WiRE Seminar by Leslie Shiner: “Thriving in Business as a Woman”

Posted by Cheryl Savit, Savvy Words, EM NARI PR Committee

“Women need to work hard to earn respect, but once they have it, they keep it,” says business consultant and author Leslie Shiner. “Men may earn respect more easily, but they also lose it more easily.”

Shiner led an entertaining and informative session for EM NARI’s most recent WiRE event, held before the June dinner meeting. Founder of The Shiner Group, a company that advises on financial management in the construction industry, Leslie Shiner also writes a column for JLC Magazine and Remodeling, in addition to her many speaking gigs.

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The main points of her presentation covered:

  • Gaining the respect of clients, co-workers, vendors, and business associates
  • Discovering better ways to deal with frustrations
  • Recognizing the Imposter Syndrome
  • Discovering a healthier way to handle mistakes
  • Learning how to set and manage boundaries and expectations

Shiner also said that women need to think more about the outcome before they react. “Ask yourself what you want to accomplish,” she advised. Let that dictate your behavior. Shiner explained that although showing emotion and letting off steam might make you feel better temporarily, in the long run it might be worse if it doesn’t get you what you want.

Another example is that women often fight “one-sided battles” because we focus on something we think is important that a man doesn’t even consider. She recommended being aware of this and choosing battles wisely. Women do not have to “fix” everything for everyone in the office.

“Stop apologizing,” Shiner admonished the group. Women often apologize unnecessarily. And when someone apologizes to us, we are quick to minimize the damage by saying, “That’s OK,” even when it is not. Shiner advises saying “I appreciate that [apology]” instead.

She also says that women do not have to answer immediately. We can give ourselves time by saying “Let me research that and get back to you” rather than “I don’t know” or making something up that might not be true. Men often play by the “fake it ‘til you make it rule” and figure out the answer later.

Imposter Syndrome and the Dunning-Kruger Effect

Shiner pointed out that women often underestimate what they think they know. In 1978, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes coined the phrase the “Imposter Syndrome” referring to high achieving people who are afraid of being exposed as frauds. They believe their success is due to luck, timing or something other than their diligence. High achieving women are especially inclined to experience Imposter Syndrome and feel they need to work twice as hard as men to “deserve” their success. The opposite of this is the Dunning-Kruger Effect where people tend to overestimate their abilities.

Shiner provided a few other tips for succeeding as women:

  • Dress professionally but not necessarily how a man dresses (polo shirts)
  • Move past mistakes
  • Don’t be the Debbie downer or office gossip – be positive and stay away from the negative folks
  • Control alcohol intake in social business settings
  • Do not undervalue your services (be mindful of what you bring to the table and set rates or ask for salary accordingly)
  • Set boundaries – what behavior crosses the line for you? Make sure it is known – nicely – and stick to it

To thrive in the remodeling business as a woman, Shiner reminded us:

  • Focus on building and maintaining respect
  • Be professional
  • Always ask: ‘What outcome do I want?’
  • Treat others the way you wish to be treated

For the full presentation please click here.

For more information about Leslie Shiner, contact her at lshiner@shinergroup.com. The Shiner Group, Mill Valley, CA. Follow her on Twitter @TheShinerGroup and on Facebook @TheShinerGroup

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