Luck? A Smart Career Building Strategy

Luck… a smart career building strategy

Some people just seem to attract good luck… are you one of them? People who are lucky in their career are those who are asked to participate in the most interesting projects, are in the right place at the right time to take advantage of an incredible one-off opportunity or are promoted without even applying for the role.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard women say to me “I’ve had a lot of luck throughout my career.”

But is this luck at play or is it something else?

I used to think that my career had been built on a fair bit of luck.

Every couple of years I landed a new role as a result of corporate restructures. Each role built on the last, allowing me to step into more senior roles with more responsibility without really having to do much to get them.

So… what action will you commit to today to open up the opportunities to luck?

Luck is the intersection of hard work and opportunity.

Luck = hard work + opportunity

So is it possible to increase our luck quotient? I believe it is!

It’s all about building a strong foundation. It’s about building your reputation, positioning for what you want and being willing to say yes when the right opportunity comes knocking on your door.

If you are in the market for a promotion, pay rise or a new position this year, let’s start right now to increase your chance of “luck” playing a role in your career progression.

5 steps to create the foundations to building your career through attracting more good “luck”

1. Create clarity. For luck to play a part you have to know what you want.

You will not see the opportunities in front of you if you don’t know that’s what you want.

Likewise, your network can’t support your progression and clear the pathway for you while you remain confused and without direction.

2. Do great work. This may be obvious but it still needs to be said. You have to do great work for the opportunities to come your way. You will not get offered a promotion or to lead an exciting project if you’re not doing great work.

So, even if you have lost the motivation and dedication to the role you are currently in, it’s time to find a way to re-engage and demonstrate the value you bring to your role and organisation.

3. Focus on what matters. We only have so much time in each day, so focusing your time and energy on work that matters both to you and the organisation you work for is key.

If progressing your career is high on your agenda, map out time in your schedule each week to work on those things that will get you one step closer to this.

This might mean prioritising working on a project that will get you recognised for a particular skill or creating time to reconnect with your boarder network.

4. Raise your visibility. Luck can not come your way if you remain unknown and invisible! A key to luck is creating a strong professional reputation with people with influence – both internally and externally.

Seek out opportunities to participate in high profile projects that will allow you to demonstrate your skills. Speak up in meetings, focusing on allowing others to see the key skills you want to be known for.

And remember – relationships are everything. People who experience a lot of luck tend to be people who have developed genuine relationships with people who have influence. Make sure you are one of those people.

5. Be open to opportunity. I believe that opportunities are always around us… we just need to be open and on the look out for them. Once we decide what we want and start taking action towards that goal, the universe seems to conspire with us to present us with the right opportunities. But the opportunities will only appear once we have clarity and start taking action.

Relying on luck alone is NOT a smart career building move, but by following these steps you can engineer more luck to come your way.

So… what action will you commit to today to open up your opportunities to luck?

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
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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

Perfectionist workplace at office or home. Flat lay desktop with keyboard and office supplies

Why Perfectionism is a Problem (and…

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

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

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

Here’s how…

Jane Benston

beautiful business lady drinking coffee and uses different gadgets

Why You Need to Create Space…

Leaders are paid to think, not just do.

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

Let me clarify further …

Jane Benston

Portrait of mature businesswoman working on desktop

5 Ways You Can Start Leading…

The number 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader is to show your true self.

Now, my guess is some of you are sitting thinking, ‘Yes Jane, but that’s easier said than done. How do I show more of my true self?’

Jane Benston

How to get the most out of your performance review

How to get the most out of your performance review

How do you approach your annual performance review? Do you see it as a golden opportunity to reflect on what you have achieved, how you have contributed and set your plan for personal and professional growth?

Or do you groan and see it as nothing more than a tick a box exercise.

Your view is likely influenced by past experience, the focus your manger puts on it and your sense of process fairness.

Whatever your perception is, let’s make sure that you are in an empowered position when it comes to this time of year. Given that the process is usually linked to payment of bonuses, pay increases and potential promotions; investing time and energy into showcasing your value and contribution is well worth it!

Here’s how to get the most out of your performance review.

1. Preparation is key. Throughout the year keep a file (hard copy or digital) of your achievements. A year is a long time so let’s make sure we capture them all – big and small.

Ideally your preparation does not start the night before your review… but if it does, go through your calendar to jog your memory of the activities and projects you have been involved with and your team success stories.

This is your opportunity to think a little out of the box about your broader contribution – for example to team moral, delivering exceptional customer service or embedding the business values.

2. Take control. This is your review, not your managers so set the tone, direction and be clear on what you want to get out of the process. At a minimum, make sure you have completed all the pre-work required and come to the meeting with a clear agenda of what you want the outcome to be.

Over the past 5 years I’ve facilitated a 360 degree feedback process for an organization. Each year there are a couple of leaders who come to the feedback session super prepared and in control of their own learning and growth.   They are a joy to work with and their results year on year have surpassed those who have been more passive in their approach to the process.

So make sure you are leading the process not the other way around.

3. Be bold. Ladies… this is not a time to be overly humble. This is your opportunity to showcase your achievements and the contribution you have made. Don’t hold back and don’t assume your manager has noticed your good work.

Make sure you are not just talking about your technical skill. You need also to be demonstrating how you have contributed to the achievement of the overall business strategy and creating a team who are engaged and highly effective in delivering exceptional results.

4. Claim your career ambition. Take advantage of your performance review to voice your career ambitions. Too many women I work with sit back and expect that by delivering exceptional work that the promotion will come. It doesn’t work that way.

If you want a more senior role, you must claim your intention.

For many women, articulating their career ambitions can bring up fear and awkwardness. But like my client Cindy, who last week finally spoke with the CEO about her ambitions… the outcome of this conversation can set you up for a new level of career success.

5. Direct your development. If you have identified an area of development, ask for it. This might include an opportunity for secondment to another department, act in a more senior role to cover extended long service or maternity leave or enrolment in a professional development program.

Go prepared with a business case. Be clear on what the business will get from investing in your development and the value you will bring to the business through this opportunity.

As many of my clients who have received financial support to join The Leadership Connection (a women’s leadership development program) discovered, you will never get what you don’t ask for. Do your research; create a business case and ask for the development you really want.

So todays take home message is – this is your performance review.

Take control. Be prepared. And ask for what you want.

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

Perfectionist workplace at office or home. Flat lay desktop with keyboard and office supplies

Why Perfectionism is a Problem (and…

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

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

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

Here’s how…

Jane Benston

beautiful business lady drinking coffee and uses different gadgets

Why You Need to Create Space…

Leaders are paid to think, not just do.

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

Let me clarify further …

Jane Benston

Portrait of mature businesswoman working on desktop

5 Ways You Can Start Leading…

The number 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader is to show your true self.

Now, my guess is some of you are sitting thinking, ‘Yes Jane, but that’s easier said than done. How do I show more of my true self?’

Jane Benston

5 tips to boost the effectiveness of your meetings

5 tips to boost the effectiveness of your meetings

As a senior professional you attend a LOT of meetings. Maybe too many? Some of them may be productive and useful but I’m guessing there are many you walk away from, frustrated with the lack of purpose, achieving little progress and without a clear outcome or action plan.

There is no doubt, meetings are important. 

Meetings are where great ideas are born, collaboration happens, relationships are strengthened, problems are solved and momentum to deliver important projects is maintained.

But how effective are the meetings you attend?

  • Do you achieve tangible outcomes?
  • Do you get a reasonable return on the time and energy you invest?

Or are they your number one time waster and source of frustration?

I was speaking with the women from my inner circle program about the effectiveness of meetings within their organisation. Some are spending up to half of their week locked away in meetings, many of which venture way off track and achieve very little. That is a LOT of unproductive time!

Unfortunately, you can’t always influence the effectiveness or the outcomes of the meetings you attend but you can take charge of the meetings you run.

Mastering the art of running productive, effective meetings is critical to your long term career success. 

Who would have thought… the humble meeting being important to your career success?

Let’s take a step back for a moment and think about what the purpose of most meetings are?

They are generally to support the team to deliver a task, service, project or new initiative… all of which are ultimately linked to the achievement of the business goals.

So becoming a skilled meeting facilitator can set you up to be seen as an invaluable contributor within the business and position you for some of the best opportunities on offer.  They are your opportunity to make your mark and get you seen, heard and recognised as an influential member of the leadership team.

So let’s drill down into some simple strategies you can employ to minimise time wasted on ineffective meetings and maximise outcomes.

5 tips to boost the effectiveness of your meetings.

1. Conduct a meeting audit. Just hearing the word audit makes me cringe … but bear with me. Let’s start by eliminating those meetings that don’t have a clear purpose or outcome. Let’s stop having meetings for meetings sake. You know the ones. They are nothing more than a data dump or an update fest.

2. Banish the 60 minute standard. Why is it that almost every meeting is a standard 60 minutes long? Let’s take a moment and decide if this is the right length for every meeting.

Trust me. Your attendee’s will love you for booking just 45 minutes. It will give people an opportunity to grab a coffee, return an urgent call or gather their thoughts before dashing to the next meeting starting on the hour.

Or perhaps a couple of 20 minute desk-side catch ups would be better suited to keep track of progress and solve problems on the spot, rather than waiting for a longer, less regular meeting.

3.  Agree before you start. At the start of every meeting be clear on the purpose and agree on what needs to be achieved before the end of the meeting. Getting this agreement will help shape the discussions and keep everyone on track.

And, if it does go off track (we all know how easily a meeting can be hijacked by an off topic discussion or issue), it’ll be much easier to steer it back on point and towards the outcome you all agreed to.

4. Focus on needs & wants. Let’s agree that data dumps and team updates are of limited value …. and quite frankly boring to sit through! Aim to keep updates to a minimum and focus on what people need or want from the group to move a project forward.   Maximise the wealth of knowledge in the room to collaborate, brainstorm solutions or seek advice.

5. Make it actionable. Never again allow the attendees of a meeting you facilitate, leave the room confused or unsure of what the outcome is. There comes a point in every meeting when you must move on from brainstorming and general discussion and make a decision.

And be ok that you may not reach consensus. Pleasing everyone is not the aim. Taking a stand, making a decision and moving forward towards achieving the business goal is your role as a leader.

And to conclude the meeting… be very, very specific and get agreement on who is going to do what by when.

Which of these tips will you take action on?

If you have read to the end of this article, it suggests to me you know you have room for improvement.  Pick just one of these tips and give it a go during your next meeting.

I’d love to hear how it goes.

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

Perfectionist workplace at office or home. Flat lay desktop with keyboard and office supplies

Why Perfectionism is a Problem (and…

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

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

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

Here’s how…

Jane Benston

beautiful business lady drinking coffee and uses different gadgets

Why You Need to Create Space…

Leaders are paid to think, not just do.

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

Let me clarify further …

Jane Benston

Portrait of mature businesswoman working on desktop

5 Ways You Can Start Leading…

The number 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader is to show your true self.

Now, my guess is some of you are sitting thinking, ‘Yes Jane, but that’s easier said than done. How do I show more of my true self?’

Jane Benston

How to position yourself to protect against corporate change

How to position yourself to protect against corporate change

Change in the corporate world is the one constant we can rely on. No job is 100% secure. No role will remain exactly the same one year to the next. Cultures change. Corporate structures and strategies change. Boards Change. Executive leadership teams change. And all of this change will directly or indirectly impact you and your role at some stage.

The question is … are you ready and prepared to weather the storm?

I was speaking with a senior leader recently who had just been made redundant for the 2nd time in less than 4 years. (A not so uncommon story.)

The first time around was tough. She struggled to come to terms with the loss of income, feeling out of control and suddenly loosing the certainty that comes with a being employed in meaningful work.   And then with financial pressures looming, she took the first acceptable (if not totally ideal) role that came her way.

This time round it has been different.

In the last 3½ years she has strategically positioned herself so if she were to be hit by redundancy again she would be ready. She has worked to build up her professional profile, broaden her network and strengthen her skill base.

She has also set herself up financially; funnelling funds from her annual bonus into prepaying school fees and mortgage repayments.

Although she is just at the beginning of her job search, she is filled with confidence that she has the resources, networks and importantly the headspace to secure the perfect next role.

How would you fare if you were made redundant tomorrow or found yourself in a role that no longer suited you as a result of a restructure, take over or change of leadership?

And of course, lets remember that not all change is bad.

I know most of us instinctively are cautious of change and may even try to resist or be resentful of it. But change can also bring with it incredible opportunities.

Susan recently secured a seat at the executive leadership table for the first time, taking advantage of an opportunity that presented as a result of a corporate take over.

You could say that she was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

The truth is… she has been working hard over the last 18 months positioning for this type of role.

She has focused on getting known around the organisation as someone who not only has the ability to unify and engage a team to perform above expectations but also has a reputation of bringing new ideas and effective strategies to the table.

Are you ready to take best advantage of the opportunities that inevitably come through change?

And being ready is all about positioning.

Focusing on positioning is a bit like having an insurance policy for your career success and fulfilment.

Suddenly working on building your visibility and profile when it’s time to move roles isn’t the best strategy. And ignoring your network only to call on them when you become redundant feels a little desperate and inauthentic.

Learning to position like a pro is key to the health of your career.

3 top tips to position like a pro to insure against change.

1. Build Strategic Relationships

In times of change and uncertainty the value of your network is priceless. It will be these people who will reach out to support you, offer assistance and make introductions that could possibly lead to job opportunities.

But given that building strong relationships takes time, make sure that you are ALWAYS prioritising (in good times and bad) building and strengthening your networks.

2. Raise Your Profile

You will never get considered for the best opportunities if people don’t know who you are, what you can do and what your career aspirations are.

One of the best ways to raise your profile is to be strategic about the projects you devote your time, energy and resources to. Leading high profile projects will give you a great opportunity to demonstrate your value, your strengths and your leadership skills.

 3. Attitude Matters

Through my work with high achieving professional women I am convinced that attitude plays a significant role in determining the outcome of change. Time and time again I see the women who remain upbeat, optimistic and open achieve a more positive outcome than those who are negative, resistant and fearful.

I know that remaining upbeat through the turmoil and uncertainty of change can be difficult. So choose your support network wisely. Reach out to people who you know will lift you higher, keep you motivated and support you to consistently bring the best version of you to the office.

So… how prepared are you to cope with a corporate takeover, round of redundancies or change in leadership? 

If you answered… not at all prepared, you are not alone.

And that’s why I have made positioning and preparing for change, a major component of The Leadership Connection, an exclusive 6-month program designed for smart professional women.

Click here for more information and to apply for your invitation to join the group.

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

Perfectionist workplace at office or home. Flat lay desktop with keyboard and office supplies

Why Perfectionism is a Problem (and…

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

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

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

Here’s how…

Jane Benston

beautiful business lady drinking coffee and uses different gadgets

Why You Need to Create Space…

Leaders are paid to think, not just do.

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

Let me clarify further …

Jane Benston

Portrait of mature businesswoman working on desktop

5 Ways You Can Start Leading…

The number 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader is to show your true self.

Now, my guess is some of you are sitting thinking, ‘Yes Jane, but that’s easier said than done. How do I show more of my true self?’

Jane Benston

What happens when we dare to share?

What happens when we dare to share?

 

If you have ever been to an event just for women, you will know that magic happens when women come together. We may walk in as strangers but it doesn’t take long to find common ground, share from the heart and connect.

At our core, women are gifted connectors, collaborators and communicators and it’s these natural gifts that allow the magic to happen when we come together in a room. The possibility and belief in what can be achieved is magnified through open, vulnerable and inspired conversation.

The real gold comes when we share our dreams and aspirations.

So many big, bold and courageous ideas have been brought to life over a shared cup of tea or a glass of bubbles in the company of like-minded women.

Perhaps it harks back to the days of women sitting around a campfire, telling stories, sharing the workload and looking out for one another.

Many women have shared their embryonic idea with me of what they envisage for the next stage of their career.  Often it’s the first time they have voiced their idea aloud – to themselves or others.

For some, it feels vulnerable. For others, they express fear that their idea is crazy. While others wonder if they have what it takes to succeed.

In the company of supportive women, their aspirations are given the best chance to blossom. So often the potential others see in us is more than we see in ourselves.

The accountability of sharing our dreams publicly within a safe space can be incredibly powerful.

Not to mention the sense of possibility and certainty that comes from a robust conversation to further develop the idea and brainstorming the actions it will take to get to the next step or up level.

But sadly, the male-dominated corporate environment has taught many of us to be overly competitive. How often have we seen women climb over each other or stab another in the back in an effort to WIN in business?

And then there are those that pride themselves to be fiercely independent.

OK, I’ll admit to this one. For many years, I was proud that I’d achieved so much alone. From buying a house, traveling across the globe, to achieving career success… I was proud that I had done it all alone. I believed that it was a sign of weakness to need to reach out for help.

How wrong I was!

Going it alone is the hard, slow and painful way to creating a successful career.

You just have to listen to a panel of successful women leaders at a conference to understand the importance of their connections. The common theme running through their stories is almost always that their success did not happen in isolation. They most often attribute their growth and opportunities to the people who have supported them along the way.

Who do you have in your corner?

Do you have a pose of powerful women to fuel your dreams and champion your success?

If women are going to have a greater impact at the leadership table, we need to tap into the power of the collective. There is no doubt that we are stronger when we come together than when we work alone.

Who do you have to lift you higher, hold you accountable and give you courage as your step beyond your comfort zone? Who do you celebrate your wins with, swear in frustration with and cry with when things don’t work out as planned?

A safe place to learn, laugh, sing, dance and cry is hard to come by for smart, professional women.

Everywhere I turn there are groups popping up for entrepreneurial women to connect, learn and support one another. They are hugely popular and have been a major contributing factor in the success of so many women running small businesses.

I know first hand what happens when a group of powerful women get together.  I have just come out of a very productive, three day retreat with a intimate group of high-achieving women business owners as part of a year long mastermind program.

Yes there were tears, laughter and learning. I know that these women have my back. They have given me new perspectives, made introductions to potential clients and stretched my thinking and personal expectations to another level.

I love these women.  

They have become my friends, my confidantes and my inner circle of advisors.

And I want that for you too.

And that’s why I created The Leadership Connection, an exclusive 6-month program for smart mid career professional women to connect and grow in their career success.

No more going it alone. No more working in isolation.

Click here for more information and to book a time to discuss whether this might be right for you.

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

Perfectionist workplace at office or home. Flat lay desktop with keyboard and office supplies

Why Perfectionism is a Problem (and…

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

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

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

Here’s how…

Jane Benston

beautiful business lady drinking coffee and uses different gadgets

Why You Need to Create Space…

Leaders are paid to think, not just do.

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

Let me clarify further …

Jane Benston

Portrait of mature businesswoman working on desktop

5 Ways You Can Start Leading…

The number 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader is to show your true self.

Now, my guess is some of you are sitting thinking, ‘Yes Jane, but that’s easier said than done. How do I show more of my true self?’

Jane Benston

Could you be more decisive?

Could you be more decisive?

 

Being seen to be a strong, decisive decision maker is a critical factor in establishing our leadership credibility. A quick and well thought through decision backed by logic, gut instinct and taking personal responsibility for whatever the outcome will be, can boost our professional standing in the eyes of those around us.

While appearing indecisive tends to leave an impression of doubt and lack of confidence and our capabilities and experience can come into question. Add to that the personal frustration, energy and time that goes along with a protracted decision making process, indecisiveness is rarely seen as a positive professional attribute.

A 2014 study of 6500 workers found that decisiveness was one of the top three skills sets that make the biggest impact on helping leaders to build credibility. (The other 2 skills sets were open communication and personal presence.)

So clearly it’s an important leadership quality.

As someone who for many years agonised over even quite simple decisions, I can see now how my old habits and indecisive ways held me back.  I’m sure at times my team watched as I dithered and procrastinated. I often caused projects to be delayed as I struggled to make key decisions. Or even worse… I failed to make any decision at all… leaving good ideas languishing. 

How would you rate your decision-making skills?

  • Do you have unshakable confidence when making the big calls required of you within your role?
  • Do you agonise over decisions, taking way longer than you would like?
  • Do you get stuck in a cycle of seeking input, collaboration and agreement hoping to make everyone happy even when you know it’s not possible?

Making difficult decisions is what we look to leaders to do.

We expect our leaders to have the courage and confidence to make the tough decision, give direction and take responsibility for it.

Here are 5 Keys to becoming a more decisive decision maker

1. Take a balance view. Our natural tendency can often be to look at what can go wrong or the risks associated with a decision. Make sure you are taking a balanced view considering not only what can go wrong but also what the benefits of a decision could be.

Often when I’m procrastinating over a decision I like to call in my good friend Richard Brandson. He suggests asking, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” And “if that happened, could I handle it?” Almost always the answer is YES.

2. Embrace uncertainty. Indecisiveness is often a result of wanting to be certain about the outcome. Looking for certainty is nothing short of torturous… because it can never be achieved! You can only be certain of an outcome once a decision has been made and action is taken.

Learn to make decisions based on the information you have on hand. A timely decision made with confidence and based on experience will almost always trump one that’s perceived to be slow and indecisive. 

3. Engage stakeholders. This is all about getting buy in and discovering issues you may have been unaware of. But ladies we need to be careful not to over do this one. We have a tendency to want to consult and to get consensus from the team. Don’t over play this or your behaviour could be perceived as indecisive or showing a lacking confidence. There comes a time when you quite simply have to move on from the fact finding and collaboration phase and make a decision!

4. Use your internal GPS. Trust your intuition and your internal knowing. Over the years you have built up a wealth of experience and knowledge, which fuels our internal GPS. Trust it. It’s what allows us to make reliable, quick decisions when we take the time to listen. Your gut instincts will be right way more often than you think.

5. Own it. Once you make a decision, own it! Speak of your decision with confidence and conviction. Follow through with bold courageous action. No flip flopping or second guessing your decision once it has been made.

And most importantly you must own the outcome… good or bad.

Could you be more decisive?

Reflect on the decisions you currently have on your plate right now. Could you be more decisive in your decision making?

Yes it’s important to listen, gather critical information, and weigh up the options but without a decisive decision all this good work could go to waste.   Your leadership credibility and reputation is at stake.

Make decisions with confidence and courage, take action and move on to the next big decision.

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

Perfectionist workplace at office or home. Flat lay desktop with keyboard and office supplies

Why Perfectionism is a Problem (and…

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

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

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

Here’s how…

Jane Benston

beautiful business lady drinking coffee and uses different gadgets

Why You Need to Create Space…

Leaders are paid to think, not just do.

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

Let me clarify further …

Jane Benston

Portrait of mature businesswoman working on desktop

5 Ways You Can Start Leading…

The number 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader is to show your true self.

Now, my guess is some of you are sitting thinking, ‘Yes Jane, but that’s easier said than done. How do I show more of my true self?’

Jane Benston

How to set clear boundaries for strong leadership

How to set clear boundaries for strong leadership

 

Do you have clear boundaries? Or perhaps an even more important question is … do you have any boundaries at all?

Are you clear on what’s acceptable to you and what isn’t? Do you protect your time, energy and resources and prioritise what is important to you?

In a world that’s becoming busier and where business is conducted 24/7, boundaries have become blurred or nonexistent. In many workplaces there’s an unwritten expectation that you are always on and always accessible.

But I wonder, what would happen if you were to create clear boundaries?

Recently, I was delivering training in a large corporate organisation with a group of professional leaders. The recurring theme for these women became clear; they had failed to set clear boundaries.

For some, this meant filling their schedule with small menial tasks not really within their scope of work. For others, they found themselves working excessively long hours.

I loved the realisation from one participant when she said, “I need to downgrade my relationship with my phone.”

She had found herself obsessing over emails and text messages from colleagues in her evenings at home, rather than being fully present for her family.

Setting boundaries and sticking to them is difficult!

I think this has something to do with the need to please. Many of us equate being available, responding promptly, saying yes and helping out… with building goodwill and respect.

Unfortunately, in my experience it often does the opposite. Setting personal boundaries protects our personal space, builds respect and allows us to focus our productivity. 

People who maintain boundaries typically get more respect and better results than those who allow others to take them or their time for granted.

How many people do you know that get burned out, stressed, over committed and over worked just because they cant say “NO”? 

Perhaps you’re one them.

How to set clear boundaries

1. Get clear on what matters most. 

Get clear on what’s most important to you in terms of your life and your career. A client recently had the massive realisation that what mattered most to her was spending quality time with her young children. She had, however, been increasingly focused on her work at the expense of time with her family.  Setting boundaries has been crucial for her to better integrate her family priorities with her inner need to do quality work.

2. Clarify your standards. 

And by this I mean – make a list and write it down.

  • Reassess the hours you are prepared to commit to work, both in the office and at home.
  • Decide whether you will respond to emails, text messages and phone calls outside work hours.
  • Get clear on what work you will routinely say YES to and what you will choose to say NO to.
  • Notice what irritates you and create boundaries to limit the opportunities for this to happen.

3. Let go of the guilt. 

Beating yourself up and feeling guilty isn’t helpful. If it’s important that you attend your child’s school assembly or make it to a weekly yoga class… then be ok to do what it takes to make it happen. You shouldn’t feel guilty for putting yourself first.

4. Prioritise and plan. 

The only solution many women see when their workload increases is to work harder and longer hours. In many instances, this is definitely not the answer. It’s more likely to lead to overworking, decreased productivity, poorer quality work and resentment.

Instead, take some time out to review and prioritise your workload and create a plan focused on those activities that matter most to you and your organisation.

5. Take responsibility. 

Know that we teach people how to treat us. So if your team are dependent on you or you are seen as the go-to girl to get stuff done or people are constantly interrupting you … it’s likely you’ve allowed this to happen. To put it bluntly… it’s your fault.

People are predictable. They will always take the route of least resistance. So it’s actually good to create a little resistance, eg: push back, say no or respond on your terms not theirs.

Others will only respect your limits if you do.

Too often, in our effort to produce our very best work, be seen as a team player or purely get through the “to do list”, we allow our boundaries to be crossed.

Only you can set and maintain your boundaries.

It takes consideration, being intentional and persistant. 

Maintaining your new and improved boundaries is about creating a new normal – for you and those around you. You need to be consistent and be ready for those who will fight against them.

But know… it will be worthwhile.

 

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

Perfectionist workplace at office or home. Flat lay desktop with keyboard and office supplies

Why Perfectionism is a Problem (and…

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

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

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

Here’s how…

Jane Benston

beautiful business lady drinking coffee and uses different gadgets

Why You Need to Create Space…

Leaders are paid to think, not just do.

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

Let me clarify further …

Jane Benston

Portrait of mature businesswoman working on desktop

5 Ways You Can Start Leading…

The number 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader is to show your true self.

Now, my guess is some of you are sitting thinking, ‘Yes Jane, but that’s easier said than done. How do I show more of my true self?’

Jane Benston

Business Acumen: The key to career advancement

Business Acumen: The key to career advancement

 

Have you ever wondered what it is that you need to do to transition from middle management to a more senior role? You work hard, you do great work, your team like you but still you are being passed over and senior roles remain elusive.

And clearly the statistics confirm you are not alone in this struggle.

Women represent about 50% of middle management and professional positions, but the percentage of women at the top has stagnated below 20%.

We know that organisations with significant representation of women at the top do better than those that don’t. We know that more and more women want to take a seat at the leadership table. But still women struggle to make their mark in the type of numbers that will really make a difference.

So what’s going wrong?

Obviously there’s no one simple answer to this complex question. There’s work to be done to minimise unconscious bias. There’s work to be done nurturing the pipeline of talent. There’s work to be done to make it more appealing for women to participate more fully at the top.

And there’s no shortage of advice being offered to help women create change at a personal level.  This advice includes being more assertive, acting with confidence, speaking up, taking bolder career choices and expanding their network.

These are all important and I share this exact same advice often with the women I work with… however, it’s not enough.

The difference between languishing in middle management and being considered for the top roles is... business acumen

But many women are failing to focus on building business, strategic and financial acumen.

Why are so many women missing this point?

It’s not because we don’t have or can’t develop business, strategic and financial acumen. It has more to do with the fact that very few women are clearly told how essential these skills are for reaching the top.

For some reason it’s assumed that we already know how.

Susan Colantuon in her TED Talk: The career advice you probably didn’t get, suggests that it’s a basic expectation by senior leaders.

However, when Susan asked an audience of 150 women “How many of you have ever been told that the door-opener for career advancement is your business, strategic and financial acumen, and that all the other important stuff is what differentiates you in the talent pool?” only three women raised their hand.

It’s clear it’s something we need to give more focus to.

How to demonstrate business acumen

1. Learn to love the numbers. Never undermine your credibility as a leader by demonstrating your lack of financial acumen. Learn about the numbers and speak about them in a way that demonstrates your depth of knowledge. Identify and focus on the key metrics and embrace financial knowledge as a major part of your strategic decision-making.

2. Focus on what matters most. As a leader, you must focus on what matters most to the organisation. Too often I see women getting bogged down into the day to day busyness and losing sight of how they are contributing to achieving the strategic business objectives.

Prioritise your diary to allow time each week to focus your energy on those activities that will move you and the business closer to achieving the results that matter.

3.  Develop your strategic thinking. Remember that your high-level technical skills do not necessarily translate into being seen as a leader. To be considered for the next high-level leadership opportunity you need to demonstrate big picture thinking.

You must have a broad awareness of the organisation, an understanding of the strategic direction and the ability to see opportunities, innovate and make strategic decisions.

Ask yourself:

Are you consistently demonstrating your financial, strategic and business acumen?

  • Do you understand where your organisation is going?
  • Do you know what the over arching business strategy is?
  • Are you clear on what the financial targets are?
  • Do you understand your role in moving the organisation forward?
  • Are you demonstrating your potential for leading the business, not just leading the people?

To close the gender gap at the top, we need to build business acumen.

We must focus more on developing and demonstrating our understanding of business financials, know where the business is heading, and clearly align our day to day activities to delivering the business imperatives.

Get out there. Get strategic. Focus on what matters most. And open the door to your career advancement by demonstrating your business acumen.

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

Perfectionist workplace at office or home. Flat lay desktop with keyboard and office supplies

Why Perfectionism is a Problem (and…

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

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

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

Here’s how…

Jane Benston

beautiful business lady drinking coffee and uses different gadgets

Why You Need to Create Space…

Leaders are paid to think, not just do.

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

Let me clarify further …

Jane Benston

Portrait of mature businesswoman working on desktop

5 Ways You Can Start Leading…

The number 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader is to show your true self.

Now, my guess is some of you are sitting thinking, ‘Yes Jane, but that’s easier said than done. How do I show more of my true self?’

Jane Benston

Do you have a powerful magnetic presence?

Do you have a powerful magnetic presence?

You have the title and the responsibility, but are you seen as a leader? Do your team members follow you, respect you and deliver for you? Does the senior leadership team value you and the contribution you make?

If you have ever struggled with making your mark as a leader, I am going to suggest that it has more to do with your presence than your skills and capabilities.

I was recently speaking with a delightful professional woman who was struggling to be seen, heard and noticed for what she knows she is capable of. She talked of feeling invisible, passed over and not respected or valued for her work.

As I spoke with her, it became obvious to me that she didn’t need to work harder or learn new skills. She was clearly talented and good at her job. Her challenge was she had a tendency to “shrink” in the company of powerful people and her presence could best be defined as “wishy washy.”

A magnetic presence is our ticket to being seen, heard and noticed for all the right reasons.

We all know people who have a magnetic presence. They are the people who command attention every time they walk into a room, not because they are the loudest or the best leaders but because they have that special something that draws us in.

Presence is an inside job. It’s developing a deep awareness of your body and your energy and how it impacts those around you.

A powerful magnetic presence will get you further and faster as a leader than any other skill.

You can have the most beautifully crafted speech, well thought out strategy or some fancy tactic to boost sales… but if you don’t have a powerful presence you are likely to struggle to get the attention, support and engagement you are seeking.

The good news is, your presence is something you can work on for immediate effect.

Here are 5 Keys to developing a magnetic presence for leadership results

1.  Identify as a leader. It all starts here. If you don’t identify yourself as a leader, no one else will. I often speak to women who tell me that they don’t see themselves as a leader… even if they have a title. They prefer to collaborate and work with the team to get the results.

That’s ok, but there is always a point in every project when leadership is required. Your ability to influence, have impact and to be seen as a leader relies on you embracing your leadership identity.

2. Make peace with fear. We all have fears. It’s not just you. It’s your relationship with fear that makes the difference. If you allow yourself to be ruled by your fears it will hold you back and show up in subtle ways that will impact how others perceive you.

To show up in a way that draws people in, you must confront and make peace with your fears.

What are you afraid of and how is it holding you back?

3.  Manage your energy. Your energy will always be attracting or repelling people. How would people describe your energy? Are you warm, attentive, caring, energetic, passionate, rushed, erratic, angry, aggressive, bitchy, frustrated, emotional… ?

The energy you carry with you will determine how others choose to interact with you. People will notice if it is contained, warm and inviting them closer or if it is scattered or a little “in your face” and pushing them away?

What is your energy doing?

4. Elevate your voice. Your words are only part of the picture. You will be giving away so much more through your tone, volume and rhythm of your voice. Some women speak so quietly they are barely heard, while others allow fear and doubt to creep in or make statements more like a question.

Notice what your habits are and pick one thing to focus on improving.

5. Empower your body. We all know that body language gives clues to what we are really thinking.

Do you have an empowering presence where you own your space or do you shrink and appear insecure in the company of people who you perceive as more powerful or dominant than you?

When you are stuck in your own head, filled with fear and overwhelm, you send out a message to stay away. But when you walk into a room with confidence and warmth, you signal that you are approachable and welcome connection and conversation.

What does your body language say?

Mastering your presence is the fastest path to maximising your influence and impact.

Remember your presence is either repelling or attracting people to you.  Give yourself the gift of creating authority and being truly seen as a leader by developing a magnetic presence.

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

Perfectionist workplace at office or home. Flat lay desktop with keyboard and office supplies

Why Perfectionism is a Problem (and…

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

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

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

Here’s how…

Jane Benston

beautiful business lady drinking coffee and uses different gadgets

Why You Need to Create Space…

Leaders are paid to think, not just do.

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

Let me clarify further …

Jane Benston

Portrait of mature businesswoman working on desktop

5 Ways You Can Start Leading…

The number 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader is to show your true self.

Now, my guess is some of you are sitting thinking, ‘Yes Jane, but that’s easier said than done. How do I show more of my true self?’

Jane Benston

Your professional reputation is at stake

Your professional reputation is at stake

 

How you show up at work matters. The type of energy you bring to your work impacts your effectiveness while also shaping your professional reputation. It’s not something many of us give much consideration to, but it can absolutely influencing our outcomes and whether or not new and exciting opportunities come our way.

So let’s pause and reflect on the type of energy you bring to work every day.

Imagine for a moment that you are encased in a bubble and in that bubble is your energy. That energy could be positive, energetic, loving, inspiring, compassionate, caring or it could be negative, stressed, anxious, angry, sharp, and abrasive, abrupt.

And as you move around the office, in the tea room, in meetings, sitting at your desk… your energy is bumping up against other people and is having either a positive or a negative impact.

Your energy will absolutely shape the opinion others have of you and influence the mood and the moral of the team.

Recently, I caught up with a senior leader whose energy dial was tuned into the land of frustration, crankiness and in a constant state of fighting against the system.  At every turn, all they could focus on were all the things that weren’t working and how a particular global decision was negatively impacting on them and their team.

They shared with me that they were constantly tired and feeling like they were in a “battle”.  They weren’t sleeping well and there is no doubt that they were gaining a reputation for being a negative influence around the office.

This was so unlike the bright, bubbly, solution-focused energy they usually brought to the leadership table.

So my question to you today is…

  • What energy are you known for around the office? 
  • Are you having a positive or a negative influence on those around you?

Let me channel Oprah for just one moment. One thing I know for sure is that….

Your energy is more contagious than the common cold!

And your energy also impacts your own personal productivity, the decisions you make and the effectiveness of your communication. It’s pretty difficult to think strategically or creatively or to build effective relationships with people when you are in a really crappy mood!

And most importantly, how you show up every day will absolutely be influencing your professional reputation.

The way you show up around the office will shape how people see you and feel about interacting with you. They will be silently judging whether they like working with you and whether they see you as an effective leader.

So let’s put on our big girl pants and take a little responsibility. 

It’s time to be more conscious of our energy and agree that there may be times when we’re not bringing our best selves to work.

HERE ARE 3 ENERGIES YOU ARE BEST TO BANISH FROM YOUR BUBBLE.

1. Overwhelmed Crazy Women. Yep … this is the crazy woman who is about to go into melt down. I know that you know her. Maybe you know her rather too well.

If you are familiar with this women, you know that it’s like her brain has been hijacked by an alien. She is unable to function effectively and she emits a chaotic energy. Her decision making powers have gone out the window along with their usual calm, rational efficiency.

Generally the trigger will be an unusually high workload that has spiralled out of control and ironically her response makes getting through her growing “to do list” almost impossible to complete.

2. Negative Nelly. Unfortunately this energy is all too common in many workplaces.   I know her well… she chose to show up in me for a time some years back. Ugly but true.

She genuinely loves to get involved in idol gossip that has nothing to do with her. She is fuelled by wingeing and complaining and has an incessant focus on problems outside of her control.

The glass is always half empty and she has every reason under the sun why things wont work. The Negative Nelly loves to blame others and make excuses… and rarely takes any responsibility.

3. Don’t Come Near Me … because I’m about to snap. Ahh… scary! If you are taken over by this energy, look out. You are about to get a reputation to be hard to work with and may well find your colleagues giving you a wide berth.

Some of your team will be scared of you, some wont trust you and some will choose to avoid you as best they can.

This angry ant is like a pressure cooker, on the verge of exploding. She can at times say things she doesn’t really mean but once they are out… she cant take them back.

And the choice is entirely yours…

Just like the leader who I met with recently, we all have the choice of how we show up and how we respond to situations around us.  So if you recognise that you have let one of these unresourceful energies out to play a little too often… think about what impact it is having on you, your work performance, your team engagement and ultimately your reputation?

Perhaps it’s time to upgrade the energy in your energy bubble!

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

Perfectionist workplace at office or home. Flat lay desktop with keyboard and office supplies

Why Perfectionism is a Problem (and…

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

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

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

Here’s how…

Jane Benston

beautiful business lady drinking coffee and uses different gadgets

Why You Need to Create Space…

Leaders are paid to think, not just do.

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

Let me clarify further …

Jane Benston

Portrait of mature businesswoman working on desktop

5 Ways You Can Start Leading…

The number 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader is to show your true self.

Now, my guess is some of you are sitting thinking, ‘Yes Jane, but that’s easier said than done. How do I show more of my true self?’

Jane Benston