If you are in the minority at work, you may feel out of place. Solitary lunches and company un-invitations can be hazardous to your work morale, competence and confidence.
And let’s face it Chicks— you can’t rise to the top if you’re feeling down and out.
Video: Meet Crystal Windham, Director of Design GM North American Passenger Car Interiors
Crystal Windham Director of Design’s Best Advice by Zondra Hughes
Tips to Boost Your Confidence and Morale at Work
A healthy self-esteem lays a foundation for greatness. Loneliness may set in as you ascend the corporate ladder, especially if you’re in a male-dominated field, but you must not question your right to be there, advises Crystal. “Sometimes, women get caught up in why we’re there; know that you’re there because you are knowledgeable and you have talent.” And keep it moving.
Be professional and embrace your uniqueness. “You are unique, sell yourself. Your voice should be heard…your voice is very relevant,” says Crystal. “Sometimes we try to emulate the majority that’s around us; and that’s not necessary. Embrace diversity, embrace who you are; be yourself and be true to yourself. That’s what the corporation wants.”
Talk about your ambitions to others. “What job are you seeking? You have to talk about it, a lot,” advises Crystal. It’s a good idea to talk about the job you want because a potential mentor may be in your inner circle.
Observe the rules of effective mentorship. Crystal has five tips for connecting with a mentor: 1. “Do a lot of research to find the right mentor. Understand what the mentor does, and what he/she is about.” 2. “Be ready to sell yourself; validate yourself and your skill set so that there is some commonality between you and the mentor.” 3. “Be open-minded; your mentor may not be somebody who looks like you.” 4. “Be flexible with how many mentors you have; I advise that you have more than one mentor, you need that different perspective in different facets of your career as you grow.” 5. “Once you find that person, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or send an email to contact that person.”
Video: Crystal Windham talks inspiration
Find inspiration outside of work. When you love what you do, your best ideas may happen outside of the office. “When I watch sci-fi movies and really understand where technology can go…that inspires me,” Crystal shares. “When I think about interiors, I think about fashion; home furnishings; nature; and how all of that can be put together into one environment, set the mood for that environment, and create this unforgettable experience for our customers.”
When appointed to her position in 2008, Crystal Windham became the first African American female director in GM’s history; and she is recognized as one of Automotive News’ 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry.
Special thanks to Jocelyn K. Allen. Follow the conversation on Twitter @SixBrownChicks #ChicksofGM
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