Photo: Southworks, YFS Magazine, Adobe Stock

Women In the Workplace: Speak Up and the World Will Listen

The answer is always 'no' to any question we don’t ask. So why not try?

We live in a world where we can become anything we want — yet we still see a huge disparity in leadership roles held between men and women. Don’t get me wrong here, ladies. We’re doing a kick-ass job of getting in there and moving up. In 2021 alone, the number of women in senior management roles worldwide grew to 31%.

Photo: CJ Bachmann, CEO of 1SEO Digital Agency | Courtesy Photo
Photo: CJ Bachmann, CEO of 1SEO Digital Agency | Courtesy Photo

Even with that excellent news, we still have a long way to go. According to Fortune, there are approximately 23 women running Global 500 businesses — a mere 4.6% total. While this is an all-time high, women only make up 8.2% of CEOs at major corporations.


Why aren’t women negotiating more?

Reading articles about career growth for women in recent years is exciting but it also has me thinking and asking myself: Why are we still not pushing ourselves further and harder to take on roles we’re capable of crushing?

A 2019 Glassdoor survey suggests that 68% of men negotiate their salary, but only 45% of women do the same. A 2021 Randstad report confirms that nearly 60% of women still don’t even try to negotiate. This is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes you can make — and it’s even more critical for women who start low and soon realize the chances of catching up are slim to none.


It’s time to ask for what you deserve

The answer is always ‘no’ to any question we don’t ask. So why not try? What’s the harm in negotiating? Part of the problem is a woman’s perception of her role and what it takes to get there.

When men find success, they tend to have the mindset of: “I’m awesome, and contribute to my own success!” As far as women go, we tend to be more of the mindset of: “I know someone helped me get this far.”


Never downplay your success

Women tend to downplay success, talent, skill sets, and capabilities. I call it humility, but over the past ten years, I’ve learned that there is a price to pay for being too humble. You can single-handedly create a reality in which your success is not attributed to you at all. People start to believe your humble rants, and therefore, it wasn’t you who created those achievements and the excuse you provide is what everyone believes.


Why being ‘humble’ holds you back

The issue with being overly humble is this: your ability to get a promotion, land a new client, or take lead in a big project becomes limited. You downplayed yourself to the point that your peers and potential clients will begin to doubt your abilities.

Photo: Southworks, YFS Magazine, Adobe Stock
Photo: Southworks, YFS Magazine

It’s not their fault; you can’t blame others for not knowing or believing you’re capable. After all, you told them as much when you refused to take ownership of the hard work and efforts that led you to where you are today.


Don’t be afraid to own your success

How can you start to change this? First, you need to believe in yourself — no one will believe in you until you do.

  • Are you kicking ass and taking names?
  • Are you breaking down walls and getting shit done?

If the answer is yes, then keep on keeping on.

Most women don’t feel comfortable being their true selves in the workplace. They’re afraid to be labeled a bitch or to be judged. We censor our words and emotions and tell ourselves it’s better for those around us. The truth is, we’re afraid of not being taken seriously.


Speak up without the fear of rejection

If you don’t speak up, no one can listen. And if no one hears you, nothing changes. Speaking up doesn’t require confidence — it builds it. Speaking up only demands the courage to do so. When you ask for what you want, your chances of receiving it drastically increase.


What are your top 3 professional career goals?

Jot down three things you want from your professional career. Really think about three goals you want to crush along your career trajectory.

I’ll step up and be vulnerable. Here are my goals:

  1. Impact every single employee within my organization in a positive way.
  2. Grow our organization exponentially to benefit our employees and clients alike.
  3. Inspire the women in my organization to live up to their full potential without fear of being judged.

Of course, these aren’t the only goals I have in life. I want to retire and live on a mountain, near a lake in the woods. I want to travel across the world. I want to inspire young women and men to reach for their goals and not let society dictate what they’re capable of.

Most of all, I want to inspire women to live up to their full potential. So, I know I must speak up every single day. I must show them what it takes to be a leader and what’s expected of them — should they want to be in a similar role. I hope that you’ll join me and help those around you to find their confidence and their “inner boss.”


CJ Bachmann, CEO of 1SEO Digital Agency, is a tech-savvy thought leader, speaker, and digital marketer. Her years of experience have been instrumental in growing 1SEO into the digital marketing powerhouse it is today. Under CJ’s influence, 1SEO has become a top 1% Google Premier Partner with a team of over 100 employees representing all walks of life. CJ Bachmann is also the mind behind the leadership and businesswoman blog, SheHandlesIt, a thought-provoking forum diving into all topics from motherhood to running a multi-million dollar business, and co-host of In The Den, a popular business podcast on leadership and marketing.


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