Sisters encouraged to be tough

Khanyisile Nkosi

Khanyisile Nkosi

The women's leadership conference, which was hosted recently to empower students about to enter the workplace, got off to a tough start - with sisters telling it like it is.

Leading businesswomen and professionals revealed to the 200 third-year and honours students how important resilience was in the workplace.

Vodacom's manager of mergers and acquisitions Nonku- luleko Nyembezi-Heita, said women's self empowerment was necessary.

"It helps to be smart, educated and hard working, but none counts like resilience. The level of resilience will determine who succeeds or fails. That is true in the cancer wards, sports fields and in the boardroom," she said.

Nyembezi-Heita said: "Developing a thick skin, a sense of humour and having a good support system are other attributes resilient people possess."

She said emotional toughness was a quality needed to become resilient.

"This is the ability to handle your own turbulent feelings and other people's roller-coaster emotions without getting overwhelmed by them."

Learning to take criticism on the chin and avoiding bursting into tears at the first provocation were critical skills to master in the workplace.

"This is not to suggest there's something wrong with you when you feel stung by criticism. Save the tears for home. Better yet, have a glass of wine and get over it," she said.

How to become resilient the workplace

"Build self confidence. Don't be the worst critic for women, give each other a helping hand," said Liberty Life's group executive for human resources and corporate affairs Audrey Mothupi.

But for Mpho Letlape, an Eskom human resource manager, "you have to dream and really want that dream."

"Make an impression in the first 10 seconds," argued True Loveeditor Busi Mahlaba.