How to dress for success

These days, there are no hard and fast rules for choosing office wear. There was a time when women had to wear stockings, even in the height of summer, with no bare legs. It used to be mandatory for men to wear a jacket whenever they left the office building for lunch.

However, what you wear still holds a lot of importance, despite the fact that business attire has become much more relaxed over time. Whether you are going for an interview or are already an employee somewhere, you have to pay attention to what you are wearing.  Observing the correct professional dress code during an interview is the first step but after then, adhering to the organizational dress culture afterwards will help you be successful in your career in the longer term.

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So what should you choose?

For an interview

First, find out what the dress code is. Now make an effort to look even better. But make sure you don’t over-dress so that you feel uncomfortable or awkward. If you arrive over-dressed in a casual environment then could jeopardise you chances of selection. In this case, wear something smart; e.g. men should go for a decent pair of trousers and open neck shirt. Ladies should choosefor a nice skirt and top. It’s always better to avoid denim and t-shirts.

For the office

A wardrobe full of expensive clothes is not always possible to begin with. If you have just entered the corporate world, start from scratch and build up your wardrobe gradually , choosing good quality basics and classic attire.  If you have limited funds or time, start with a small, capsule wardrobe instead.

  • Do not pick clothes solely on the basis of fashion – select classic that will last.
  • Look out for bargains. There are many shops which offer great clothes at lower prices. Do your research before shopping and always check the good brands, since they often hold sales. Also, read instructions for washing before buying to make sure they are not too costly to maintain.
  • Girls may smarten up with scarves, a little bit of jewellery and an embellished top. Men can achieve a professional look for less by wearing good quailty ties with less expensive shirts.
  • If your clothes do not fit properly, they can look cheap. So always invest in alterations.
  • Go for natural fabrics such as wool, cotton, linen and silk and not man-made fabrics. Avoid polyester.
  • Choose dresses which can be worn in different seasons.

You need to put effort in other things as well as good clothing. Women should choose  ‘moderate’ shoes without overly-long, spiky heels. Jewellery should not be over the top. Hair should be neat and tidy and you should never look as if you are on your way to a party. Wear make-up and perfume but keep it restrained and always have manicured nails.

Men should go for dark socks, decent, polished shoes, a well-groomed hairstyle, mild aftershave and clean, trimmed nails.

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Healthy Conflict at Work

resolving conflict at workAvoiding conflict at work is not always a good idea, and it could even damage your career. Many career experts seem to agree on this point.

People who say ‘’yes’’ to everything are not always the best kind of colleague. Managers believe that such passive employees kill productivity, innovation and creativity. Workplace cultures normally do not welcome personality traits such as unhappiness or anger, nor people who love to spread gossip. But workers who challenge the status quo are always good to have around to keep things fresh in the workplace.

When conflict is healthy, it sparks competition, drives innovation and facilitates change. A culture where individuals regularly challenge the norm helps everyone get ahead in their careers.

So when can one have conflict and be justified?

A healthy debate:

Suppose, you do not agree when someone has recommended something. First see if you’re in a position to disagree with them. If you are, then make sure your argument has logic. Also listen to what other people are saying; listen to them and the pros and cons of thier point of view. In response, you can then present how you think about things. This whole situation then turns into a healthy debate, which is good for business.

Prevention of major quarrels:

It’s not appropriate to stick stubbornly to your argument when the other party is also not flexible enough to change theirs. It’s extremely important that a solution is found and the conflict managed in the right way without any quarrels. So just take a step back and see if you could be in the wrong and think about the differences you have with the other party. Do so before it’s too late and before they take more aggressive steps against you.

To strengthen collaboration:

When you challenge people’s thoughts and ideas, you should explore what they think and why, as well as why they act the way they do. If you can overcome the difficulty via a valuable discussion, you can strengthen the working relationship, along with presenting a solution for the project or task in hand. So you need to pro-actively manage the disagreement. A team which successfully resolves disagreements and disparity can actually become more productive and stronger than before.

Providing opportunities:

It’s rare for one individual to have all the answers. In business, it’s not possible for one employee to foresee all the challenges and issues that the organisation will encounter. Conflict helps mitigate against the drawbacks and to work towards the right solution. The whole process is very effective for one’s growth  too, as one develops new opinions, thoughts and ideas.

Do not fear conflict

Accept the fact that conflict is a normal part of the working day. Respect to other people’s feelings and thoughts. Control your emotions and maintain professionalism. Concentrate on the facts while you present your argument and  give full recognition to other people’s contributions and opinions. Watch your words and body language too.