Supporting women in owning their careers
Not surprisingly, women are at the heart of any solution. As individual women progress in their careers, not only do they benefit, but so does the company. And success begets success – having powerful women in a company usually makes it easier for other women to succeed.
Women need to understand the need to take risks, to move out of their comfort zone and to ask for opportunities. Women are often overlooked for promotion for as simple of a reason as she has not asked for the opportunity. Similarly, sometimes she puts herself forward but prior to that point she has not raised her profile sufficiently to be seen as credible for the role. Sometimes it is a matter of encouraging her to take a role that is out of her expertise so she gets the breadth of experience she needs to lead at a higher level.
Leading well requires a constant adjustment to other styles to get the best out of the team. Any leader, women included, need help understanding how they are perceived and in taking action to correct any problems. Women often don’t get the feedback they need early enough. A high quality 360-degree review process is one way to help. And once she has that information, she needs guidance in how she can improve those areas where she needs development.
The third thing that women can do is to make sure they have a strong and supportive network of female peers who are having the same experiences. Without that kind of support, women can feel isolated.
Sadly, these situations are all too common. Take Anne, a high potential who is highly valued by her manager and the CEO, wants to get promoted. Last year, she talked with her manager about a potential promotion in the upcoming year. Nothing else was said over the course of the year and she assumed she would be promoted. She was sorely disappointed to learn she wasn’t even considered for promotion. In the course of that year, she should have been asking her manager and others their view of her role and capability. And, she should have been asking about the process for promotion. She should have been launching a campaign for the role, rather than assuming others were looking out for her best interests.