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How to be a successful woman in the workplace

Schneider female associates gather in the company's corporate office.

When people think of the transportation industry or truck driving, they often imagine a man. He probably has a beard, a trucker cap and is wearing weathered boots. The transportation industry, like many industries, has been predominately led and operated by men throughout history.

Many companies, like Schneider, are working to change what was once considered ‘the norm’ by encouraging women to become empowered leaders in the workforce.

I hosted a round table with our female leaders (pictured above) from Schneider Transportation Management’s division to discuss their tips on how to be a successful woman in the workplace, especially for females who are in male-dominated industries.

STM has women leaders in many different roles - from our Senior Vice President to Business Analysts to our Sales and Operations teams and more.

11 pieces of career advice for women

1. Be your authentic self

You are you for a reason! Find your authentic leading style and your voice. This will allow you to build a strong team by growing productive relationships based on trust.

2. Look past the hysteria

When things go wrong, we initially panic. Biologically, this is how our brains are set up (if you don’t believe me, read “Emotional Intelligence 2.0”). Try to take the emotion out - before reacting or making snap decisions when an issue arises, gather all the information you can from all parties involved.

This will allow you to make sound decisions.

3. Have crucial conversations

Don’t avoid tough talks. Practice your crucial conversations – whether at work, school, or in your personal life, crucial conversations will never go away, no matter where you are in life.

Many first-time leaders struggle with this – you aren’t alone! It takes time and practice.

4. Get out of your office

Step out of your four walls, tour other buildings, network with other divisions - you may find your next passion or career home.

Job shadows, ride-alongs and providing exposure to different areas of the business are critical when learning more about your organization and where you want to go next.

5. Just go for it

Go for the promotion: prepare yourself and tell them why you are the best candidate. Don’t worry if you’re good enough or if you have every single qualification – just go for it!

If for some reason, you aren’t selected, use the interview as a learning experience and capitalize on the feedback provided to help yourself grow.

6. Accept that you will fail

For many, it can be difficult to accept failure for the first time in a workplace setting. However, a true leader is someone who doesn’t give up when things get tough or they fail.

7. Network

Grow your brand! Though the saying, ‘it’s not always about what you know, but who you know’ can be cliché, it’s often true.

Talk with other leaders and people in your organization. You will learn so much from them and you never know when your paths will cross again.

8. Highlight other’s successes

Use the power of third-party endorsement. Speak highly of others publicly, to not only better leverage their talents and skills in the business, but to also grow trust among your team.

9. Stand up for what you believe in

It’s important to stay true to your core self. If something doesn’t feel right, speak up. You will feel good when you go home knowing you tried to do what was right.

10. Be brave

There will be opportunities to put yourself out there. You only grow and learn when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

11. Remember your priorities

We hear the word “balance” a lot: work-life balance, balanced diet, etc. To excel at life, it is crucial to remember your priorities.

And priorities are different for everyone, so decide what yours are now.

Want to work for a company with strong female leaders?

Schneider has its very own group – called the Schneider Women’s Network – to give women the resources and support they need to be great leaders. Learn more about the group and consider applying for a job at Schneider.

About the author
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Kara is a Brokerage Operations Manager at Schneider. She joined the organization in May 2014 and loves the energetic and dynamic atmosphere in her office. Outside of work, Kara loves to hike and travel with her family.

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