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From doing it all … to not!

From doing it all … to not!

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.   

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader.  It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity.  

So much of what we ‘do’ is tied up in how we see ourselves.   

Making the shift to seeing ourselves as a valuable leader can sometimes be difficult for women who’ve held the busy label for many years. However, in leadership, and in life in general, busy is the highway to burnout. No thanks!   

The shift in activity that comes with a leadership role, from doing to leading, can feel seismic, especially for those women who have made a career out of being known as the woman who gets things done. This reminds me of that infuriating quote/meme:  

‘If you want something done, ask a busy woman.’  

It’s such a patronising, manipulative ethos designed to simultaneously stroke a woman’s ego and leave her in the lurch of taking on the heavy lifting. At the risk of repeating myself, no thanks times infinity!  

While it’s not necessarily easy for a woman to step away from doing it all, it’s not impossible.  

In fact, it’s one of the most remarked upon outcomes of my work with mid-career women. Once they stop doing the busy, out of leadership scope work, women have the space and the capacity to tackle – and embrace – their leadership role of thinking, driving, leading and (depending on their leadership style) serving aspects. They can be visionary and strategic. They can guide rather than do.  

By definition, leadership is about thinking. The traits of good leadership are almost all conceptual rather than activity based. It’s analysis, facilitative thinking, enabling, communicating and decision making, generating and bringing to life opportunities. Deep, strategic, critical thinking, not (necessarily) the execution or the doing. A big picture perspective becomes essential to this process.  

In ‘busy’ doing work we can’t see the big picture. We’re stuck in getting sh*t done mode, ticking through the list. The result is a disproportionate workload that makes us feel like rubbish. It also leads to disengagement, stress and potentially even burnout.  

Getting caught up in the busy work often means we’re doing work that’s not taking advantage of our capabilities nor our potential. It’s often soul destroying and erodes self confidence.  

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should!  

When we spend time after hours and on weekends doing the ‘stuff’ that didn’t get completed in business hours we erode our boundaries which are designed to protect us.  

A side note: so many times I see ‘taking one for the team’ accompanying this ‘doing’ mode of operandi. This does us no favours and is a massive breach of our boundaries.  

Want an example?  

Picture a meeting room, and someone says ‘who wants to take the minutes?’ Of course, no-one wants to take the minutes. Who would? There’s a few moments of uncomfortable silence and then a woman raises her hand. So instead of contributing her expertise, experience and smarts to the discussion as a leader, she’s recording it.  

I think it’s important to note that this type of behaviour, ie not having allocated roles for meetings ahead of time, is really symptomatic of a poor organisational culture, but it doesn’t change the fact that rather than step into her leadership, a woman has relegated herself down the ladder. Sadly, this isn’t an isolated incident across the many, many women I’ve worked with.  

On this – as a leader you have an obligation to be a good role model. We all know that there’s gender inequality in the workplace. Statistically, women are more likely to put their hand up to volunteer for work that won’t progress their career.  What message are you sending the young women sitting around the table?  

When you don’t automatically volunteer to take on the “housekeeping” jobs you are role modeling for the young women at the table that they don’t always have to either.  And you never know…  you may just allow space for a bloke to put his hand up. 

So, how to make this transition from doing it all to not? 

We could ask the workplace to step up – ha!   

Change is always more embedded with long term stickiness when it’s self-directed.  

I’m a big proponent of what gets measured gets managed. Have you ever tried time tracking? It’s illuminating. You can’t argue with data that tells you exactly how much of your working day is spent involved in tasks that have no bearing on your leadership.  

Start with building better boundaries  

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. These are not flippy floppy boundaries – but boundaries protected with barbed wire!  Without barbed wire boundaries, there’s simply no time or space to effectively lead. Enough said.  

Boundaries in place? Great! Now we enforce them.  

Don’t be the first to ‘just get on with it’ or volunteer to do something just because nobody else is stepping up. Either delegate if that’s within your remit or politely decline.  

This applies to your personal life too. I was recently chatting to someone who was having a mini-grumble about a friend cancelling a lunch because they had to dole out basketball uniforms for their local community club. Here’s the kicker – the uniform coordinator’s kids had long stopped playing yet she was still stuck in that role! 

And now for a word on delegation.  

It’s an art and a science in itself, or it could be. Allocate the task, check understanding and then let people do their jobs! Clear communication of your expectations is key. Clarity will get the best and the most out of your team and will help them stay on track and focused on delivering your strategy or vision. 

This brings me to the concept of trust.  

Trust your team, allow people to get on with it, scaffolded by your clearly communicated expectations.  

Being helpful, useful and reliable – focused on doing the do may have supported your career progression up to this point.  But sadly, from this point forward it’s going to hold you back.   

As a leader you need to move from the role of do-er/implementer and shift your focus to be one of leading others to do that execution.  

Leadership is about enabling, and at the core? It’s a conscious decision on how you want to show up as a leader. This is not something you need to explore alone – let’s have a conversation about how I can be of support as you transition from a reliable doer to an exceptional leader.  

 

 

 

 

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My story, amplified

So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?  

Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story… 

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all. There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

Businessman having stress in the office

Leading through and beyond burnout

Imagine this….

You’re sitting in the car park at work with a splitting headache and with that sinking feeling of here we go again. The 3 coffees you’ve downed already to give you a bit of an energetic lift haven’t helped; in fact, you feel more than a little shaky. Your phone has lit up like a Christmas tree with fires you’re expected to put out, yet all you want to do is book a room at the nearest hotel, close the blinds and sleep for days.

Jane Benston

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.

My story, amplified

Jane-Benston-Programs

My story, amplified

Over a decade ago I launched my consultancy, Jane Benston, delivering leadership coaching to women in mid-career roles looking to step up the corporate ladder without burning out or selling their soul, two critical caveats to success in my world view! So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?  

Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story… 

My about page shares some of the not-so-pretty details about my own personal career journey and path to my role now as a leadership coach for women. I thought I’d share a bit more of the story of how a girl from a sheep and cattle farm in central Victoria came to be working with incredible women from across Australia achieving remarkable feats in their careers, and more importantly, loving their work.  

I’ve worked extensively as a womens leadership coach, corporate trainer and career strategist since starting my business in 2011. Prior to this, I had over 15 yearsexperience working in corporate leadership. I experienced first hand the impact of strong, female leadership both on the bottom line of a business as well as from a workplace culture perspective. Today, I absolutely love that I continue to play a part in nurturing female leadership.  

My career started as an Occupational Therapist before quickly transitioning to working for 2 incredibly talented strong women in a small but rapidly growing dynamic business, negotiating return to work solutions for injured workers.   

Next came my step into the corporate Health and Safety space.  

For the first fifteen years or so in the workforce I had regular promotions and new opportunities as I followed a path and climbed a somewhat predictable career ladder. I loved my work, I loved making a difference and I really, really loved how easily the pay rises and promotions came my way!  

I was proud of how my income was affording me a wonderful lifestyle – enjoying fabulous holidays and adventures overseas and independently purchasing my first home. My role also included a ton of interstate travel which, again, as a farm girl, never stopped being a ‘pinch me’ moment. My parents also took it as confirmation that their girl had made it! 

As my career progressed, my leadership skills and strong results were recognised more and more. I had incredible mentors and cheerleaders who were in my corner, supporting me, advocating for me and encouraging me.  

As a single woman without children, my work was incredibly important to me and was closely attached to my sense of self. I was fiercely independent, I wanted to make a real difference and I knew I had the skills and expertise to do that.  

Everything was going according to plan, my plan, until it wasn’t. 

Enter a corporate takeover which saw me working in a position and a role that just wasn’t me. It didn’t fit. I didn’t fit. I was that proverbial square peg in a round hole, or to use one of Dad’s favourite farming sayings, I was flogging a dead horse. I lost my mojo, my sense of direction and all belief in my skills. With that loss followed my sense of identity. The result?  My confidence was in tatters. 

Every time I walked through the office doors my heart would sink. It’s a feeling that’s difficult to describe, but one that’s familiar to anyone knowing intrinsically that they’re not where they should be. It was like walking around with a boulder in the pit of my stomach. Happy, fulfilled and engaged at work? I think not!   

Here’s the thing with psychological stress – very rarely does it restrict itself to a mindset issue.  

Hello burnout! 

My health fell apart.  My brain was foggy. My joints ached. My sleep was disturbed, I experienced unexplained dizziness. I’d cry for no good reason. I was EXHAUSTED. Put simply, I felt like crap. All the time.  

I made the difficult decision to put my health first and walk away from my corporate career, saying goodbye to a great salary and job security. With my confidence already shot, it was incredibly scary to make that move, but I knew I needed to make a change. I also knew I didn’t want to make that change alone.  

My first step was to find a coach to guide me through this huge transition. I didnt want to just survive, I wanted to thriveand I knew I was going to have to bare my soul, so the coach had to be someone that could give me a safe space. 

The coaching process led me to the world of self-development. I was fascinated by the amazing world of neuroscience, and I invested a ton into my own personal development. I buried myself in every book and course I could find, as well as throwing myself into learning about human behaviour and the importance of empowered feminine leadership.  

I learnt the secret code for controlling the inner critic and boosting confidence. I discovered simple language structures for becoming an influential communicator and recognising behaviours that get in the way of success. I applied everything I learnt to myself and in response? Everything changed. 

Investing in myself paid off, big time, across all measures 

I was happier, healthier and more fulfilled than I had been in years. I found more confidence, more clarity and more direction than ever before. I loved the person I was becoming and, for the first time ever, I believed with absolute certainty that I could achieve anything I wanted. 

Fast forward to todayand not only am I reaching all my goals, Im helping other women to do the same.  

My corporate experience is backed up with qualifications in behaviour profiling, executive coaching and neuroscience. My approach is fresh, warm and energetic, and I believe in making every coaching experience fun and transformational. Ive worked with some of the biggest names and brightest minds in Australian business, and helped hundreds of women to believe in themselves, to find their perfect next role and to lead in a way that’s congruent with who they are. 

I love helping driven women unlock their limitless potential both personally and professionally – and Ive dedicated my career to doing just that. I work with women to get the results they deserve. I’m rarely without fresh flowers on my desk, a candle nearby and a glass of bubbles on hand for when women bring their aspirations to life.  

To find out more about working with me, please reach out

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Similar Blog Posts

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all. There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

Businessman having stress in the office

Leading through and beyond burnout

Imagine this….

You’re sitting in the car park at work with a splitting headache and with that sinking feeling of here we go again. The 3 coffees you’ve downed already to give you a bit of an energetic lift haven’t helped; in fact, you feel more than a little shaky. Your phone has lit up like a Christmas tree with fires you’re expected to put out, yet all you want to do is book a room at the nearest hotel, close the blinds and sleep for days.

Jane Benston

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.

Back to work Blues? Here’s what to do.

Back to work Blues? Here’s what to do.

After quite a significant year in 2020, of doing our best to adapt to the changes brought about by COVID-19, have you found yourself re-evaluating your priorities and what’s important to you?  Are you battling the back-to-work-blues?

Perhaps you have returned to work after some precious time out, reconnecting with your friends and family and immersing yourself in all those activities that truly bring you joy.  As you step back into the office it would be normal to experience a little sadness for the loss of the sense of freedom that comes with long days at the beach, the joy of settling into a good book or enjoying a long lunch with friends.

But if you are dreading the end of holiday time and wondering how you will survive the year as it stretches out ahead of you… then perhaps it is time to reconsider whether you and your job are meant for one another.

However, before you take this as permission to go out and quit your job, lets first look at a few ideas that might help you reignite your career mojo.

How to overcome the back-to-work-blues:

1. Clarify Your Goals.

I know you have heard this one before and you may have wondered if it’s really important. Well, it is! One year is much more likely to flow into the next without you actually making any progress in the absence of the focus and direction that comes from setting goals.

If goals are not your thing, then one idea I like to play with each year, is to set a theme for the year. For example, I had a year of focusing on taking action outside my comfort zone and another year it was about building relationships and connections. What will be your theme this year?

2.  Set Boundaries.

This one is for you if you have found yourself consistently working longer and longer hours. All of us know that we will need to put in some extra hours from time to time, but when it becomes the norm we have let it go too far.

I recently worked with a client whose average working day had stretched out to be more than 12 hours EVERY day. Her health was suffering, and she was beginning to resent the fact that she was spending so little time with her family. By simply setting some personal boundaries, identifying some opportunities to maximise her efforts and saying NO to the extra tasks that were not her responsibility, she reclaimed more than two hours a day of personal time.

3. Commit to working smarter not harder.

No matter how you juggle your schedule, the number of hours in the day will always remain the same. But it is possible to adjust your habits to create more time for the things that matter most.

Working smarter starts with planning regularly, carving out specific time in your diary for the bigger, more strategic tasks to be completed at your most productive time of the day and to delegate those tasks that don’t need to be done specifically by you.

 4. Focus on your strengths.

Ask yourself, are you working to your strengths or has your role morphed into a bunch of tasks that do not capitalise on what you do best? When you work to your strengths you are much more likely to enjoy the work you do and produce much better results to boot!

5. Strengthen your working relationships.

For many people the quality of their working relationships determine the degree of job satisfaction. And like any type of relationship… this takes some work. It is about staying connected, adding value, collaborating and supporting others to meet common goals.

6. Focus on your personal wellbeing. There is a growing mountain of research that points to the value of focusing on healthy eating, making time for exercise and taking time out to still the mind through meditation or mindfulness. It is hard to be at your best at work while also having energy for an active and fulfilling life outside of work, if you are not taking care of your heath.

7. Set an end point.

If, after all of this, you are still struggling to find enjoyment and fulfilment at work, then perhaps it is time to take the plunge and go after something new. Life is too short to spend most of your waking hours stuck in a job that does not “float your boat.” 

Commit now to an end point, a date by which time you will either have found a way to re-ignite your career mojo or to move on!

Now it is over to you. 

If you have been hit by the back-to-work-blues and are struggling to get fired up and motivated for another year, then it is time to do things differently. Without change you are destined for more of the same. So, go out and do what it takes to re-ignite the spark for more enjoyment and fulfilment in your work.

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

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?  

Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story… 

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all. There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

New Year. New Job. The 5 steps to take before you apply for anything.

New Year. New Job. The 5 steps to take before you apply for anything.

Over the summer break, you’ve had time to reflect, particularly in light of the impact of COVID-19 during the past year. Perhaps you’ve had the opportunity to see yourself, your career, and your priorities through a different lens, and now you are ready to embrace change that utilises your greatest strengths. Good for you!

Perhaps you’re looking for greater job satisfaction, more work-life balance, better compensation that’s aligned with your skills, a healthy corporate culture, more variety, a leader who inspires you, or to have a greater impact. Whatever the reason … you know that it’s going to take time and energy.

SEEK research found that 90% of Australians take up to six months to find and secure a new job.

But there are some key things you can do to make your job search easier, faster and help you to land your ideal next role.

And it’s not all about jumping into action.

Not yet. Hold your horses for a moment ladies.

First we need to set the foundations; do the ground work and set you up for success.

Here’s where to start:

1. Clarify what you want.

Ok so I hear you saying… that’s my problem Jane, I’m not sure what I want.

This is not about identifying a job title. The world of work and how we work is changing so rapidly right now it’s likely the title for your next role hasn’t even been dreamed up.

Start with what you know you do want, and who you want to be.

What kind of impact do you want to make? What lights you up? What key skills do you want to be using? Do you want to be leading a team? Do you want the opportunity to work from home? Do you want travel to be part of the role?  What types of activities do you enjoy and will help you to achieve the above each day?


2. Be clear about what you don’t want. 

This is equally as important as knowing what you do want.

Perhaps you have become known to be good at certain tasks or a role that you really don’t enjoy.

Some years ago, I became known as the expert/go-to girl in managing the annual self-insurance safety audit. I may have been really good at it … but I loathed this task!

I was really good at influencing the key stakeholders throughout the business to be involved, providing the necessary documentation and to prepare them to effectively answer the auditor’s questions.

But I was terrible at all the attention to detail that was required in the three-month long project. PLEASE poke pins in my eyes before I have to do this type of project again!

How about you? What would you rather not do in your next role?

3. Understand your strengths. 

This step is key. Be really, really, clear about what your key strengths are.

I ask this question of smart, professional women every day… and almost every single time they struggle to answer. And if they do manage to get out a couple of dot points, I’m rarely convinced they believe these are their strengths.

Ladies … you have to get clear and comfortable to SELL who you are and what it is you would bring to your next role.

4. Know your value. 

You are so much more than a list of attributes or the jobs you’ve held in the past. Yes, these are part of the story but not the complete picture.

You are unique and have a special value to bring to your next role. What is it?

Susan’s unique gift is that she is a master at uniting a team to deliver way beyond the business expectations. Carissa is a genius in taking a complex idea and bringing it to life in a no-nonsense kind of way. Katy is known within her industry to be invaluable in the negotiation phase of multi-million dollar IT projects.

You have a unique value to share. It’s time to own it! Make it clear in your CV, LinkedIn profile and during the interview stage, that you would be an impressive asset to the right employer.

5. Decide you’re worthy.

Because you are. You know you are capable of so much more and you want to contribute in a bigger, more significant way.

But let me tell you … the most likely thing standing between you and your ideal next role is YOU. I know, harsh but true.

If you don’t believe you’re worthy of the types of roles you really aspire to…. no-one else will believe you either. Your lack of self-belief will seep through in your job applications, your networking efforts and in your interviews.


Ladies, it’s time to embrace all of who you are and the value you have to offer.

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

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?  

Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story… 

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all. There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

Future proof your career post COVID.

Here's how to future proof your career post Covid.

The rate and extent of workplace change that we have witnessed in just a few short months has been huge. The way we work, where we work and, most importantly, what we work on, has in many ways changed forever.

We don’t yet know yet what the new normal will look like – but we can be sure that most organisations will not slip back into business as usual, as it was before. 

We can expect some degree of working from home to be the new normal, a greater reliance on technology for managing remote working and I’m sure many organisations will use this as an opportunity to review pretty much everything about the who, what, where and how of work.

As they say – “never let a good crisis go to waste!”

A recent survey of NAB employees across the country suggested that 80% of employees now want the opportunity and flexibility to do some work from home.

While many big and small organisations are already considering what their needs for office space moving forward will be.

And furthermore … I expect that all organisations will be reviewing whether they have the right people for the right roles going forward.  

So … let’s make sure you are focusing your time, energy and resources in the right areas to future proof your career. 

Ready to future proof your career? Here’s how!

 1. Embrace change. 

Change is the only constant we can rely on! There is no point fighting it, resisting it or trying to stand in its way. It is here to stay and will only get faster and more significant.

Start by looking at how you can position yourself  to take full advantage of changes occurring in your organisation or industry. Look upon the changes happening right now as an opportunity for growth rather than fearing the shift in status quo. 

Your ability to be flexible and take full advantage of this time will be the difference between being left behind and using it as an opportunity to accelerate your career  progression. 

2. Embrace your unique skills and talent.

Your career pathway may not be as certain as it was before, however being clear on what your unique skills and talents are allows you the flexibility to consider a much broader range of opportunities.  

When considering your next career step – think more about what value you can bring to a team, business or industry, rather than relying on following the well worn pathway others within your field have taken. That pathway may no longer exist or may not even be the right one for you based on your skills. 

3. Embrace leading remotely

Whether you lead a team, projects or you are a SME with influence – one thing is for sure... your ability to lead remotely will become increasingly important.  

Take the time now to hone your skills in this area. Right now we are all finding our way with this, so it’s not about getting it right. It’s about trying things out, seeing what works for you and adapting your leadership style to get the best outcomes.   

4. Embrace new opportunities.

Believe it or not – right now I’m seeing plenty of interesting opportunities out there.  

With crisis comes disruption to the status quo.  And because of this many organisations are reviewing EVERYTHING. Which means there are many interesting projects, positions and opportunities opening up.   

Many aren’t being advertised – but rather being filled via networks, referrals and recommendations. So if you want to be considered for one of these opportunities, I’d suggest now is the time to be tapping into your networks, strengthening your internal and external relationships and speaking about what types of opportunities you’d like to be considered for.   

Do not leave your professional future up to chance!  

Future proofing your career is all about adapting to the environment we now find ourselves in. Resisting change is futile. Instead, focus your energy towards embracing the opportunities that this situation has offered up.   

The world of work is changing rapidly and opportunities abound for those who are ready.  But if you are not… you could very easily find yourself irrelevant and without a clear career pathway forward. 

Good luck.  Stay well.  

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

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?  

Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story… 

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all. There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

What got you HERE, will not get you THERE

What got you HERE, will not get you THERE

You have worked out what you want for your career. You are ambitious, driven and courageous. You have your future mapped out and high expectations around what you and your team can achieve.

You have tasted success and you have “lucked” into some really great opportunities by being in the right place at the right time. Up ‘until now, your career has unfolded pretty much as planned.

So why have all the great opportunities dried up?

It can be scary, hugely frustrating and very unfamiliar territory for many high achieving professionals. You’re doing what you have always done but it is no longer getting you recognised, rewarded or promoted.

Many leaders make the mistake of believing that, provided they continue to do what they have always done, they will keep making progress in their career. Let’s face it – it has worked well so far.

But sadly, the habits, actions and thinking that got you here will not necessarily take you to the next level.

In the early years of your career, purely working hard, getting the job done and continuing to grow your technical skills was all it took for the accolades to roll in.

But, as a mentor once said to me, as we move to a new level, we need to overcome new devils. This might be to overcome our fear of speaking up, letting go of our habit of over-delivering, learning to delegate more effectively or stepping up to a new level of strategic thinking.

It is the same for growing your team results. A new level of results will take a new level of thinking, new decision making strategies and even more courageous action.

Recently I worked with a leadership team at a two day retreat to create the foundations for their five year strategy. Over the past 18 months, they have operated in survival mode to take the business out of the red and back into the black. They are now achieving good results and are poised to create great results. We acknowledged that what it took for the business to merely survive was not what was needed to build an exciting, thriving organisation that would be seen as the leader in their field.

Yes, strategy is a critically important element but great results start with the best people playing their part to the best of their ability.

Our first step towards exceptional team results was to look at what each member of the leadership team needed to do differently to create a new level of results. For some, that meant tweaking the way they operated within the leadership team, for others it meant identifying areas of personal growth such as improving their communication skills, collaborating more or remaining focused on the key business priorities.

Great results for the team start with each team member performing to their potential. The outcome of the team will only be as good as the weakest link. Just like in an orchestra, all the musicians need to put in the work to grow their skill in their particular area of expertise, but also to work together in harmony to create beautiful music.

If what got you here, wont get you there, what do you need to do to create some new outcomes?

1.  Get clear on where THERE is. Start by getting clear on what you want for your career, your leadership and your team. What do you want to achieve? What do you want your team to achieve? It is only once we know what we want to achieve, that we recognise what we need to do differently to get there.

2.  Seek feedback. Honest feedback is the foundation for change. We are usually blind to our own limitations, challenges and behaviours holding us back. As one of the leaders at the retreat said, feedback can feel a little like a slap in the face. It can be painful, but not knowing can be even worse.

3.  Commit to change. Given that what got you here will not get you there; commitment to change is the next step. Commit to delegating more, taking more courageous action, creating a more engaging team environment, providing more feedback to the team, taking time out for creative thinking. Commit to whatever it is that will take to get you and your team “There.”

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Ladies … It Is Time To Lead Like A Woman

Ladies … It Is Time To Lead Like A Woman

Women continue to struggle to make their mark on the corporate landscape with the number of women securing leadership roles sadly lagging behind their male counterparts.

It saddens me to walk into leadership meetings to find the disproportionate representation of men and women on the team. 

A recent Ernst & Young women in leadership report concluded that “leadership groups make smarter, more informed decisions; customers are better understood; employees are less cynical and more engaged; and organisations gain competitive advantage” when there are large numbers of senior women within the organisation.

With only 16% to 20% of leadership positions occupied by women, clearly something needs to change. 

It is wonderful to see the conversation around how to support and promote women in leadership roles gaining momentum.  It is clear there is no one simple answer to this challenge.  There is robust debate about whether we should have quotas, the need for more ideal female role models, the impact senior men can have on encouraging more women and training to help women get the competitive edge. The answer will undoubtedly take a combination of all of these.   

But I believe it is also time for women to stop competing with men and start embracing their unique, brilliant feminine skills and capabilities to add to the corporate equation.  It is time we started to lead like women!

Mid last century women, in large numbers, discovered they liked working, earning money and gaining recognition for their talents.  They demanded to be treated equally to men and, in order to succeed in business, they believed they had to become like men and compete with them for the prized senior roles. 

Unfortunately, this means leaving much of our innate femininity behind.  On a primal level men and women are essentially wired differently.   

Women are hardwired to desire cooperation, collaboration and operate from a place of compassion, empathy and intuition.  While men – generally speaking – are driven to bring home a good income for their family, achieve status and recognition and are firmly focused on achieving targets and goals.

Given that historically most workplaces have been male dominated for a very long time, they essentially operate from a masculine paradigm where the focus is on winning, power and the bottom line. 

When we let go of our natural, innate strengths and reject our feminine energy, we don’t feel right…  but often we don’t know why.  

Women tell me they feel disconnected, constantly tired and struggle between making decisions from a compassionate, intuitive place verses from a logical numbers, driven perspective.

It is important to recognise that both men and women develop strong leadership skills when they tap into both their masculine and feminine energy.  It is not an either or but a combination that makes the most powerful leaders.

So ladies … it time to be bold and lead like a woman!  You will feel better, see better results from your team and create a more engaged, happier workplace. 

Here are some tips to bring your strong feminine energy to work.

1.  Recognise your strengths.  Start by recognising and acknowledging your unique strengths.   Are you bringing all of who you are and what you are capable of to your role?   

2.  Connect even more.  We love to connect and we are good at it.  So do more of it!  But lets also be a little strategic about it.  Who can you connect, network and build a relationship with, who might be able to support you and help you tap into new leadership opportunities. 

3.  Collaborate for powerful outcomes.  Collaboration is a key strength of many women.  It is time to break down the barriers and competitive nature of many workplaces and start working more effectively together to reach a common goal.  

Get your team on board.  We all bring so much more to our work if we feel involved and included.  An engaged team will bring you results that will get you noticed!

4.  Dress like a woman.  Stop blending in and looking like one of the men at work.  Identify your style, dress for success and bring a touch of femininity to your outfit.  However, keep it professional.  There is no place for your “girls” being out on show in the office. 

5.  Manage your energy.  Work life balance is a myth with many women holding down busy paid employment and then heading home to step into their second full time role as mother, wife and social organiser. 

To avoid burn out, one solution is to understand what activities give you energy and build more of these into your day.  Discover what tasks deplete you and delegate as many of these as you can.  If most of your work is made up of energy sappers … it is time to ask yourself whether you are in the right role.

Women bring unique and important attributes to leadership such as building relationships, collaboration and partnerships – all of which trump traditional power and competition of the masculine workplace.

Workplaces everywhere are crying out for a change in the way we do things and I believe, in many instances, the increased participation of women in leadership positions, leading as women from their feminine power, is the answer.

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.

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