The value of engaging and communicating well is of paramount importance for women in the workplace. Yet, we often forget its significance.

When I was a new mom feeling overwhelmed with trying to balance work and life, I was embarrassed to ask my CEO for help. As a managing partner, my life and job requires solid, effective time management. But I only wanted to communicate the positives with my boss – to me, speaking about my challenges equated to failure.

Having that honest talk with her was one of my toughest – and one of my best – professional decisions. After I was done, I realized it takes courage to communicate your feelings. The lesser option is to remain silent.

Communicate effectively to succeed

Women in the workforce today must embrace this level of communication to carve out successful careers. With confidence and some tact, genuine communication helps forge strong business relationships. Communicating where you are also opens up dialogue for what you want.

“Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg describes this fear of communication that holds women back. She boldly described some of the deep-seated issues that prevent us from achieving gender equality in the workplace. It is one book I encourage everyone (men and women) to read.

I often hear young women say, ‘Do you think they’ll offer me the job?’ My response is: don’t wait for their offer. Have the courage to ask for it, to communicate why you are their most logical choice. Ask for what you want without apology.

As we continue to make strides at the workplace, I cannot emphasize enough the difference between strategizing your career and just letting it happen. The former is cultivated through knowing when and how to engage with the right people. The latter is often a result of poor communication. Be an honest and direct communicator; it is an essential ingredient in your success.

Share your experiences. How has honest, effective communication helped you advance your career?