A wise expert on management coaching, John Keyser, asked me to pen some thoughts that might be helpful to women seeking leadership positions in business. John is one of the guys who gets it; he knows that men are promoted because of their potential while women must prove themselves
over and over to be promoted. The research group Catalyst has confirmed this in their studies.
Much has been studied and shared about women’s leadership and the lessons that must be embraced for success. Here are some helpful ideas for women to consider for advancement in the work place:
- Get ‘investors’ behind you. Find people who will go to bat for you and ask them to think of you for projects, committees, speaking opportunities, etc. Ideally this would be a senior ranking male in your firm who knows your skills and will comfortably recommend you for projects and promotions. Men will often say to a CEO; “I want to work for you”. Women need to be bold and say the same.
- Share your wins. As a general rule, women are averse to ‘bragging’ yet this often means they are overlooked for promotions as their accomplishments are not showcased or not known by the leadership. After leading your team to completion of a successful project, write a thank you to all members of your team, with a cc to the CEO, that details these accomplishments. Then the CEO will have clear data on your work and efforts.
- Raise your hand. Find out what associations are applicable for your industry or sector -- where the leaders you admire are involved. Join these groups and volunteer for committees. The chairs of these committees are well respected and connected individuals and will notice the work of a good committee member. Their recommendation of you for a position will be well received.
- Be your best friend… and saleswoman. I am often in awe of how men introduce themselves compared to a woman’s modesty. Humility works for sure but women must make sure they don’t discount what they have accomplished. Try an introduction that truly summarizes the breadth of your work; “I am an entrepreneur who has built four successful businesses including a real estate company, a health care practice, a consulting practice, and a national nonprofit organization. All of my work incorporates women’s empowerment around their bodies, leadership, money, and the true ownership of power.”
- Report to a Board that looks like you. If you hear the leadership say, we can’t find any women for our Board, refer them to this smart list of resources.