The world’s top female achievers have been smashing glass ceiling after glass ceiling, but for many women in leadership positions – the revolution can feel very far away.
For better or worse, women are perceived differently than men in every part of society, and in the workplace in particular. Many experts have weighed in on how women can succeed in business leadership, with most suggesting female managers work hard, actively tout their achievements, network, plan ahead and maintain a positive outlook.
Work hard and be vocal
In a perfect world, hard work alone would be enough to get you recognition. However, often times, competence, hard work and even excellence goes underappreciated.
While walking around the office bragging about every single accomplishment might be overkill, you should let others know about your contributions when the opportunity presents itself. Think of it this way: If you don’t promote yourself, who will?
Speaking up doesn’t just mean make your contributions known. It also means putting yourself forward for special projects and promotions. Decision makers within a company typically have many things on their mind. Don’t be afraid to ask for something, just do it.
Connect with others
Built on genuine interactions, networking shouldn’t just be about getting ahead in your career. Rather, your professional network should also be a public support group. Share your accomplishments and knowledge with others and learn from those who can teach you something new, including how to cope with the unique challenges facing female leaders.
In the course of a day, you will come across many things you disagree with or would like to change: the coffee is terrible, an employee is always coming in late, software is out of date, and so on.
To avoid appearing overly negative or even needy, you should be strategic about which battles you want to fight. Argue strongly for those positions you think will create the most value for the company or you personally. When in doubt, don’t raise the issue and save your efforts for something you are certain about fighting for.
You should also be thinking strategically about your work-life balance. Juggling work, family, exercise and social demands at full speed can be exhausting. Inevitably, some part of your life will start to slip if you try to do too many things at once.
Consider your core beliefs, and dedicate the bulk of your time to achieving in areas of your life where you have the most passion. You might find that family and social life are more important than climbing the corporate ladder right now, and that’s okay. Just don’t try to do it all and end up falling short.
Keep calm and carry on
Be happy in your own skin. Stay true to your values and lean on your support network. The going often gets tough in corporate America, regardless of your gender. Maintaining a positive outlook will help you cope with adversity and succeed in the long run.
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