Magazine article Security Management

To Thine Own Self Be True

Magazine article Security Management

To Thine Own Self Be True

Article excerpt

We had a tradition in my grade school. The last few days of school, the "graduates" signed each other's autograph books. The usual messages were light and fun, such as 24-6-8, how did you ever graduate?" But I received one that was more serious. It didn't mean much then, but I realized its importance later in life. The message has stayed with me ever since. It went as follows: "To thy own self be true. ... Love, Mom."

The early 70s were a challenging time for young women entering the work force. Their college life in the late 60s was exciting and stressed independence. The business world that followed was quite different.

Dress for success meant dress like a man. To be accepted, promoted, and successful meant to conform. And many women did just that. It was then that my mother's words hit me; they nagged me, encouraged me, and convinced me that the atmosphere wasn't right.

Success in the business world--for women and for men--doesn't come because of what one wears or how one speaks; it comes from what is within. Individual character, strengths, beliefs, and instincts mold the successful manager. As much as we respect and admire individuals around us--women or men--we will never be them.

This is the key to a successful mentoring program. Part of the mentor's role is to guide an individual toward a greater understanding of his or her strengths and weaknesses.

Those of us who are in a position to assist new managers and professionals owe it to them to let them find their own solutions. Only by discovering their own talents will they grow.

Fortunately, women in today's work force are freer to be true to themselves. The characteristics that women have consistently brought to the workplace in the past 20-plus years increasingly are being accepted and supported. The number of awards programs in which companies publicly recognize the business contributions of individual women has increased over the years.

But is a new set of standards, a new set of rules for women to conform to, creeping into the workplace? And are women, not men, the source of these new rules?

I'm concerned that having progressed as far as we have, some women are now demanding conformance to a host of business, social, and economic issues that deny options to individual women. …

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