Swimming with the Sharks - Patricia Golden Webb

Insights from Leaders
2 min readJun 3, 2021
Image from Unsplash by Gerald Schömbs

Throughout your career you will be faced with adversity; be it with adverse circumstances or adverse people. People can create difficult situations, in business we call these people Corporate Sharks.

Corporate sharks are usually those who aren’t intentionally against you, but only look out for themselves. If these people see an opportunity, they are not afraid to create roadblocks for those around them, or attack boundaries to get what they want.

It is important, especially as a woman, to learn how to be successful in the shark-infested waters of male-dominated corporate environments.

So, how does one defend themselves from such corporate sharks? There are a few ways to do so. One must build an iron cage, or ‘corporate armor’ to protect themselves. Such an iron cage is built with the following qualities:

- Authenticity — You must be comfortable with who you are and what you can bring to the table. Engage as your truest self.

- Competence and Confidence — It is important that you always show up confident and prepared with knowledge of your craft. Hone in on your strengths, and use them to perform at a high level. Hold yourself to a standard of excellence while also being willing to continue learning.

- Strategy — Always have a plan. Stick to your plan, while also considering contributions from others and have the capability to mold your plan accordingly for success.

- Owning Your Place at the Table — Speak up. It is not always easy, but it is critical to interject yourself into the discussion early with valuable insight.

- Establishing sound Relationships — Interpersonal skills are critical in the workplace. You never know when one of your relationships can save you from a shark.

- Collaborations with other Women — Support one another! As women in male-dominated fields, it is important for us to lift each other up. We are stronger together.

- Embracing Change — Don’t get stuck in the past. Be flexible and keep a positive attitude.

- Emotional Intelligence — Be self-aware and always stay composed. This will save you from potential emotional sabotage from a shark.

Do not allow yourself to bleed out at the hand of Corporate Sharks. If they cut you, quickly stop the bleeding through course correction and using these skills. Rise above by turning your wounds into wisdom.



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