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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.

What the Queen taught me about unconscious bias

What The Queen Taught Me About Unconscious Bias

 

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.   

This is going to be one of those moments we will talk about in years to come and ask, “where were you when you heard the Queen had died?”   

I will always remember the gorgeous Airbnb in Brunswick Heads in Northern NSW – because just like when the twin towers came down… I was on holidays. 

How about you?  Where were you when you learnt the Queen had died?  

I will also remember my surprise at the degree of sadness and loss I’ve felt. 

Not just for the 70 years of this amazing woman’s life of leadership and service – but also for the pure fact that here was a woman ahead of her time, excelling in her leadership role long before it was common for women to have a place at the leadership table.   

She came to leadership not by choice but through duty.  At just 21 she was thrust into a role so few of us would want, let alone excel in. Yes, she has made mistakes – but haven’t we all.   

What struck me most while I watched her funeral, was my disappointment as I realised we are unlikely to have another female monarch for at least the next 3 generations.  Our new King and the next 2 in line were all on display for us to see. All men. 

And here’s the lesson for me.   

My own unconscious bias… towards a preference for a Queen rather than a King as the head of the monarchy.   

We’ve got so accustomed to the style of leadership the Queen brought to the role. For 70 years we’ve seen no other leadership style.  We’re become comfortable and familiar with having a woman in the role.   

Is it possible the new King – a man – will do a great job too?   

Probably.  

However right now, I’m having a hard time seeing Charles as the head of the monarchy.  Not only because I don’t warm to him.  I don’t see him having the same caring touch, poise, grace or sparkle of the queen – all qualities I’ve come to expect from the Crown.   

But we are going to have to let go of what we’ve come to expect and allow him to Lead His Way.  His leadership style will be different.  He will bring not only his own strengths, passions and quirks – but also the male perspective.   

Just like any new leader – we need to give him a chance to find his way.   

Which brings me back to unconscious bias. 

As we strive to bring more women to the leadership table – we need to be aware of the unconscious bias that is undoubtedly playing out each and every day in workplaces across the globe.  Until recently, senior leadership roles were almost exclusively held by men.  We became comfortable and accustomed to the style of leadership they brought to the table – just like we became accustomed to the style of leadership Queen Elizabeth demonstrated over such a prolonged period.   

Today, as I’ve pondered the Queens final farewell as she was finally laid to rest, I’ve been shocked by my own unconscious bias, and it’s left me wondering about the degree of impact unconscious bias continues to have on hiring managers around the world.   

I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

 

 

Image source:Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP

 

 

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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

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.

Quit being busy and get more strategic!

Quit being busy and get more strategic!

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  to find out more.

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

5 keys to creating momentum for career growth

5 keys to creating momentum for career growth

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.)

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

You are already capable

You are already capable

Have you noticed that many women underestimate their abilities and fail to shine a light on their performance? 

Are you one of those women?

Perhaps, at times, you have thought you needed to know more, learn more or have more experience to be taken seriously, seek promotion or allow your true value to be seen.

If you are … you are absolutely not alone.

No doubt you’ve heard about the studies that have repeatedly found that men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women underestimate both…. while their performance is of equal quality.

A study by HP found that women only applied for a promotion when they believed they met 100% of the qualifications listed for the job. Men were happy to apply when they thought they could meet 60% of the job requirements.

Ladies, if we want to have more of an impact at the leadership table, it is time for us to shift our thinking.

You do not need to learn more. You do not need to be more experienced. You do not need to wait for permission or to be tapped on the shoulder. And, most importantly, you do not need to wait until you feel more comfortable and confident in your abilities.

What you really need is to get out there and get the experience by doing the do. 

You need to apply for that next promotion… even when your experience does not meet 100% of the criteria. You need to step up and tackle that high profile project that will get the attention of those that matter.

Next time you catch yourself thinking you need that next level of expertise before taking a step … STOP IT. You already have enough, know enough and are enough to take action from exactly where you are right now.

We women will never break through the glass ceiling or truly settle into our place at the leadership table in the numbers that will really make a difference while we allow ourselves to think we need everything to be perfect before we make the next move.

It is time to break the long held patterns of thinking and to create some new rules to live and work by. No more waiting, perfecting and pondering.   It is about taking action, surrounding yourself with great people and learning as you go.

Here’s how to build the courage to step into all you are capable of –

  1. Notice your wins. Each week there are things to be proud of.  Sometimes they will be big things that are hard to ignore – but more often than not they will be small, almost insignificant, but wins all the same.  The more you focus on the things you do well – the more you’ll notice all that you are capable of.

  2.  Stop listening to your inner critic. Your inner critic is there to keep you safe and free from danger. But don’t believe everything it’s telling you is true. Look for evidence that you can rather than listening to all the reasons why you can’t.

  3.  Don’t do it alone. Surround yourself with a network of other advancing people who will lift you up, challenge you and support your growth. This may mean finding some new people to hang with.

Looking for a positive community of women to lift you higher.  Join us in Leading Ladies – a free group for mid-career professional women.

  1. Know you’ve got this. It is time to be brave and take action in spite of your fear and uncertainty. You are already smart enough, talented enough, experienced enough!  All that’s missing is you believing that you can.  It is only through putting yourself out there that you will prove that to be true. 

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

5 Ways You Can Start Leading Your Way, Now.

5 WAYS YOU CAN START LEADING YOUR WAY, NOW.

As I shared in this article, the number one thing you need to do to be a great leader and advance your career in 2021, is to show your true self. 

Now, as great as this is for us ladies, my guess is that some of you are sitting at home thinking, ‘Yes Jane, but that’s easier said than done. How do I show more of my true self?’

Today I want to share 5 practical ways you can step more fully into your true self, so you can lead in a way that works for you (and therefore feels easy, elegant and enjoyable!)

Before I jump in though, I want to acknowledge the fact that stepping into your own leadership style, and leading your way, can sometimes feel uncomfortable and (let’s be honest) scary.

It takes courage to step outside the traditional leadership mold – even if it is outdated – and be ourselves.

It takes bravery to show up, instead of flying under the radar, and allow our colleagues and staff to get to know the real us. 

It takes guts to lead OUR way, and let go of the pressure we feel to be someone we’re not (like being assertive when that’s just not in our DNA!)

The simple fact that you’re here with me right now, reading these words, shows me just how great a leader you truly are. That you’re willing to embrace these challenges, so you can lead in a way that compliments who you truly are, rather than ticks the boxes of who you think you need to be, is cause for celebration.

Now, let’s get practical, shall we…

Here are 5 ways you can start leading your way – today!

1. Be you

I want you to repeat after me, ‘I am enough’. 

‘I AM ENOUGH’.

You are valuable, and you are who you are truly meant to be, just as you are. The more you can bring your true character into your workplace, the more people will be able to get to know you, like you and trust you. 

Do you have a quirky side? Let your team see it! Do your loved ones describe you as ‘real’ and ‘down to earth’? Let it shine through! The more YOU you can be, the better!

Consider: What makes you, you? How can you be more of your true self in your workplace?  

2. Model wisely

Having role models is very important as a leader BUT you need to choose the right ones for you.

Don’t just model the leader you report to, or your CEO – model the leader you look up to and whose leadership style resonates with how you want to lead. 

Consider: What leadership traits do you admire and respect?

3. Mix and match

Because everyone is different and no one role model will ever have all the traits we ourselves aspire to have, it helps to mix and match and have a number of people we can look up to.

Perhaps you admire how your Manager speaks up in meetings, or how your past employer would create space to think and reflect before she responded to a complex situation. 

Consider: Which 6 leaders do you look up to? What traits of theirs do you admire?

5. Have the courage to lead

It’s your time to really believe in yourself, step forward and take up more space in your workplace. No more hiding and no more dulling your light. So many opportunities will reveal themselves to you when you have the courage to be seen and lead.

Consider: How can you allow yourself to be seen more in your workplace?

6. Own it

Own your greatness, claim your space (in your workplace and in this world) and give yourself full permission to lead YOUR way. You deserve to lead, just as much as the next person. Now is your time! 

Consider: What are 5 of your greatest qualities as a human, and as a leader?


Ladies, no more being who you think you need to be in order to lead! It’s time to lead in a way that compliments who you truly are. 

P.S. Know that I’m over here cheering you on – and that constant cheering and encouragement is always available to you in our free Facebook Group. This group is specifically for mid career professional women. If that’s you – we’d love to have you join the conversation.

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

The number 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader and advance your career in 2021

The number 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader and advance your career in 2021

Like most mid-career professional women, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that 2020 created huge disruptions and upheavals in your life.

Perhaps you went from working in the office, to working at home sharing a space with kids and other family members.

Maybe you had to increase your capacity to hold space for the complex emotions of your staff and colleagues? No doubt you had to support them to sit with uncertainty and fear too!

And it’s likely you had to step up, and be even more adaptable, strategic and forward thinking.

What made a great leader led prior to 2021, is likely to be vastly different to how your workplace needs you to lead now. What worked in the past simply won’t be the way going forward. 

Given this shift, here’s the NUMBER 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader, support your organisation to grow and progress your career in 2021.

Show more of your true self.

Do you feel like 2020 asked to take your mask off and be more yourself?

Times are changing and the women we thought we had to be in order to be seen, progress our careers and break through into our next level of leadership, impact and recognition, was thrown out the window.

As a leader in 2021, your workplace needs you to be more YOU, not who you think you need to be in order to get seen and succeed. In fact in 2021, being YOU is the key to fast tracking your professional progress!

Why? Because people are craving depth and more ‘realness’ in the workplace. 2020 brought everyone’s humanness to the forefront and now, people are needing and expecting this more than ever.

As well as this, being your true self by expressing emotions like vulnerability and authenticity are a must going forward. 

As I shared in this article, many corporate environments in the past, made us believe that emotions didn’t belong at work, and should be suppressed and pushed below the surface.

But this simply isn’t true – especially in 2021.

Emotions like vulnerability and authenticity are anything but weak, and they’re not inappropriate or something to be ashamed of. 

2020 was a watershed moment that woke everyone up and in this waking, the human side of leadership came to be encouraged, embraced and celebrated.

Now is your time to infuse more of YOU into your workplace, and step up as an empowered feminine leader who is comfortable expressing yourself openly, vulnerably and authentically.


As I share in Ignite – our 8 week group online program for mid career women, 2021 truly is your time to lead your way. 

No more feeling like a ‘square peg in a round hole’ in your workplace, and no more trying to emulate an out-of-date version of what a good leader was. 

What your career needs, in order for it to progress, and your organisation needs in order for it to grow, is for you to own your uniqueness and lead in a way that feels true to you.

Never has there been a better time to fully step into your feminine power and lead in a way that feels right for you! You’ve got this!

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

Why you must stop doing and start leading.

Why you must stop doing and start leading.

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

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

Why working hard is hurting your professional growth

Why working hard is hurting your professional growth

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.

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