What is your best piece of career advice for future female leaders?
To help shape the female leaders of the future, we asked CEOs and established business leaders this question for their best tips. From finding your networking community to identifying female role models, there are several pieces of advice that will help empower and support you as a woman in leadership.
Here are 14 career tips from women in leadership:
Spend time searching for YOUR right networking community. After hundreds of hours spent at various networking groups, I struggled as a woman to find a community where I felt I truly belonged. Time and again, I was told that I was too young and inexperienced or looked down upon because I was a woman networking in an older man’s world. This challenge disappeared as soon as I found a group called Women Belong. Even the name told me I was in the right place. As soon as I tapped into a community with other strong and empowered female leaders, I knew I was in the right place!
Audrey Hutnick, Smallwave Marketing
When you first start out in the corporate world or any industry for that matter, you may be more inclined to budge for the sake of being nice. However, it is important to note that being nice and easy to work with may not work the best for getting things done. That said, it is alright to exercise your right to say no or to respectfully decline. By doing so, you are able to establish boundaries and others will take notice. That is incredibly important as a future female leader because it is not possible to be everyone’s cup of tea.
Kate Lipman, embrace Scar Therapy
Be confident. If you feel like you’re even a little bit qualified, apply for the job. Women have a tendency to hold back from applying for positions they don’t think they’re 100% qualified for. If you want to be a leader within your industry, you’re going to have to take risks. One of those risks is putting yourself out there for a job or a promotion that may feel scary. The worst that can happen is you don’t get the role. But if you never put yourself out there, you’ll never get ahead.
Melanie Bedwell, Olipop
Oftentimes, you will hear that fear is something you have to overcome, however, the best thing you can do is change the narrative to see it as a tool. There is a stigma around the emotion of fear, as many categorize it as a weakness, or something that impedes progress, yet at the same time, there are few that don’t encounter it.
Yet, fear has some qualities that are helpful, in that it tempers our decision process, makes us take in all the details, and keeps us from acting irrationally. Fear is not a weakness but a common emotion, that if looked at in a reasonable light and not allow it to be all-consuming, can be a benefit. By embracing fear as a necessary part of the business world, we don’t have to see ourselves in a negative light when encountering it, and just allow a moment to feel it, consider it, and then move forward.
Adelle Archer, Eterneva
The power of networking, especially in the early stages of your career, is often underestimated! It can often feel embarrassing at first, but putting yourself out there and engaging with colleagues and managers can often lead to great learning experiences and multiple opportunities for the future. Asking a colleague or superior that you admire to be your mentor is also an invaluable benefit of networking, as it provides you with a great source of advice and guidance that’s highly relevant to your career trajectory.
A lot of people can be scared of rejection when asking someone to be their mentor, however, you’d be surprised to find that most people are more than willing to impart their knowledge to guide the next generation to success. Engaging with networking opportunities and learning from mentors is a certain way to speed up your career development and achieve your goals in the workplace.
Clare Jones, OfficeSpaceAU
There will always be a few people who will doubt you or try to dominate you, but you stick to your dream and don’t let it go. The path you saw for yourself, just go towards that. You’ll get to hear a lot of comments and some might even think that you’re not serious about it, but keep the faith in yourself. If you’re serious about it, know that it will work out one way or another. It’s okay even if no one trusts you at first, you have the ability to prove them wrong so just do it.
Meera Watts, Siddhi Yoga International Pte. Ltd.
There will always be things that people point out about your work. Just take in the feedback and use it to become better at your skills and to get better results. Use techniques to clear your mind from any perceptions of it being personal or feeling attacked. The more objective you can become, the more you will grow.
At the same time, accept yourself, and the feedback will not sting. Positive self-talk and taking the whip away from your own hand, and you will have the freedom that will create a powerful force for self-actualization.
Ana Tomboulian, Peerlogic
Young women should be unafraid to climb organizational hierarchies with the same assertiveness as their male counterparts. History carries a momentous weight against females in hierarchies. While some things have changed for the better in recent times, there are still serious professional obstacles for females. In order to change this, more women will have to continue to shed the societal norms that have been draped upon them over generations. This means being unafraid to exhibit the same professional behavior that males have used on their path to leadership.
Talk over people to avoid being interrupted, and secure credit from others when it is deserved. More women are demonstrating assertiveness in the workplace these days and this is encouraging. Professional disagreeableness is the path that many women have taken to success and it is a key for future female leaders.
Katy Carrigan, Goody
Money is an important factor in choosing a career path, but it’s not the only factor. Going after a career only because of the money will only get you so far. For example, some professions have a high starting salary and a lack of upward mobility once you get a role. The best jobs are a mix of passion and pay. Find the work you love doing at a salary that can expand with you as you learn and grow. Those jobs you are passionate about will make it easy for you to become a future female leader.
Amanda Cross, Amanda Cross
Be brave, goal-oriented, and don’t let yourself be told that “it’s not for you.” Don’t get discouraged by people who doubt your success for various reasons. If, at this point, you are not skilled enough to be a leader, gain the qualifications you need. If the problem lies in your soft skills, work on your character. This is what it means to be brave – reaching for the things you don’t have but can achieve. Forget about fears and doubts, and act as if you’re born to be successful.
Nina Paczka, MyPerfectResume
Every one of us has strengths and weaknesses. As females, we often feel embarrassed that we can’t deliver on something or struggle in different areas of our work. The truth is that there is nothing wrong with not knowing something. A real value comes from our confidence to admit that we are not perfect but want to learn and grow regardless. The mistake I made in the past was trying to hide my shortcomings instead of asking for support. Later, I realized that it’s a strength to embrace your vulnerabilities and reach out to others for help. Such an attitude allows you to learn new skills and build meaningful relationships with your colleagues.
My advice for future female leaders is to accept yourself for who you are and not be afraid to ask for help. You can be a support to your team members, but don’t try to be self-sufficient in areas where you lack knowledge or experience. Reach out to others and find gratitude in the learning opportunity they give you.
Dorota Lysienia, MyPerfectResume
Most female leaders want to compete with otters in their fields. The best thing female leaders could do is to play to their strengths. When you work according to your strengths, you are comfortable with the work and the results and get job satisfaction in the process. This will also make you a great leader since you will shine differently and get noticed for your performance.
Ivy Bosibori, USBadCreditLoans
There is no “right” way to be a leader, so don’t try to emulate someone else’s style or persona. Be authentic and genuine, and people will respect you for it. The best leaders are often the ones who are the most real and relatable. Also, don’t be afraid of being assertive. As a woman, you may be socialized to be polite and deferential, but in order to be an effective leader, you need to be able to speak up and be heard. Find your voice, and use it.
Asako Ito, Divine Lashes
I would advise future female leaders to identify some female role models in their careers or personal life. Think about what attributes you admire in each of them and embody them in yourself. Seek mentorship from them and learn from their experiences. You’ll realize that you are not alone and that you can succeed at anything you pursue.
Michaela Iglesia, MD, O My Gulay
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