I hope you’ve enjoyed my series on women in leadership. Whether you’re already a female leader, or well on your way, it’s always great to get inspired by others. So here’s the final blog, which was probably my favourite one to write. In this post, I’ve asked women leaders the question
"What advice do you have for women trying to progress?"
“As a woman leader, sometimes people don’t always take you seriously, especially when you are young and starting out. Nothing speaks louder than real tangible results. Your success will help you be recognized as a leader.”
“Start doing things that someone two or three levels above you does to support their careers e.g. learning the latest technology or leadership theory, scheduling meetings with people at the level you aim to reach (do this at your company and at other companies), attend conferences, write blogs, and give talks. Part of the challenge is just stepping up and putting yourself forward.”
“Be BOLD and go after what makes you feel most uncomfortable. This is when awesome things happen!”
Kylie Green - Sales Director Australia, Reward Gateway
“My advice to women looking to progress is to focus on your strengths and play to those. Put your hand up for everything so you can learn anything you can. Be a superstar at your current role, so the next opportunity doesn't seem like such a stretch. Show you are coachable - ask for regular feedback and demonstrate that you can absorb and implement it. Finally, don't be shy! Share your wins, your losses (and learnings) and chat about your ambition. Make sure you are on the radar so you are front of mind when an opportunity comes up. Usually, they are when you least expect them.”
Shelley Lavery - Group SVP Sales, Reward Gateway
“Your gender isn't what makes you stand out, it's what you achieve that makes you stand out. So you’ve got to work hard. If you feel you get treated differently because of your gender then lean into it, don't lose sleep over it, your energy is best spent elsewhere. Surround yourself with strong women and make sure you have a supportive partner who understands your ambition, I couldn't do what I do without mine.”
Ana Yordanova - Head of Support, Bulgaria, Reward Gateway
“Never give up on your ideas, be open-minded and be an out-of-the-box thinker. Keep your eyes on the goal and feed your own passion to reach it. Do not get discouraged by prejudice - others’ and, most of all, your own. Sometimes we just never try because we are afraid we may face discrimination. Bury that fear and act as if you deserve to progress just like any other person - no matter their gender. If you ever face true discrimination, know with all your heart that it is wrong and act on it, never ignore it. If fighting it takes too much of you, walk away and look for a place that deserves you and will value you for who you are and what you are capable of.”
And here's mine...
Don’t be afraid to be your whole self, showing who you are as a leader and who you are as a women. As Scott E. Page writes in his book "The Difference," collective wisdom exceeds the sum of its parts, and this can only happen by contributing your diverse and critical thoughts and perspectives. Borrowing from Reward Gateway’s mission statement, together we can ‘make the world a better place to work’. Though the blog series might be coming to an end, I hope you’ve found it helpful and maybe even a little inspirational as you continue to either be that powerful strong woman, or support those that surround you. As we come to a close on Women’s History Month, I hope to have even more great stories to share with you next year!
Debra is the co-author of "Build It: The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement," which she wrote with Reward Gateway Founder, Glenn Elliott. She's a Rewards guru, having over 20 years experience as a rewards leader, speaker, teacher and a frequent contributor to the Reward Gateway blog.