Over the years, society has created “taboo” behaviors for women. Women are criticized for speaking up for what they want or need, not acting “ladylike” or showing off their talents.
The risk for women does not lie in exhibiting these behaviors. The real risk is allowing these artificially created “taboos” to mask your ability to see advancement opportunities. Embrace these three “taboos” this holiday season if you want to advance your career:
1. Say “no” or ask for help.
Being a team player can be a strength for women, but you do not have to be a team player all the time or everywhere. The holidays can be a busy and stressful time of year. If you have too much on your plate, say “no” or ask for help. Accepting and doing everything yourself does not make you a martyr. It makes you less likely to enjoy the holidays and more likely to be unpleasant towards colleagues, friends and family.
Saying “no” or asking for assistance at work or at home demonstrates your leadership ability to prioritize and delegate. Decreasing your workload and stress will help you to be in a more positive frame of mind.
2. Bring your A-game to the holiday party.
Many offices and companies host a holiday party. Go to it. This is not your chance to run an errand or do extra work. You will miss out on a prime opportunity to further the connection with your colleagues.
If you are an excellent cook and it’s potluck, bring your best dish to the holiday party. Just show up with your best recipe, and enjoy the party. Do not bring more than one item or offer to plan the event. Don’t feed the stereotypical notion that women are to be the office-party planners. If the party is in the evening and there is music, don’t be afraid to dance a little if you love to dance. (Although if your dancing is anything like Elaine Benes’ on Seinfield, you may want to skip this part.)
Do not be afraid to share with your colleagues your hidden talents. It can make it easier for others to see that they are working with a well-rounded professional and to connect with you on different levels.
3. Go to happy hour with your (male) boss.
Some women feel uncomfortable or that it is inappropriate to go for a drink with a male colleague or manager, thinking it might look like a date and send the wrong message. If you expressly communicate with your boss that you want to take advantage of the holiday spirit to speak with him about your career advancement in a less formal setting, a misunderstanding will be less likely.
Informal conversations can be powerful. An informal environment can relax both parties, making it easier to connect with others. Leverage this opportunity to deepen the relationship and rapport you have with someone who is critical to the forward trajectory of your career. And do this now so that you are ready to ask for what you want (e.g., a raise or promotion) in the New Year.
Women think about and care for others throughout the entire year, not just the holidays. While caring for the team can be a strength, do not let it hinder you from moving towards your career goals. While there is no “I” in “team,” there is a “me.” Remember to speak up about what you want and need and not be afraid to reveal your talents.
Originally appeared on Forbes.com.
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