CBS’s New Series, Reckless, Inspires Women to Be Bold at Work
All the excitement surrounding CBS’s new prime time phenomenon, Reckless, which begins with a pilot airing June 29, prompted the question, “How can a woman be reckless at work?” True, Reckless defense attorney, Jamie Sawyer might seem a bit reckless when she uses whatever means are at her disposal to attain the desired results in the courtroom, but is her behavior reckless?
Most of the time, when we think ‘reckless’ we think of the traditional definition…as in proceeding without caution, with carelessness, and heedless of the consequences. Honestly, most of us wish on a daily basis we could be reckless even if only for a few moments. Does anyone suddenly hear the song, “Take this job and shove it” playing in the background? But reckless means you are proceeding without regard for yourself or the affect your actions will have on others. At work, recklessness is Not Cool.
What we really crave when our inner child leans toward being reckless is to be BOLD, adventurous, creative or daring. All of those things take into account the consequences of an action and, often methodically, plan accordingly. They are not reckless in the true sense of the word, but they can create the same euphoria of letting part of ourselves run wild and free. Boldness means making a strong statement without unneccessary or unplanned repercussions.
Women especially benefit from being bold at work. You don’t have to be “in your face” at the office to get noticed in a positive way. Here are some ways to pacify your inner child and be noticed, but without ensuring career sabotage.
Dress Recklessly. Okay, maybe not recklessly, but definitely dress unpredictably. Adding a bit of pizazz to your wardrobe can be a great way to express yourself in a positive way. If you normally gravitate toward pantsuits, try showing a little leg instead in a trendy skirt. (Just don’t show too much!) Choose a turquoise dress or some accent pieces you would not normally select. Light up your face before you light up the boardroom or the courtroom with some Reckless Red lipstick a la Jamie Sawyer on Reckless. (CBS, Sundays)
Be Kind. Mama always said, “Kill them with kindness.” Mama was right! You don’t have to be a class A, Bi^%8h at the office to get noticed. Instead, be kind to your coworkers and subordinates. This does not negate being firm. Being firm and outlining expectations is an important part of working with people, however, being cruel or harsh are unneccessary. Even if your tendency is to bark orders at people—especially if that’s your tendency—a kinder way of delivering instructions or advice might get you further. Use the “please” and “thank you” that you learned in preschool. They are kind ways to demonstrate respect for people. Tell a coworker you appreciate how they assisted on a project or tell a subordinate that they did a job well. People will notice you and remember how you made them feel.
Lead. Television sometimes portrays leaders as reckless or ruthless, but true leaders are neither. A leader knows when to lead and when to allow others to lead, playing to their strengths and compensating for their weaknesses. A leader understands that rash or reckless behavior has consequences and calculates the cause and effect of various scenarios rather than reactively addressing challenges.
Step Up. Step up to the plate. Remember in high school or college when you understood that by raising your hand to answer the question without waiting to be called on, you received “brownie points” for responding? Stepping up at work can signal the same thing to your employer. Do what needs done before someone asks. Volunteer to compile and make the changes to the HR manual. Raise your hand and volunteer in the team meeting to lead the new sales initiative.
Stop Expecting to be Liked. Respected and liked do not mean the same thing. Not everyone is going to like you, so stop worrying if everyone at work “likes” you or not. Your desire to be liked can get in the way of saying or doing what needs to be done at work. Keeping an uproductive employee simply because you think that employee, or the others, will like you less doesn’t make for very good business strategy.
Speak up. When you have ideas on how to make something run more smoothly or net greater returns at the office, speak up. Whereas men tend to have a greater willingness to try something to see if it works, women often wait for more data before suggesting a fix to a problem or sharing their observations. People who speak up are seen as leaders by others.
Share. Share your successes with others. This doesn’t mean bragging about your latest hook up at the bar. Talk about your successes or failures at work and how you overcame them. Sharing your successes enables you to shine and helps others to do their jobs more effectively, creating a more successful team and work environment.
Ask for what you need. Don’t assume the answer will be “no.” If you believe that you will increase the company’s bottom line (and possibly your income potential) by becoming more proficient with your new sales program, ask for the additional training to get you there. If the computer at your desk is ten years old and functioning like the dinosaur it is, leading to several crashes per month, it behooves you to mention it to your supervisor. Do not assume that he or she remembers when your workstation was purchased or even that its malfunctions are creating glitches in your otherwise excellent productivity. Education and tools with which you can attack your workload more easily or more productively will make both of you look good.
Say “No.” You should never become a doormat at work, or anywhere else for that matter. Saying “no” allows you to express your individuality and feel a little bold. Instead of apologetically making excuses for not staying late tonight, just say “no.” When a coworker asks you to go out for drinks after work and you really are tired from a long week, feel free to say, “No thanks. I am staying in to watch movies on my couch.”
Be Confident. Nothing contributes to bold behaviors as much as self-confidence. You are in the driver’s seat of your life. Life, whether at work, at home, or at play, comes down to choices. Choose not to let worry over your future or regrets about your past creep erode your confidence. Arm yourself for those weaker moments when negative thoughts pop into you head. Create a list of all the positive attributes you bring to work and to your personal life. Learn from your mistakes. Embracing what you learned in a negative experience helps prepare you to manage the situation if it arises again. Try something new just to prove you can do it. Your increasing self-confidence will fuel your ability to act more boldly, more creatively and more daringly.
More than anything, bold is a state of mind. Being bold means acting confidently, passionately, creatively and caringly. If being bold leads to a feeling of euphoric, reckless abandon. So be it.
Photo: Jackson Lee Davis/ CBS Broadcasting, Inc.17