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Mindset: How leadership success is an inside job

Mindset: How leadership success is an inside job

So often we think about leadership growth in terms of learning new skills, gaining more experience or expanding technical knowledge. While these are all critically important elements of leadership success, they will only get you so far.

The difference that makes the difference is working on our mindset. There always comes a time when we need to work on our inner game to maximise our outer performance and results.

Our mindset influences our productivity, our courage, our confidence, how we present ourselves, the language we use, the conversations we have, how we respond to the challenges we face, the opportunities we seize, whether we are intimidated or bold or whether we lean in or fade into the background.

Our mindset impacts everything we do everyday and in every part of our lives.

Mindset is….

Mindset is our habitual patterns of thinking combined with our beliefs and values…which determines our actions and ultimately our outcomes and results.

Have you ever wanted to achieve something but felt like you were holding yourself back? I see women getting in the way of their own success every day. We all do it. Me included.

It is a bit like having one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the break!

All that happens is that you end up going no where fast. It leaves you exhausted and frustrated and wondering what you are doing wrong. This chaos is created when what we think we want is not in alignment with our values and beliefs.

I recently worked with an extraordinary leader who was clear about the type of leadership role she wanted to move into but had been unsuccessful in the job hunt for more than 6 months. She was highly skilled, talented and experienced but had created an unconscious belief that she wasn’t worthy of a well paid role, that she wasn’t old enough and was fearing how her relationship with her partner might change if she was “successful.”

These unconscious beliefs were holding her back and sabotaging her performance during job interviews.

Through our work together she reframed some hurtful past experiences, eliminated her fears and changed the way she saw herself. She grew in confidence, developed a strong professional presence and to her delight, soon after, landed the perfect role she had been hoping for, for so long.

Our natural reaction when we hit a career plateau or road block is often to work harder, learn more, do more when really the place to focus in on our mindset.

When we start here and make a transformation in our mindset everything else follows.   The results we achieve on the outside are directly linked to everything we are within.

Here are my tips to get your mindset transformation started….

1.  Recognise Resistance. Resistance to change, growth or new things often relates to an internal struggle. Recognise it for what it is…. a sign alerting you to conflict between your conscious thoughts and your unconscious inner ‘stuff’ getting in your way and needing your attention before you move forward. Pay attention to the resistance and ask yourself; “What is this about?”

2.  Uncover and challenge limiting beliefs. Our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us generally guide our action, behaviours and outcomes. Identify the beliefs you have about yourself that are standing in your way (ie: I’m not good enough, I’m too old, fear of success, fear of failure etc) and question whether theirs beliefs are relevant, real or serving you.

Given that our beliefs are unconscious and usually remain hidden even to ourselves… the very act of identifying and question their validity is enough to transform our thinking, actions and behaviours.

3.  New Level, New Devil. Regardless of how much work you have done on your mindset in the past, there is always more. As one of my mentors once said to me… “New level, new devil!” And she was right. Every time we raise our expectations of ourselves and look to play a bigger game there is a new layer of “gunk” to work through.

So next time you hit a speed hump in your pursuit of career and leadership success… take some time to work on up levelling your mindset. It will not only pay dividends with your career but also in your personal life.

LET'S CONNECT

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

Similar Blog Posts

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

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

3 things to let go of in pursuit of career success

3 things to let go of in pursuit of career success

So often when we think about getting ahead in our career we think about what we need to do more of or be better at or what new action we must take, but very often the place to start has more to do with what we must let go of. The path to a career that is meaningful and fulfilling is often not a path of adding to or gaining something, but of removal or letting go.

I hear it all the time from the women I work with who are at a crossroads and are searching for direction and clarity about the next phase in their career. Yes there are absolutely actions that are instrumental to creating the momentum to move towards that next promotion, change of career direction or even taking the leap out of the corporate world and into a new business venture.

But… there are always things we need to give up and let go of first.

Deciding to let go of the thinking, beliefs, emotions, things and other “baggage” that are holding us back – is often a hidden key to moving towards that next big thing in our career.  It is all about clearing out the junk and clutter and making room for the new.

3 Things To LET GO Of In Pursuit Of Career Success  

1.  Let go of the status quo. The one thing that I can guarantee is that change is inevitable and the more we hold on tight to the status quo the harder life will seem. Holding onto the status quo is like swimming against the tide… it is hard work and you ultimately end up somewhere you don’t actually want to be.

Many of us have an unconscious obsession with holding onto what seems certain and predictable even when what we have is not bringing joy and fulfilment.

The status quo, miserable or unsatisfying as it may be, is known and so can seem easier to navigate through, knowing at least what to expect, even if it is not great.  However if we disrupt the status quo, the future is completely unknown and for many people this can be unnerving and feels incredibly scary.

I am speaking from experience on this one! I held onto a job for almost 2 years even though I hated it (and yes … I really did hate it!) The fear of the unknown seemed far worse than the unpleasantness of what I had…. when really all I needed to do was let go of the status quo and have faith in myself.

2.  Let go the fear of risk. A recruitment consultant told me yesterday that the greatest challenge she sees amongst female job candidates securing ideal roles was their tendency to be risk adverse. We hold onto the perceived safety and security that comes with tenure within an organisation such as long service and annual leave entitlements, possible bonus and the like.

These are valid considerations but just that … a consideration. I love Richard Branson’s question around taking risk. Ask yourself “What is the worse thing that could happen and if that was to happen could you handle it?” In most cases the answer is yes. We are far stronger and more resilient than we think.

Moving onto something new always involves some risk. I hear you asking … What if I fail? What if I don’t like it? What if it isn’t what I think it is?

Yes but what if by taking a little risk you move onto the perfect role for you that gives you all the flexibility, meaning, fulfillment and joy that you could ever imagine? 

3.  Let go of Negative Nelly’s.  Think about the people who you spend time with. Are they supporting you and cheering you on? Or are you hanging out with the Nay Sayers and the Negative Nelly’s.

The attitude, thinking and aspirations of others are highly contagious, so choose who you spend time with wisely. This might mean spending less time with people who you love or people who have been in your world for a long time. It doesn’t necessarily mean ditching them all together … but it might.

Letting go of the Negative Nelly’s allows space in your life for those that expect even more of you than you do? Imagine spending time with people who believe in you when your confidence takes a hit and who champion you, advocate for you and show you the way towards the next big thing in your career.

Just last week my partner challenged me to stop playing safe and to take the next step in the development of my business. It was done with love and with sincere belief in me. It shook me out of my own complacency and comfort zone and was exactly the type of support I needed.

Who do you have in your corner?

Take a moment to reflect on what you will need to let go of in order to have what you really want.

LET'S CONNECT

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

Similar Blog Posts

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

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

Are You An Accidental Leader?

Are You An Accidental Leader?

The Accidental Leader is a common breed of leader. They are those people that don’t necessarily set out to become leaders but through “good luck” or “being in the right place at the right time” fall into the role. Some battle along, trying to work out what this mystical new role requires of them while others rise to the top, grab the opportunity it by both hands and become superstars in their field.

I had the privilege of meeting several of these superstar Accidental Leaders over the last few days while chairing a women in leadership conference.

Let me tell you about Faith, one of these Accidental Leaders.

Faith, in her own words was the elder statesman in the room and was an accidental leader. She had risen to the top of her field at a time when female leaders where unheard of. She spoke about being the only women at the leadership table from early on in her career and having to overcome the relentless stereotypical belief at the time that women did not belong in the leadership club.

So how did Faith and the other women become superstars in their field?

Here are some common themes that were consistent throughout the 2 days of presentations.

1.  See leadership as an adventure. Playing the safe game will not get you the opportunities that you are looking for. Be bold and take some risk… or at least calculated risk. By stepping outside your comfort zone you will constantly be growing your skills and be seen and noticed by those that matter.

2.  Understand that NO does not mean NO. It just means not now. You will undoubtedly come across roadblocks, challenges and disappointments along the way. Persistence and self belief is critical.

Know that missing out on promotions or interesting project opportunities is not a sign of failure. Look for the learning from the experience and get back on the horse and try again.

3.  Get involved. Raise your profile and your networks by getting involved in both internal and external projects. You may not be able to see where these projects will lead you but have faith that they will.

4.  Toughen Up. Stop taking things so personally. Ladies, you know we do this and that it is of no value. Consciously build your resilience to the challenges that come you way. Find a mentor or colleague who you can bounce ideas and concerns with and to help you find a healthier perspective.

5.  Have a life outside of work. It is never ok to allow work to consume your life. It is not good for your health, it kills the joy of the great work you do and it gets in the way of spending time with those that matter to you most. And ultimately it impacts your productivity, creativity and your leadership abilities.

Each of the superstars who spoke during the conference shared how they had learnt to create boundaries, remaining focused on work while at work and being in the moment once they left work for the day.

So, I am going to say it. I believe that there are NO accidental leaders! Each of the superstar Female leaders who shared their stories had actually created their own success.

They had repeatedly taken chances, been persistent and relentless in their pursuit in what they believed and never let knock backs squish their enthusiasm or confidence. They took on projects, got involved and created networks of advocates and supporters by being genuine, respectful and great at their work.

The quickest way to leadership success is to model the thinking, actions and attitudes of those who have already made it to the panicle. Borrow from them the bits that will work for you and enhance your leadership style, while all along remaining authentic and true to your values.

Our success is never really an accident. We become superstars of our field and leaders who have influence by being brave, striving for excellence and taking the opportunities when they come up.

And as for Faith…. Thank you for sharing your humility, wisdom and boldness.

NEXT STEPS?

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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

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

Similar Blog Posts

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

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

It Is Time To Break The Rules

It Is Time To Break The Rules

Our world is made up of rules. They are there to provide us with order and certainty and they generally serve us very well. But I am here to tell you that it is time to break the rules. Well… maybe just a few.

Many of the rules we learned growing up and in school were not designed to develop courageous leadership. Many of us (me included) were taught to be good girls, to play nice and to work hard. These rules work well in the early years but, as we progress in our career and take on more of a leadership role, some of these rules will most certainly hold us back.

So, here are my top 5 rules to break this year.

1.  Saying yes all of the time. In the beginning of your career, success is about saying yes to pretty much everything. It is about getting involved, doing new things and finding where you fit best. But you can not continue to say yes… you will end up burnt out or in a job that you no longer love.

There comes a time when you must get clear on where you want your career to head and to focus on that.   It is about making a commitment to you and your priorities and consciously deciding which opportunities will support your direction and which will not.

Saying NO will create the space to say YES to the fabulous, juicy perfect opportunities that come your way. Remember, for every NO there will be a better YES right around the corner.

2.  Stop waiting for permission. You have been given the role… so now step out boldly, show initiative and take action. Sheryl Sandberg has said “It is hard to visualise someone as a leader if she is always waiting to be told what to do.”

For most of our lives, we have been taught to wait for permission before we do something. We are taught to follow instructions; stick to the plan we are given and to act like good girls.

This rule was definitely made to be broken. Make the decision today to stop waiting for an invitation to lead. Go out and be seen for the leader you truly are. Make decisions, take action and lead from the front.

3.  Needing the entire plan before you begin. Get over wanting all your ducks to line up before you take any action. Do not wait to go for your dream until your plan is perfect. Even if you did get it together, it is going to change the moment you step out there and take action.

Decide today what you want. Do not worry about the how for now. It is only once you take the first step that the plan will unfold before you. And the beautiful thing is, the richest opportunities are hidden within the unexpected twists and turns that come after we step out there.

4.  Not sharing what you think. Ladies, it is time to find your voice. Speak up and share your opinion and your ideas. Sitting silently through meetings will not serve you well. How can you be of influence or have an impact if you do not share your brilliance?

Stop being afraid that not everyone will like what you say. Some people will disagree with you. That is only natural. You are not a leader if you not sharing your thoughts and saying what you think.

5.  Ignoring your natural talents. We all come into this world with an array of unique and precious gifts. We shine most brightly when we get to play in the space of our gifts each day. We do our best work, we have the most fun and we feel the most fulfilled when we get to fully embrace our natural talents.

Too often we find ourselves in a place where we become a square peg in a round hold and our natural talents are left ignored. 

Sometimes it is in response to following the money or the lure of a great title or perhaps you have left your career up to chance until one day you wake up and think “how did I end up here?”

Imagine the joy that will come when you decide to consciously create the direction of your career, tapping into all of your beautiful, powerful unique and wonderful gifts.

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

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

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

Are You Hiding Your Talents? How To Be More Visible.

Are You Hiding Your Talents? How To Be More Visible.

Being visible is a key part of being an effective leader. We become well known and recognised for the skills we bring to the leadership table by being seen, noticed, courageous and vulnerable enough to stand out and shine.

But many women struggle with being visible. Perhaps this stems from the behaviours that are encouraged in our early years. Little girls are praised for being good and for being seen and not heard. 

Throughout junior school years, girls get attention from the teacher by knuckling down and producing beautifully put together projects.

As we grow into mature young women with ambition, getting good results is our passport into the plum graduate roles.

So it is no surprise that as adult women, we struggle with being seen. We work hard, follow the rules and get the job done, hoping that our efforts will be rewarded and recognised.

But… many learn the hard way; that corporate promotions don’t come purely through hard work. Those that stand out and grab attention are often the ones being rewarded.

So what is it that holds women back and have them shrinking from the spotlight?

The reasons are many and varied but generally fall within these categories:

  • Fear of being judged.
  • Fear of failure (or of success)
  • Fear of standing out
  • Fear of revealing there true selves
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of not being good enough, smart enough, experienced enough

My own fear of being visible raised its ugly head recently. I realised I had been hiding. And being invisible really isn’t very helpful when it comes to growing a business.

I realised I was avoiding putting myself fully out there for fear of being judged or being torn down for poking my head above the crowd like a tall poppy.

Turns out the person with the most judgement… was me.

So it was time to work through my hidden blocks and the negative beliefs holding me back and sabotaging my quest to support women to navigate the corporate world.

It was time to step into the spotlight and the first step was some new branding head shots. Let me tell you …. there is no hiding when you have a man with a camera zeroing in, focused on capturing your essence. Even with my hair quaffed, my face fully made up and wearing fabulous outfits that my gorgeous stylist had helped me to pick out…. I somehow still felt naked.

I knew that these photos were about putting myself out there in a much bigger way…. and to be honest that was a little scary. Along with the new branding photos came deep reflection into who I am, identifying exactly what my greatest skills and talents are and what type of work gives me the most joy.

And with that, came business and personal clarity…. and a new website. No more hiding behind an impersonal website that said very little about who I am and what matters most to me. This change has been a big leap of faith but one I am now very excited about. 

So how visible are you?

If you are being overlooked, there is a fair chance that you don’t need to improve your job performance, learn any new skills or achieve bigger results to land your ideal project or position. 

Many women continue to be overlooked purely because the people that matter don’t know how good these women are at what they do. The real issue is more about perception than competence.

The best way to shift perception is to shift how you are presenting yourself day in day out. It is about being your own PR company and speaking up a little more.

Realise that you have true value to bring to the table and be positive, excited and proud of the contributions you are making. Pay attention to the signals your body language is giving off. Do you own your space? Does your voice sound like that of a woman of influence not that of a shy young girl filled with doubt?

Is there more that you can be doing to become visible? Now is your time to stand out and shine!

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

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

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

Why Aren’t You Being Promoted?

Why Aren’t You Being Promoted?

You’re a smart, intelligent woman. You are extremely loyal and reliable and you are good at your job.  You work hard and you have all the qualifications and experience needed to get promoted, so why is it that you keep getting passed over?

It used to be the guys with all the charisma and charm who play golf with the boss that would beat you to plumb jobs.  Now… you are loosing out to the bright young Gen Y’s who are full of energy and bravado.  At times it just doesn’t seem fair.

You have more than once asked yourself… what do I have to do to get promoted?

You may think that if you work harder, longer hours and say “yes” to everything that the boss asks for, you will finally get the notice and recognition you are longing for.  Surely you are next in line and deserve to be rewarded for your commitment and dedication. 

I am here to tell you … it just doesn’t work that way. 

The reasons why women continue to struggle to break into the senior leadership ranks of corporate Australia are many, varied and complex.  Just a few include the unconscious bias, blatant giving jobs to the boys, the challenges of juggling raising a family and managing a demanding career and the corporate systems and structures standing in the way of flexible family friendly working arrangements.     

And then there is you.  Yes, I know.  Sometimes this is a difficult one to swallow.

Research has shown some habits and behaviours, more commonly displayed by woman, negatively impact our likelihood of being the obvious choice or even considered for promotion. 

And the good news is… major change is not required.  

Through working with hundreds of women over the past 5 years I’ve seen that usually all that’s required are tiny tweaks to where we focus our time, energy and resources.

Lets make sure you are not getting in your own way by engaging in these career sabotaging workplace behaviours that will slow your career progression to a crawl or even have you become stuck, set in stone, at your current level.  I know that your career success and your need to be growing, contributing and making more of a difference means too much to you to allow that to happen. 

 

Here are 3 habits that may be getting in your way of promotion?

1.  You are not confidently displaying your skills, opinions and worth. Kitty Kay and Clare Shipman, co-authors of The Confidence Gap, show that women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence. 

Confidence talks.  If you are not confident in your own ability to deliver at the next level it will not matter how competent you are at your job, you will not get noticed or promoted. 

The good news is that with work, confidence can be acquired.  The first step is to start noticing the evidence that demonstrates that you are worthy of a more senior position (eg: the results you have achieved, your ability to manage your team to work cohesively together, you ability to solve the important business problems.)  Until YOU believe you are worthy, others will not. 

2.  You are not thinking strategically.  Let’s acknowledge that the many workplaces operate under a masculine paradigm and that the measures of success, generally speaking, are achievement of results, hitting financial targets and developing and delivering strategies for growth. 

If you want to be noticed and promoted you must be delivering on these success measures.  Many women (but of course not all) can become overly concerned with their own work and projects and fail to tap into, understand or contribute to the company vision, mission and strategy. 

A leadership study recently published in the Harvard Business Review scored women more highly than men on 16 key measures but there was one key measure that men scored more highly that stood out.  It was their ability to develop strategies and communicate them to people that mattered.

You must become a strategic thinker.  Your career will grow and expand once you flex your strategic muscle, think bigger and contribute more to the big picture of the business. 

3.  You think you need to do it alone.  Women are great connectors, communicators and collaborators … so why is it that so many women think that they need to prove that they can achieve career success alone? 

Prioritise time in your busy schedule to build strong, genuine relationships both within your organisation and externally.  Yes I hear you… you are too busy to spend time having coffee.  Trust me, it will be time well spent. 

Surround yourself with people who will support and help your growth, clear the pathway for opportunities to emerge and who will challenge you to strive for even more than you think is possible.

I heard recently that geese flying together in formation fly further and 75% faster  than geese flying alone.  Don’t be a lone goose… find some friends, trusted colleagues and partners to collaborate with and see what together you can achieve.

And remember it is not only who you know that is important… what is even more important is who knows what you know and what you want to achieve.  Your work will not speak for itself.  You must let people know what you are working on and the impact you are having.  Yes that’s right .. I am suggesting that you toot your own horn… in the nicest possible way. 

Now it is over to you.

Getting promoted can never be guaranteed but lets boost the odds by ensuring you are not sabotaging you efforts without even realising it. 

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

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

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

Women Lead Differently … And That Is A Good Thing

Women Lead Differently … And That Is A Good Thing

If we are to achieve an increasing number of women in leadership positions, we need to acknowledge that men and women lead differently,  and that it is a good thing. 

The leadership style of women is collaborative, inclusive, and consultative.  They focus on nurturing a strong team environment where ethical behaviour, quality and concern for each other is important.  They use their gift of language to solicit commitment to achieving the common goals and value the results that come from a highly engaged team.

Men in a leadership role are more competitive and are focused on achievement of power and success through demonstration of results.

Over recent years, advancements in neuroscience has produced increasing evidence that men and women are, on average, innately different, leading to different natural characteristics, tendencies and talents.

In a nutshell… we think, act and lead differently. 

And these differences appear to stem from our primitive beginnings.  As early cave men and women, we had different jobs and tasks that required different skills.  With centuries of natural selection, we have ended up with differences in our hormones and the architecture of our brains.

So let’s take a look the natural leadership skills common to women. 

1.  Web-like Thinking:

Research has shown that women tend to integrate vast amounts of data faster, consider more options and see more possible solutions to a problem.  We tend to think in “webs” of information rather take a straight line or linear approach to thinking.  This is likely to be related to the fact that the female brain has more connections between the left and right hemispheres.

Men, on the other hand, are more likely to focus their attention on one thing at a time. The higher levels of testosterone drive them to focus on one specific outcome … clearly developed back in the day when they were hunting the wilder beast for dinner.

2.  Mental Flexibility

With our brain wired for “web-like thinking”, we are naturally gifted with mental flexibility … an essential ingredient needed in the dynamic, ever-shifting, fast paced modern business environment.  Women have developed a gift for generating new ideas, creativity, ingenuity and imagination.

3.  Gifted with the power of language

Women are born to talk and have developed the skill over many lifetimes to use the power of language.  We use it to influence and persuade action, comfort those in need, educate and inform, bring people together to collaborate and sway minds and hearts.

This power over language emerges early in childhood with girls learning to speak sooner than boys. Research has also shown that our aptitude with language is linked to our higher levels of oestrogen.

4.  General Social Skills

It may seem at times that women have an uncanny ability to read minds!  It is because, to some degree, they do.  Throughout the history of civilisation, the general role of women has been to create and nurture the extended family unit.  The gift of this role is a highly developed innate ability to pick up and interpret the minute social and emotional cues that we give off.

5.  Networking and Collaboration

You only need to attend a women’s networking event to see the power of women coming together to network and collaborate.  Women enjoy working together for the greater good and see the power and the results that come from working cohesively together through a network of supportive connections.

Men, on the other hand, tend to focus on achieving power through rising to the top and value their rank and status.  Men tend to be more competitive and focus on “winning”, while women tend to be more inclusive and supportive.

These traits have again been linked to hormones but also hark back to our history of different roles within our family unit.

So what is the impact of all this?    

It is clear that men and women on average have different innate leadership styles.  This is not to say that one is better than the other or that men don’t display a lot of the characteristics and talents that have been discussed, because they do.

This is more to look at and to celebrate the differences.  It has been said that men and women are like two feet… they need each other to get ahead.  Imagine if more women were to have a greater impact at the decision making table.

Imagine how the work environment – and the world for that matter – would be if women with their natural talents for web-like thinking, their ability to generate fresh ideas, their powerful language and their preference for achieving results through collaboration, were more prominent and represented more equally.  

Many work environments continue to operate under a masculine paradigm, top heavy with men in positions of power.  I believe it is time to embrace that men and women lead differently and to allow women to be true to their own skills and aptitudes.

While we continue to measure leadership success from a masculine point of view, we will miss out on the gifts, talents and the results that can be gained from embracing a well-rounded leadership team.

LET'S CONNECT

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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

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

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

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.

Similar Blog Posts

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

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston