It is hard to specifically identify the exact critical factors for success in the workplace. All workplaces are different and one must have the ability to understand the culture and the keys to success in each particular business. I firmly believe most women need to find what works for them—there is no magic formula as many hope for! My general guidelines for success areto set achievable goals, improve your interpersonal skills, and conduct yourself with the highest level of integrity and professionalism.

You must identify realistic, achievable goals and expand them as you achieve your short terms goals. When you run a marathon the first time, you start by running shorter distances and, with success, you run farther and farther. You should manage your career the same way. Know what it takes to be that successful runner and be sureyou don’t just “check the squares;” you have to do the work. You must excel in your current position, volunteer to performspecial projects outside of your current position, and be willing to consider jobs that were not in your planned career path. Bottom line: knowledge, ability, and hard work generate the respect of your staff and your leaders, resulting in that next promotion.

Good interpersonal skills are absolutely crucial to achieving senior level positions. There are many highly capable people in the workplace who don’t work well with others or are not comfortable with leading. You must find the right balance between being too tough versus too benevolent. The first will de-motivate employees, and the latter will prevent getting desired results; both are career ending. Treat people with dignity regardless of the situation. Do not lose your temper, use foul language, or share an employee’s shortcomings with subordinates. Bottom line: hold employees accountable, but do it with respect.

Don’t become “one of the boys or girls.” I’m not saying you can’t have fun, but keep your work life separate from your personal life. Managers live in a fishbowl. Everything you do in the workplace, and even to some extent in your personal life, is watched and judged by others—managers, employees, and customers. Bottom line: hold yourself to the highest standard, dress professionally, and always follow the company ethics and rules. Good Luck!