervisors and managers.
5: Display and stick to a strong work ethic. Show you are a woman of integrity and consistency.
6: Emphasize your role as nurturer and peacemaker. Be the one who helps calm disgruntled coworkers, who keeps a bottle of ibuprofen for those who suddenly need it, who listens to concerns and offers sympathy.
7: Leave personal issues at home. Stay professional and classy. You can nurture, empathize and encourage without telling everyone about the polyps in your uterus or your evil father-in-law.
8: You are valuable. Don’t be afraid to self-promote at work and ask for a raise. One reason men statistically get ahead in the workplace is they tend to be less afraid to list their accomplishments to the boss. Be one of the few women who can do this without a terrible ego.
9: Trust your feminine intuition. It really is a thing. Being female, you’re more perceptive to the needs of others, and this includes judging what customers or clients want.
10: Remember there is always room at the top. Many people forget this and claw at their co-workers in fierce competition. But there are so few good employees out there that are reliable, consistent, creative and able to get along with people that you’ll be a natural winner simply by doing your job well.
Success in the workplace isn’t all about competition. Women excel at teamwork, attention to detail, creativity, efficiency, public relations and conflict management. All these can be employed while emphasizing your skills as a feminine woman. In my book Fascinating Womanhood for the Timeless Woman I call that Feminine Power and, believe me, you have buckets of it.