The issue of gender parity for women remains the focus within many organisations, not only due to mounting pressure from #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, but the growing consensus around its positive influence on business performance. Driving diversity amongst teams is also shown to have a positive impact for businesses in terms of talent retention and team culture.
For women looking to capitalise on their talent and develop their careers, Janine Blacksley, Associate Director of Robert Walters Milton Keynes and Bracknell, provides five tips to help you progress in times of change.
Being confident is an important trait of an effective leader as it means you can move past any fears and embrace self-assurance.
Janine recommends, “Take ownership of your skills, abilities and decisions as this can help you take purposeful action and push the boundaries for growing the business or organisation that you are a part of. Being able to lead with confidence provides a feeling of trust and demonstrates you are focused on making responsible decisions for the organisation and have the team’s best interests at the forefront.”
It is important to actively develop both your personal and professional networks as they can be valuable sounding boards for career advice and your personal growth.
“Individuals you meet through business networks may have been there before or could be going through a similar experience so can add valuable advice and insights around challenging business problems. Building a network to share your experiences can provide you with encouragement, support and guidance along your leadership journey.”
Don’t be afraid to voice new ideas that may seem risky as innovation is a strategic consideration for any organisation. To be a successful leader, Janine explains that you need to be able to venture out of your comfort zone, do things differently and explore new ideas and suggestions from your team.
Building a network to share your experiences can provide you with encouragement, support and guidance along your leadership journey.
“Women can offer valuable perspectives and approaches to the ideation process that can result in more innovative solutions to complex problems, so don’t hold back. Exploring different viewpoints and insights can enable more effective problem-solving that can lead to greater strategic alignment within a team and organisation.”
Janine comments, “How you respond in times of difficulty, uncertainty and failure will demonstrate your character to those that you are leading. Maintaining a positive attitude and continuing a relentless pursuit of your goals will demonstrate to high-performing teams that you never give up. Strong leaders know failure and loss are inherent in doing business and as an influential leader, you will need to stay determined and not let any difficulties prevent you from achieving goals.”
For both women and men there can be an ongoing battle between juggling demands at work and at home. Both are equally as important and deserve attention, but it is vital to realise it’s about balance and integration. Janine recommends building a strong support network to effectively manage this.
“As a leader, you may need to be available at times that you wouldn’t want to be. Just remember that everyone needs to have some time “off the clock” and by having a support system, such as co-workers, your partner, extended family or friends, can be a great resource when you’re dealing with conflicting commitments.”
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