What would you change if you felt more confident? Would you have a better job with more responsibilities, making more money? Would your personal life look different? Would your conversations be more honest? If you said “yes” to any of these questions, let’s look at some of the reasons why you aren’t where you’d like to be. You probably want to address both the external and internal factors. Externally, women face cultural prejudices that impede our advancement – we are confronted by gender inequities every day. The women leaders I’ve interviewed have been able to move through this resistance, and their positive mindset has enabled them to do this. Here’s how they approach challenges:
· Fear can be your ally. Take the initiative to speak up, even if you are shaky. What you are advocating is more important than your fear. Come from a position of service. Act as if you can do it and you will be able to.
· Leadership presence is attainable. Pay attention to what women at higher levels say and do – adapt their styles to what works for you. Dress the part, be self-aware, understand your audience, listen, and maintain composure
· The truth will catapult your growth. Feedback helps you advance. Use your intuition to discriminate between what is useful and what is not. Ask for feedback if you’re not getting it.
· Saying “no” can be a good thing. Protect your time, set boundaries, and make your “no” someone else’s yes.
· Alliances with power players are mutually beneficial. Take every opportunity to make yourself visible to the power players around you. Be strategic and see how your skills and expertise can be useful to a higher-up you want to work with. Build a relationship with that person based on mutual trust.
· Intuition is your edge. When you follow your inner compass, you feel more confident taking the smart risks necessary to advance. Listen to your inner voice and use it to help make wise decisions.