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Embracing Your Unique Leadership Style

Embracing Your Unique Leadership Style

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What springs to your mind when I say the word ‘leader’?

Extroverted? Charismatic? Assertive? Driven? Experienced? 

It’s easy to think that in order to be recognised as a leader, you need to have a certain set of skills, or act and do things in a particular way.

For many mid-career professional women I know, the (outdated!) stereotypes of what it means to be a great leader don’t resonate with them. 

In fact, they feel deterred by the boxes they think they have to tick in order to step into a leadership role, and they stay small and stuck in their careers because of it.

If this resonates with you, I have good news …

The easiest way for you to become an effective, respected and successful leader is to simply, BE YOU!

In this day and age there is no one set of characteristics that define a great leader and you no longer have to contort yourself to try and fit a square peg (you!) into a round hole (who you think you need to be!)

What was once considered a great leader is morphing at a rapid pace and I’m happy to say that there’s now room for all personalities, skills and styles at the leadership table. 

Some of the most incredible leaders I know are compassionate, vulnerable, introverted, quirky, playful and gentle …

All traits that, a decade ago, wouldn’t have been celebrated in a leader but thankfully, now are.

These women are the ones who are shifting workplace cultures.

Expanding the boundaries of what’s possible.

Creating enormous organisational growth.

Getting seen and being promoted.

I want you to press pause and consider …

How do you feel about being a leader? What thoughts and emotions come up for you?

What would make you a great leader? (Don’t be modest – shout your praises from the rooftop!)

What’s holding you back from stepping into a leadership role (or growing into your next level of leadership) in your workplace? 

As women, we have a tendency to be critical of ourselves. I want you to know that simply, because you are you, you are worthy and capable of being a great leader.

You don’t need to tick any boxes, or change who you are – you are enough.

If you’d love some support honing in on what makes you a great leader and the steps you can start taking to get the recognition you deserve, I invite you to join IGNITE.

Ignite is our 8 week group online group coaching program for mid-career women who are ready to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition. 

Click here to find out more.

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LET'S CONNECT

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Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businesswoman working on laptop at office, typing something on computer and holding smartphone while sitting at her working place, copy space

Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the…

Have you found yourself reassessing your priorities and reflecting on what truly matters to you? You are certainly not alone. And as we ease into a new year, perhaps you’re finding yourself grappling with the back-to-work blues. Before you throw in the towel, here’s what to consider…

Jane Benston

5 Tips for Blending Work and…

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year.
And with restrictions finally lifted – it’s time to get out and about and connect… in person.

Jane Benston

Side view.Young businesswoman dressed in light pink shirt sitting at wooden table and using laptop while talking on cellphone.Girl uses digital gadget. On table cup of coffee. Online shopping,working.

A Change of Perception

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

When your workload demands that you speed up – CALM DOWN!

When your workload demands that you speed up - CALM DOWN!

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If there’s one common denominator among all the mid-career professional women I meet, it’s that they’re busy.

They’re not sitting at their desks twiddling their thumbs …

They’re running from meeting to meeting, making and taking calls, sending email after email and working through their never ending to-do lists.

They’re in constant GO mode and many of them are feeling stressed out and overwhelmed because of it.

When your work days are busy and your to-do list is filled to the brim, it can seem like the only logical solution is to work more quickly so you can get more done.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In actual fact, your best work and your greatest productivity potential happens when you are calm, and when you slow down.

Getting yourself into a calm state leads to:

  •  A greater ability to focus
  • Less mistakes and higher quality work (therefore, more likelihood of getting a promotion!)
  • An ability to better cope with stressful situations
  • More job satisfaction.

Now I know what you’re wondering …

Jane, how can I find a sense of calm when I’m in the thick of it, have tasks piling up and am feeling overwhelmed?

Here’s what I suggest:

1. Create a calm start to your day

Now I know this may sound impossible, particularly if you’re a busy Mum…. but stay with me. 

I know it’s easy (and common!) to instantly start thinking about work the moment you wake up…  or worse, you feel compelled to log to check emails.  

When you have lots on your plate, this makes sense.

But instead of aiding you, constantly being ‘switched on’ and ‘sped up’ is doing you, and your work performance, more harm than good.

Inviting calm into your first waking moments (or longer if you can!) can completely shift your whole day.

You don’t have to do anything extravagant – even just a cup of coffee in silence, a walk around the block or a few pages of a great book can fill you with a sense of calm that will aid you when you sit down to work.

What one small thing can you introduce into your morning routine that would help you start your day more calmly?

2.  Step away from your desk during the day

Stopping to take a lunch break can feel like a luxury when you’re busy.   But stepping away from work actually has a funny way of sparking creativity, inviting in more clarity and aiding productivity.

As shared in this article, “Taking breaks, even micro ones, can help to recharge one’s brain, relieve stress [and] increase energy levels”.

Breaking away from your computer and to-do list takes commitment, especially if you’re busy, but I encourage you to give it a go and get curious about how it impacts your productivity and wellbeing!

3. Shift your mindset

Have you ever had thoughts like “I have no choice but to work harder and faster” and “I’ll never get all this done”? 

Sadly these thoughts do little other than make you feel more stressed and overwhelmed.

When thoughts like this pop up, try and replace them with alternatives like:

“I’m only one person. I’ll get as much done as I can, but I will respect my limits. Tomorrow is a new day.”

“When I stay calm, my productivity increases. I know that looking after myself aids my work performance.” 

Your mindset is powerful and simply shifting how you perceive and approach situations can have a huge impact on the quality of your work and how you feel.

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Learning how to slow down and invite calm into your busy day takes practice and patience (you’re essentially learning a new skill, after all!)

If you’d like a helping hand learning how to work differently, I invite you to a free Facebook community Leading Ladies – a private space to help you breakthrough to your next level of leadership, impact and recognition, without you having to work harder or sell your soul.

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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businesswoman working on laptop at office, typing something on computer and holding smartphone while sitting at her working place, copy space

Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the…

Have you found yourself reassessing your priorities and reflecting on what truly matters to you? You are certainly not alone. And as we ease into a new year, perhaps you’re finding yourself grappling with the back-to-work blues. Before you throw in the towel, here’s what to consider…

Jane Benston

5 Tips for Blending Work and…

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year.
And with restrictions finally lifted – it’s time to get out and about and connect… in person.

Jane Benston

Side view.Young businesswoman dressed in light pink shirt sitting at wooden table and using laptop while talking on cellphone.Girl uses digital gadget. On table cup of coffee. Online shopping,working.

A Change of Perception

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

Quit being busy and get more strategic!

Quit being busy and get more strategic!

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If you want to be seen as a leader you must be strategic and work towards the bigger goals of your organisation.

Being busy does not make you a good leader.

Being stuck in the weeds of the day-to-day does not make you a leader.

Great leaders create time and space to be strategic, solve the big problems and focus on projects that impact the goals of the organisation.

Sadly, many of the super talented mid-career professional women I speak with are failing to truly lead.

They have the capacity and capability to be exceptional leaders – but they are too bogged down in the busy work to focus on the work that matters.

They’re tied up doing Busy Bee work when what they really want and need to be doing is Queen Bee work (you can read more about this here) – and they’re exhausted and frustrated because of it.

They are being overlooked for the best opportunities, feel overwhelmed by their huge workload, and have no idea how to break free of their massive to-do list.

Can you relate?

The truth is – working harder will not get you out of this pickle. In fact, being hardworking, helpful, reliable, and good at your JOB is in part what got you into this situation. Now it’s time to let go of those habits and find some new ways of working.

The habits that supported you to excel as a valued team member are not the habits that will get you seen as an exceptional leader.

As I like to say – what got you to this stage in your career, will not take you to the next level.

It’s now time to install some new habits. The habits of a great leader.

Quit being busy and start being strategic.

Here’s where I’d suggest you start….

Put aside 90 minutes in your calendar, one day a week, to focus on the big picture strategic work.

Pop it in your calendar and guard it with barbed wire (that would be the farm girl in me coming out!) Commit to showing up, week in and week out. No excuses and no exceptions.

This appointment with yourself is as important as every other appointment in your calendar. Or even more important. Value this time. Value the work you’ll get done in this time.

You have to create time.

It will not miraculously turn up in your calendar.

There will always be tasks to complete and to-do’s vying for your attention.

True leaders understand the importance of stepping away from Busy Bee tasks and intentionally creating space to put on their strategic hat.

Can this feel uncomfortable or achievable when your to-do list is lengthy?

Of course!

BUT you will soon see that just 90 short minutes a week will not only move the dial on your most important projects, it will also have a positive impact on your career growth. (read this for some practical pointers on how to find more time in your days!)

So, my question today is – will you commit to making this change?

This one small tweak to your week will create massive change to the way you show up as a leader.

Like some more simple strategies to help you quit being busy and start being more strategic? Our 8-week group coaching program for mid-career professional women – IGNITE – could be just the thing for you.  Click here to join the waitlist for our next round starting soon.


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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businesswoman working on laptop at office, typing something on computer and holding smartphone while sitting at her working place, copy space

Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the…

Have you found yourself reassessing your priorities and reflecting on what truly matters to you? You are certainly not alone. And as we ease into a new year, perhaps you’re finding yourself grappling with the back-to-work blues. Before you throw in the towel, here’s what to consider…

Jane Benston

5 Tips for Blending Work and…

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year.
And with restrictions finally lifted – it’s time to get out and about and connect… in person.

Jane Benston

Side view.Young businesswoman dressed in light pink shirt sitting at wooden table and using laptop while talking on cellphone.Girl uses digital gadget. On table cup of coffee. Online shopping,working.

A Change of Perception

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

5 keys to creating momentum for career growth

5 keys to creating momentum for career growth

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Have you ever wanted to create change in your career but felt overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead? The idea of stepping up to the next big thing, changing career direction or creating some new results, can at times seem totally daunting and a task too large to begin.

The comfort of what we know is all too alluring…. but often not at all satisfying. We delude ourselves into thinking that avoiding risk and sticking with the status quo – however miserable – is the smartest and best course of action… when of course it isn’t.

I know this to be true because I stayed in a job for more than 18 months even though I was totally miserable, unproductive and doing a lousy job. I stayed, wishing, waiting and hoping that things would improve but of course they never did.

It took a “crisis” to finally push me to find the courage, to take action and move on.

So often I see leaders who want to create change in their career, but are too busy, overwhelmed and exhausted to find the space in their schedule to even pause to think about what they truly want, let alone reflect, create a plan and commit to action.

Here are 5 keys to creating momentum for career growth.

  1.  Press the pause button. Get off the treadmill and be still. That’s right, just stop! Until you take time out to think, create and plan nothing is likely to change. The busyness of our lives does not allow for creativity, problem solving and we are unlikely to see the opportunities that are right there waiting to be seized.

Start by blocking out a chuck of time to reflect on your current career status.  Grab a pen and paper and jot down your thoughts. What is working for you?  What frustrates you?  What do you wish was different? What do you love most about your current role? Does your role provide a positive challenge for you and are you being given opportunities for growth?

  1.  Assess the cost of maintaining the status quo. I wonder what it is costing you right now by maintaining the status quo? Is your health taking a hit? Are you neglecting some of the people who are most important to you? Has your career flat lined? Are you bored, uninspired and feeling lost?

Getting clear on the true cost of staying stuck is often enough to create the motivation and the drive to create change. Life is too short to settle for mediocre!!!

  1.  Listen to your intuition. If you have experienced a quiet and persistent gut reaction for some time telling you that something has to change… well it is now time to listen. The busier we get the less we listen to our own intuition but this is exactly when we need to stop and ask ourselves what is our intuition telling us here.

Our intuition can be a brilliant guide, particularly when we pair it with our rational, analytical brain to assess the risk, weigh up the options and assess the facts. Bring the two together and you have a powerful foundation for effective decision making.

  1.  Find support. Yes you are a strong independent woman…. but you don’t need to go alone. Reach out to your network and ask for their support and assistance. You will be surprised at how willing people will be to provide you with their help if only they know how.

Women are great at building relationships, connecting and sharing ideas. We are born to nurture the growth and development of others. You have no doubt extended a helping hand to others at some time, now it is your turn. Let people know what opportunities you are looking for and share your career dreams and aspirations.

Opportunities for promotion, career change or a position that will allow you more flexibility and lifestyle choices may be as close as one conversation with the right person.

  1.  Know you are capable. Yes You! You’re capable of so much more than you might at first think. Even if the worst was to happen, I am guessing you could handle it.

Every day I work with women who underestimate their potential. There seems to be an epidemic out there of women who down play their achievements, question their value and are blind to the unique skills and talents they bring to their work.

It is time to shift your focus from what you can’t do to what in fact you can!

And then take action. Nothing changes without action and without doing some things differently.

Now is your time. You have been waiting long enough. If you want to create change in your career it is up to you. The hardest step of any change is the first so…. be bold, be brave and believe that you can.

Know that something needs to change but unsure where to start? 

Book in for a Leadership Support Session here, and together we’ll create a tangible plan to move you forward courageously, strategically and in a way that honours and utilises your strengths.)

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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businesswoman working on laptop at office, typing something on computer and holding smartphone while sitting at her working place, copy space

Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the…

Have you found yourself reassessing your priorities and reflecting on what truly matters to you? You are certainly not alone. And as we ease into a new year, perhaps you’re finding yourself grappling with the back-to-work blues. Before you throw in the towel, here’s what to consider…

Jane Benston

5 Tips for Blending Work and…

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year.
And with restrictions finally lifted – it’s time to get out and about and connect… in person.

Jane Benston

Side view.Young businesswoman dressed in light pink shirt sitting at wooden table and using laptop while talking on cellphone.Girl uses digital gadget. On table cup of coffee. Online shopping,working.

A Change of Perception

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

Why Perfectionism is a Problem (and what to do about it!)

Why Perfectionism is a Problem (And What to Do About It!)

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All of the mid career women leaders I meet want to do a great job. 

The trouble is, many of them think that a great job = a perfect job.

And while intentionally created, high quality work is a must, perfect work can do more harm than good.

Here’s how …

Striving for perfectionism creates stress and sucks the joy out of working.

Although having meticulous attention to detail is an asset, most perfectionists will tell you that they would actually prefer to not be so fixated on achieving a ‘perfect’ end goal. 

Why? 

Because rather than tasks and projects feeling like enjoyable creative endeavours, striving for perfectionism turns them into stressful, overwhelming and energy sucking to-do’s.

Not fun – and I truly believe that work should be enjoyable and rewarding!

You’re going round in circles, striving for an unattainable goal.

Judging something as ‘perfect’ is 100% subjective which ultimately means that ‘perfect’ doesn’t exist! We are all unique humans, who have our own special perspectives, ideas and outlooks, and what you and your boss/colleagues/team label as ‘perfect’ will always be different. 

You’re never going to be able to please everyone … but if you’re striving for perfection, you may just send yourself crazy trying!

It slows you down. A LOT.

Most of the perfectionists I support admit to getting things done more slowly than they should. Not because they’re lazy, but because they’re investing so. much. time into getting every minute detail exactly right. 

It gives you a bad reputation.

Because perfectionists typically work slower, they have a tendency to not get things done on time. Sometimes, they don’t even get things finished at all! This isn’t a good look and it definitely isn’t going to get you seen (well, not for the right reasons anyway!)

As well as this, although perfectionists tend to look busy, they’re not actually being effective. Working effectively is what I call Queen Bee work, and it’s this work that gets women recognised and promoted for getting the work that matters out there in the world.

So, what to actually do about your perfectionism?

You switch your focus. 

My mantra is – PROGRESS OVER PERFECTION.

PROGRESS is what will move the dial on the work that matters and get you seen and celebrated for the incredible asset you are.

Progress looks like:

      • Putting clear project timelines in place, and sticking to them
      • Shifting your standards from 100% perfection to 80% excellence (for all but the most critical task like board reports!)
      • Coming back to the big organisational picture when perfectionism tries to rear it’s unhelpful head
      • Striving to produce great work, not perfect work (remember, it doesn’t exist!)
      • Speaking kindly to yourself (because perfectionism can say some pretty nasty things)
      • Seeing your projects as fun and enjoyable creative endeavours, not simply tasks to tick off a list
      • Asking for help if you need it! No-one expects you to be Super Woman, and teams are there to support one another!

More than anything though, I want you to ask yourself, “WHY do I strive for perfection?”

It’s all good and well to have strategies in place, but if you can get to the root cause and the WHY behind your perfectionism, these strategies are more likely to stick.

Keen to chat more about how to become a recovering perfectionist, by shifting your focus to progress over perfection? Come and join me in my free Facebook group for mid career professional women. Click here to join!

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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businesswoman working on laptop at office, typing something on computer and holding smartphone while sitting at her working place, copy space

Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the…

Have you found yourself reassessing your priorities and reflecting on what truly matters to you? You are certainly not alone. And as we ease into a new year, perhaps you’re finding yourself grappling with the back-to-work blues. Before you throw in the towel, here’s what to consider…

Jane Benston

5 Tips for Blending Work and…

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year.
And with restrictions finally lifted – it’s time to get out and about and connect… in person.

Jane Benston

Side view.Young businesswoman dressed in light pink shirt sitting at wooden table and using laptop while talking on cellphone.Girl uses digital gadget. On table cup of coffee. Online shopping,working.

A Change of Perception

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

Why You Need to Create Space to Think (Not Just Do)

Why You Need to Create Space to Think (Not Just Do)

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Leaders are paid to think, not just do.

In fact, thinking is what I like to call Queen Bee work, whereas when you are stuck deep in the doing… that’s Busy Bee work.  

Let me clarify further …

The Busy Bee is a ‘do-er’. She is often run off her feet with a jam-packed calendar that barely allows her room to breathe, let alone room to think strategically, take a ‘big picture’ focus and lead her team. She is juggling a million tasks and being busy, but not necessarily being productive.

The Queen Bee is a leader. She is working at a strategic level and bringing about high level improvement, change and growth to her organisation. She is focussed, intentional and highly effective. She is moving the business forward and being recognised for doing so. 

Thinking work – Queen Bee work – is the work that gets you recognised, rewarded and promoted (which I know is what you want!)

Yes, an innovative and effective workplace needs both thinkers AND do-ers – but it’s the thinkers that get seen, recognised for their high level visionary work and ultimately, paid more.

Do you feel stuck at the middle management level? 

If so, I want you to consider what you’re doing more of – doing or thinking?

As a society, we’ve been told that action steps and tangible outcomes are more worthwhile, which is why many women think that this is the kind of work they need to do in order to move-on-up in their organisation.

But it’s not!

While doing actions are important, your organisation cannot grow if it doesn’t have leaders at its helm who are thinking about the big picture. In fact, there are no successful businesses without leaders who lead. 

That’s where you come in!

I know it can feel ‘lazy’ and ‘time wasting’ to put an hour aside to think (it’s not by the way!) 

BUT trust me when I say that it’s in this space that your greatest ideas will come to you, and that it’s these ideas that will take you to the next level in your career journey.

The key is to start creating space to think and prioritise the work that requires you to think deeply, creatively or strategically. It’s time to get out of the endless cycle of doing. 

“So what does ‘thinking work’ actually look like on a practical level Jane?”

Great question! It looks like you:

    • Creating white space in your calendar to put on your leadership hat, get out of the doing rat race and see opportunities for change and expansion (I’ve written some great suggestions for how to do this here)
    • Surrounding yourself with other inspiring Queen Bees who are thinking strategically and coming up with transformational big picture ideas in their own workplaces
    • Seeking to solve problems, rather than simply offering short term band-aid solutions
    • Designing strategies that will move your corner of the business forward, rather than focussing solely on the present and getting caught up in the day-to-day
    • Mentoring and upskilling your team, so you can all expand, become A players and support one another (and therefore your workplace!) to rise.  You need your team to step up to allow you the space to think
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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businesswoman working on laptop at office, typing something on computer and holding smartphone while sitting at her working place, copy space

Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the…

Have you found yourself reassessing your priorities and reflecting on what truly matters to you? You are certainly not alone. And as we ease into a new year, perhaps you’re finding yourself grappling with the back-to-work blues. Before you throw in the towel, here’s what to consider…

Jane Benston

5 Tips for Blending Work and…

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year.
And with restrictions finally lifted – it’s time to get out and about and connect… in person.

Jane Benston

Side view.Young businesswoman dressed in light pink shirt sitting at wooden table and using laptop while talking on cellphone.Girl uses digital gadget. On table cup of coffee. Online shopping,working.

A Change of Perception

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

Why you must stop doing and start leading.

Why you must stop doing and start leading

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What are you known for? Are you known for your exceptional leadership skills or are you known as someone who can be relied on to get the job done?

Sadly too many women are being overlooked and missing out on the best opportunities because they get caught up “doing” the work.  

Yes the work they do is to the highest standard but that isn’t what will get them seen, heard and valued as an effective senior leader. 

The people who get paid the most, get the most interesting opportunities and receive the most recognition are not the worker bees! They are those people who focus on creating effective strategies that deliver on the business objectives, engage high performing teams to deliver key KPI’s and are known for their big picture view of the business challenges. 

I recently worked with Gillian, a talented, ambitious leader who had carved out a hugely successful career. But then something went wrong. Her career progress had not only stalled … it had actually taken a backwards step. And with it her pride, commitment and joy evaporated. 

And it all came down to what she was known for.  

Somewhere along the way she had developed a reputation as a “doer.” 

She was the go-to person for preparing contracts, tender documents and completing tasks that no-one else apparently had the skills to do. Yes, she was good at these tasks, but they left her feeling undervalued, bored and without the time or energy to devote to the type of work that kept her challenged and motivated. 

And worst of all… she found herself no longer included in the Senior Leadership Team meetings. 

The good news is, it is possible to resurrect and repair your professional reputation and be seen as a leader who can truly make a difference rather than just someone who can get work done. 

How to shift your professional reputation from doer to leader:

1. Create space.

At this stage in your career you are employed not just to do – but to think. So, the first thing we must do is create space to think, create and be strategic.  

Finding the time to do the work that truly matters doesn’t happen by accident.  We need to create the timethrough relentless focus, prioritisation and commitment to diarising high impact work. 

2. Get strategic.

Ok ladies it’s time to get strategic! One of the biggest challenges I see for women is that they are busy being busy and getting the job done, but not necessarily working on those activities that make the biggest impact for the business, the team or their own professional progress.

Look across your portfolio and pick one project you could devote some concentrated time and effort to over the next 3 months. The aim is to showcase what you are capable of as well as demonstrate your contribution to the business goals. 

3. Get visible.

It’s time to get yourself out there and known for the great work you do. Doing great work is never enough.

Think about the best leaders you know. They don’t hide themselves away. They are visible and have a strong network who they call upon for support, guidance and collaboration. 

Developing and maintaining a network of strong relationships is the secret to opening up the best opportunities. So prioritising time to grab a coffee or lunch with people of influence within your organisation and industry is important (even if it has to be via Zoom during this time of Covid.)  

You are employed to lead – so lead.   

At the end of the day, getting stuck in the weeds of doing isn’t helping you, your team or the organisation

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Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

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Businesswoman working on laptop at office, typing something on computer and holding smartphone while sitting at her working place, copy space

Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the…

Have you found yourself reassessing your priorities and reflecting on what truly matters to you? You are certainly not alone. And as we ease into a new year, perhaps you’re finding yourself grappling with the back-to-work blues. Before you throw in the towel, here’s what to consider…

Jane Benston

5 Tips for Blending Work and…

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year.
And with restrictions finally lifted – it’s time to get out and about and connect… in person.

Jane Benston

Side view.Young businesswoman dressed in light pink shirt sitting at wooden table and using laptop while talking on cellphone.Girl uses digital gadget. On table cup of coffee. Online shopping,working.

A Change of Perception

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

Why working hard is hurting your professional growth

Why working hard is hurting your professional growth

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You know you are good at what you do and you’re getting great results. Your team members are engaged, enjoy working with you and you’re building a strong team.  

But yet… 

You don’t feel valued. You are not getting promoted, and you suspect youre being paid less than your peers. 

But why? 

Well, it’s quite likely because you’re working too hard.  

Yes, you read that right.  You’re working too hard!  Ok. I hear you. It’s your hard work that’s got you to where you are today.   

But sadly – what got you here wont get you to the next level of leadership, impact or recognition.  

There is no doubt that working hard was a great strategy in your early career but it’s not enough as you step into the more senior leadership roles. 

Relying on hard work at this level of leadership, will only lead to resentment, frustration and ultimately burnout. 

You are way too smart and have way too much to offer to remain overlooked and underappreciated. And right now, more than ever, organisations NEED what you have to offer. 

It’s time to focus on what will get you a valued position at the leadership table. 

If you are being overlooked… here’s what to do

1. Step into Queen Bee work. 

To me our work falls into two categories. Queen Bee work and Busy Bee work. 

Busy Bee work has you stuck in the weeds of the day to day, leading you to be busy but not necessarily effective or productive. 

While Queen Bee work is the work that’s strategic, bigger picture and supports the team or the organisation to move closer to achieving the goals of the business.  

If your days are filled with primarily Busy Bee work – then chances are you’re working on the wrong things. 

You’re focused on the details rather than the big picture. You’re getting trapped in the day to day implementation rather than being seen to be a strategic thinker who can move the business forward. 

And sadly being a Worker Bee does not get you the recognition or access to the best roles or a seat at the leadership table. It’s the Queen Bee work that does. 

2. Lead rather than do! 

If you’re a leader – you need to be leading. Many women I speak to are so busy ‘doing’ the day to day tasks that they neglect to make time to actually lead.    

The work of building and managing a high performing team, of setting the strategy and making progress on the big strategic projects is relegated to ‘when I have time’. But of course, you never have time.  

Leadership is about being proactive and prioritising the work that matters. You need to be ok with saying NO, delegating the busy work and truly step up to fully take on the role of leader.  

3. Focus on developing strategic relationships

Putting your head down and working hard usually means that you are too busy to be building strategic relationships  

But building relationships with the key decision makers in your business and in your industry is not something to do when you have time. It’s something you have to make time to do, given that it’s a critical to advancing your career.   

Having people who know you, appreciate your contribution and advocate for you is priceless and well worth the investment of your time and energy. 

Being overlooked is frustrating and can impact your confidence. 

But let’s see it as a sign that something needs to change. 

The good news is… big change is usually not required. Tiny tweaks are all it takes.

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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businesswoman working on laptop at office, typing something on computer and holding smartphone while sitting at her working place, copy space

Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the…

Have you found yourself reassessing your priorities and reflecting on what truly matters to you? You are certainly not alone. And as we ease into a new year, perhaps you’re finding yourself grappling with the back-to-work blues. Before you throw in the towel, here’s what to consider…

Jane Benston

5 Tips for Blending Work and…

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year.
And with restrictions finally lifted – it’s time to get out and about and connect… in person.

Jane Benston

Side view.Young businesswoman dressed in light pink shirt sitting at wooden table and using laptop while talking on cellphone.Girl uses digital gadget. On table cup of coffee. Online shopping,working.

A Change of Perception

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

The number 1 mistake mid career professionals make when job searching

The number 1 mistake mid-career professionals make when job searching

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Job searching. I don’t think it’s anyone’s favourite thing to do. It
takes effort. It takes time. And it takes mental and emotional energy.

It requires soul searching and at times it can be soul destroying.

We’ve all experienced the excitement of finding a role that we believe would be ideal for us. We imagine ourselves in the role; what we could achieve, the impact we could have and how we would feel resigning from our current role.

Gosh you may have even allocated the potential payrise to pay for school fees or that overdue house renovation.

And then the unthinkable happens…. they offer the role to someone else!

Ah the roller coaster – the highs and lows of job searching.

There is no exact formula to make the process pain free but there are some things we can do to improve our chances to landing our ideal role – more quickly and with less stress.

It all starts with avoiding the number 1 trap I see many mid career professionals fall into.

And that is….

Going out to the market to “see what’s out there” without real clarity about what it is that you are looking for.

This approach can work, but is likely to be hit and miss. It can be disempowering and it’s an incredibly frustrating waiting game. It leaves the process up to chance and what we end up doing is trying to fit ourselves into whatever comes up rather than going after what we REALLY want.

Even worse – if you think a recruiter will be able to figure out what types of role you would be good for based on your past experience, then you are gravely mistaken.

There are some hugely talented recruitment specialist out there who are dedicated to the bringing together the right candidate with the right role but on the whole most are super busy, looking for the safe, quick solution to a job vacancy.

It’s time to flip your thinking and your approach to job searching.

No more aimlessly looking to see what’s out there. No more hoping something interesting will pop up. No more leaving the process up to chance.

It’s your career. It’s up to you to figure out what you want and to go after it. It’s time to drive the process.

A new approach to job searching.

1. Know who you are. The job search process doesn’t start out there. It starts within. Yes this is the soul searching part of the process.

Before you speak to your network, before you update your LinkedIn profile, before you speak to a recruiter – spend the time to get really clear on;

Be honest with yourself… what do you love to do. What parts of your past roles have filled you with the most joy.

And equally important, what tasks or responsibilities do you never want to do again! And don’t be fooled. It could be something you are seen to be very good at – but let’s be honest – you hate doing it.

2. Set your direction. You may not know at this stage the job title of your next ideal role. But don’t let that hold you back. The world of work is changing so rapidly right now it’s impossible to know what type of opportunities may become available.

Your best option will be to align your job search with the types of tasks and responsibilities you would like to be included in your next ideal role. From all the work you have done looking within, you now know what the non negotiable elements of your new role are.

3. Go to market. Finally … you are now ready to go out proactively to the job market with certainty and clarity. It’s about going out to your network or to recruiters and saying – this is who I am and this is the value I have to offer and this is the type of work I would ideally like to move to next.

By succinctly and confidently articulating what you are looking for next, you are much more likely to illicit support and interest from recruiters and your network.

And if by chance your ideal role does pop up on Seek – you are more likely to be able to articulate to your potential employer exactly why you are the person they have been looking for.

So my question to you today is – “have you fallen into the trap of going out to the market before you truly know what it is that you are looking for?”

If you have it’s time to switch things up.

Yes it will take a little more work up front but the proof is in the pudding as they say.

By following this approach I’ve seen many mid career professional women quickly turn their job search luck around and land the very next role they applied for. Not just any old role – but their ideal role.

Why do I think it works so well?

Because the hidden secrete is that through the soul searching work at the beginning of the process you’ll get super clear and confident on the value you have to offer and why you would be the best candidate for any role which is perfect for you.

And clarity and confidence is an incredibly attractive attribute to demonstrate to your ideal new employer!

If you’re ready to make a change but need a little more clarity about what’s next for you then I invite you to come along to Career by Design – a one day workshop for smart, dynamic, mid career professional women ready for something more.

Click here for more information about this transformation 1 day workshop.

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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businesswoman working on laptop at office, typing something on computer and holding smartphone while sitting at her working place, copy space

Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the…

Have you found yourself reassessing your priorities and reflecting on what truly matters to you? You are certainly not alone. And as we ease into a new year, perhaps you’re finding yourself grappling with the back-to-work blues. Before you throw in the towel, here’s what to consider…

Jane Benston

5 Tips for Blending Work and…

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year.
And with restrictions finally lifted – it’s time to get out and about and connect… in person.

Jane Benston

Side view.Young businesswoman dressed in light pink shirt sitting at wooden table and using laptop while talking on cellphone.Girl uses digital gadget. On table cup of coffee. Online shopping,working.

A Change of Perception

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

Career Crossroads: Should I stay or should I go?

Career Crossroads: Should I stay or should I go?

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Have you been asking yourself; Should I stay or should I go?  It’s a question most of us ask more than once in our professional career. And it’s never a particularly easy question to answer.

You’ve hit a rough patch and you’re wondering is it bad enough to start looking for something else?

Perhaps you’ve lost respect for your line manager or you are in conflict with the business culture. Perhaps you feel undervalued or doing less than you are capable of. Or you have outgrown your role and you’re ready for the next step but you know that career growth opportunities within the business you’re currently in are limited.

So it’s time to decide: “Should I stay or should I go?”

This is the question that my client Vanessa was pondering. She had achieved considerable success over the years but had found herself in a role that was no longer challenging or exciting her. She was bored and she knew she was not producing the level of work that allowed her to feel proud.

When I asked her how she would feel if she was in the same place in one year’s time… she answered “I’d rather be dead.” (Perhaps a little dramatic but you get the picture!)

And yet she remained uncertain about moving on.

Why?

Because she feared stepping out into the unknown! And every new role brings with it many unknowns – a new manager; a new team; a new work culture; new challenges; new expectations; a new routine.

It’s little wonder so many of us stay stuck in roles that no longer bring us joy and fulfilment given that we are hard wired to steer clear of the risk and uncertainty.

But when we make decisions from a place of fear, we miss the possibilities and the upside to change… of which there are many. A new role has the possibility of bringing with it fulfilment, growth, positive challenges, exciting projects, even more money.

So where is your focus? On the possible upsides or downsides of change? 

And just like there are upsides and downsides of change there are upsides and downsides of staying put.

When we focused in on the cost of staying put, Vanessa realised that her reputation was at stake. Her attitude had taken a turn for the worse and her performance had plateaued. On top of that, she had noticed she was constantly tired and had been battling a range of recurring health issues she believed were associated with her unhappiness at work.

By the end of our conversation, Vanessa realised she had been focused on only one part of the picture. She had zeroed in on the fear and uncertainty associated with moving on. 

By examining her situation from all angles, she gained clarity that it was time to dust off her CV, pick up the phone to her network and actively enter the job market.

Here are the 5 key considerations to discover the answer to: "Should I stay or should I go?"

1. Same same! Visualise one year from today. If everything remained the same as it is today would that be ok?

Of course nothing will be exactly the same because the world of work continues to flex and shift at an ever-increasing rate. But if you are passively waiting for your work situation to improve just by chance, then I’m here to remind you that not all corporate driven change will leave you in a better place.

2. The hidden cost. In my experience, there are always costs associated with staying stuck in a role beyond its use by date. What is the cost to your health, reputation, relationships and career ambitions?

Is your current situation impacting your family time? Is allowing your career to stagnate going to make it harder to land your ideal role further down the track?

3. What do you fear? Ask yourself: “what do you fear most about moving on?” Grab a pen and paper and write it down. Do you have legitimate concerns or do you purely fear the unknown?

4. Could you handle it? Ask yourself: “if the worst was to happen… could I handle it?” This is all about creating a back up plan to nullify the risk. For example, many people fear stepping into a new role only to find out it doesn’t live up to their expectations. Not ideal but not necessarily the disaster as it may at first seem.

5. Upsides. Finally, let’s look at ALL the upsides that can come from moving to a new role. And let’s be honest … there is just as much chance – if not more – that moving to a new role will be a positive rather than a negative experience.

Now to decide… should you stay or should you go?

Take a moment to work through these five questions. Be honest with yourself. Have you been focused only on the discomfort and risk that comes with change? What about the cost of staying put? And what about the opportunities you will be missing if you allow your fear to rule your decision?

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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businesswoman working on laptop at office, typing something on computer and holding smartphone while sitting at her working place, copy space

Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the…

Have you found yourself reassessing your priorities and reflecting on what truly matters to you? You are certainly not alone. And as we ease into a new year, perhaps you’re finding yourself grappling with the back-to-work blues. Before you throw in the towel, here’s what to consider…

Jane Benston

5 Tips for Blending Work and…

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year.
And with restrictions finally lifted – it’s time to get out and about and connect… in person.

Jane Benston

Side view.Young businesswoman dressed in light pink shirt sitting at wooden table and using laptop while talking on cellphone.Girl uses digital gadget. On table cup of coffee. Online shopping,working.

A Change of Perception

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston