fbpx

How to create a safe place for curiosity and innovation in your team

How to create a safe place for curiosity and innovation in your team.

In this transition period (which I believe will continue for a couple of years!) there will be lots of  change and uncertainty BUT our potential for creating long-lasting positive shifts during this time – to our workplace culture, systems and processes, the way we work, our relationship with innovation and experimentation – has never been more potent and achievable!

Right now YOU have an opportunity to have a say in shaping the new normal!

Does this make you as excited as it makes me?

One thing we know about change though, is that it’s not always easy.

When things have been done a certain way, unquestioned, for years (decades even!), it’s not uncommon for our cries for change to be met with resistance.

Which is why we can’t venture down this path alone.

Not only will great organisational change require you to step more boldly into your role as a Leader, you will need the support of an exceptional team who feel safe to communicate openly, explore new opportunities, take bold action, and make mistakes.

It’s only from this place of safety, that creativity and innovation can happen.

Here’s how you can begin to foster a sense of safety in your team:

One – Celebrate progress over perfection

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that great change can happen, even when it’s executed with ‘imperfect’ action.

Let me explain …

When COVID hit, organisations were forced to act QUICKLY. There was no time for detailed planning and test piloting, they simply had to respond.

As a result of this, most organisations ended up working in ways that were once labelled as ‘impossible’ – aka, working from home and running meetings via Zoom!

Did these changes roll out ‘perfectly’ without glitches? No.

But did everyone adapt and learn as time passed? Absolutely!

The same goes now – we don’t need to be striving for perfection, but we do need to be moving forward and trying new and innovative ways of working. 

Encouraging progress over perfection creates a sense of safety among teams because people feel encouraged to be curious to experiment.

Two – Embrace and learn from mistakes

Much like celebrating progress and acting before you have a detailed plan in place, I encourage you to embrace and learn from any mistakes that are made along the way.

Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to work under the progressive mantra of “giving it a go and stumbling, is better than not giving it a go at all”?

It would completely revolutionise the way we work!

This kind of mantra builds safety, supports creative ideas to flow and fosters innovation and out-of-the-box thinking! 

It’s absolutely okay not to get things right the first time – all ‘failures’ give us wonderful lessons to learn from!

Three – Get your Executive team on board

When creating long lasting change, it’s important to get your Executive team on board.

Without their support, your efforts will feel like an uphill battle and any changes made won’t be sustainable. 

Sometimes this will be easy – but not always. 

Be patient and persistent, and trust that ‘planting seeds’ will help to shift things in time.

Will galvanising their support take courage? Absolutely! Especially in those organisations where change and innovation is less embraced.

I encourage you to simply plant the ideas, allow them to sprout, and then give your colleagues the time they need to catch up and get on board.

While they do, find the people you know are going to jump in and say ‘YES!’ quickly, and invest your energy there! 

You don’t need to be a Lone Ranger, and having a support team behind you will make the journey easier and more enjoyable.


Need support knowing how best to take the lead and create a safe space for curiosity and innovation in your team? 

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

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

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

Similar Blog Posts

From doing it all … to…

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

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

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

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

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

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

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

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Show more of your true self.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

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

Similar Blog Posts

From doing it all … to…

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

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

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

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

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

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

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

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

4 quick ways to create more white space in your calendar (so you have time to think, breathe and lead!)

4 quick ways to create more white space in your calendar (so you have time to think, breathe and lead!)

And the great news is, when you do, you have more of a chance at getting your skills, talents and achievements seen and recognised (hello, promotions and opportunities!) PLUS, you’ll feel far less exhausted!

Mid career professionals are employed as leaders to think, not just do.

Unfortunately, many leader’s calendars are overflowing with tasks, back-to-back meetings and inboxes full of emails. Despite sometimes working nights and weekends in an effort to stay on top of things, they never seem to catch up. They are time poor and exhausted.

When you’re busy, it can be easy to think that you can’t invite white space into your calendar. But you can! 

Here’s 4 easy ways you can create more white space in your calendar, today!

One – Delegate

If you lead a team you have them for a reason, so utilise them! It’s not your job to do Busy Bee work, it’s your job to do Queen Bee work. Having white space allows you to do this!

Consider who you have on your team, what their strengths and interests are, and what tasks/meetings/opportunities you can hand over to them.

Two – Say no

As a leader, you don’t have to say yes to every request that crosses your path. In fact, a leader stands in her power, assesses how doing said task may or may not add value to the organisation, and makes a considered decision from there.

Saying no doesn’t make you weak or incapable, it establishes you as an authority!

Three – Prioritise

It can be easy to want to do everything and ‘close all the tabs’ at the end of the work day/week but the simple fact of the matter is, the work will never be over.

Prioritising what is most important will support you to stay focussed on the work that truly matters and supports the growth of your team, your organisation and your career.

Four – Carve out time

Once you’ve gotten into a rhythm delegating, saying no and prioritising, you can create some white space in your calendar and carve out time to work on bigger and more strategic projects (the ones that get you recognised for the leader you truly are!)

This space will allow you to get your creative juices flowing, solve problems and create new and innovative ideas that will make you stand out in the crowd and put you in a position of power.

Make this time a non-negotiable and treat it with the respect it deserves! 


Want to dive deeper into this topic (and so much more!)? 

In my free training, The Next Level: A 14 Minute Crash Course In How To Breakthrough To The Next Level Of Leadership, Impact and Recognition, I teach mid career professional women, like you, how to breakthrough to their next level of leadership, impact and recognition quickly and easily.

You’ll walk away with practical and tangible steps that you can implement straight away that will support you to create even more white space, move from doing to leading, and be seen as an authority in your workplace.

You can sign up for the free training here.

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

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

Similar Blog Posts

From doing it all … to…

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

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

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

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

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

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

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

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

Why the art of decision making is critical to your leadership

Why the art of decision making is critical to your leadership.

One of the primary differences between a mid-level leader and a senior leader is the size and number of decisions they need to make in a day.  As we progress and grow as leaders we will be called upon to make more decision more often with ever increasing impact.

So, becoming comfortable with and 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.

Appearing indecisive, on the other hand, 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 unshakeable 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 balanced 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 Branson. 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 overdo this one. We have a tendency to want to consult and to get consensus from the team. Don’t over play this behaviour or you could be perceived as indecisive or 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

From doing it all … to…

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

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

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

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

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

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

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

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

Why you must stop doing and start leading.

Why you must stop doing and start leading.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to shift your professional reputation from doer to leader:

1. Create space.

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

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

2. Get strategic.

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

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

3. Get visible.

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

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

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

You are employed to lead – so lead.   

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

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

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

Similar Blog Posts

From doing it all … to…

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

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

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

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

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

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

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

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

Why working hard is hurting your professional growth

Why working hard is hurting your professional growth

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

But yet… 

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

But why? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Step into Queen Bee work. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Lead rather than do! 

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

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

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

3. Focus on developing strategic relationships

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

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

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

Being overlooked is frustrating and can impact your confidence. 

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

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

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

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

Similar Blog Posts

From doing it all … to…

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

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

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

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

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

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

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

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

5 Rules You Need To Break.

5 Rules You Need To Break

We learn early on in life the rules we need to follow to stay safe, be liked and to get ahead. 

But many of the rules we learned growing up as little girls and young women were not designed to develop courageous leadership. Many of us were taught to be good girls, to play nice and work hard. These rules work well in the early years but, as you progress in your career and take on more of a leadership role, some of these rules will most certainly hold you back. 

So, here are my top 5 rules to break. 

 1. Saying yes all of the time. 

Saying NO creates the space to say YES to the perfect opportunities that come your way.  

In the beginning of your career, success is about saying yes to pretty much everything. But you cannot continue to say yes… you will end up burnt out or in a job you no longer love.  

There comes a time when you must focus your time and energy on the activities and tasks that will allow you to step up to the next level of leadership. 

 2. Waiting for permission. 

Most of us have been 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. 

Decide today to set a goal and take action. Do not wait to know every step for now. Do not wait until your plan is perfect to get started. Its 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 you get into momentum. 

 4. Not sharing what you think. 

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. You are not a leader if you are not sharing your thoughts and saying what you think. 

5. Fixing your weaknesses while ignoring your strengths. 

Throughout our early years there is a focus on fixing our weakness. For me that meant plenty of feedback and extra classes to overcome my struggles with spelling. (Clearly it didn’t work given this continues to be a major challenge!)  

Now is the time to switch your focus to your strengths and align your career with the type of work that comes easily to you and that you do best.   

Focusing on your strengths will bring way more joy, job satisfaction and allow you to achieve the results you are truly capable of. 

Which of these rules do you need to break today? Don’t wait for permission.  Just do 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

From doing it all … to…

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

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

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

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

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

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

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

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

Opportunity Is Knocking. Will You Answer The Call?

Opportunity Is Knocking.
Will You Answer The Call?

The time is now!

Opportunity is knocking for professional women. Ladies, our time is now. A change has been brewing over the last couple of years and now it’s knocking loudly on our door.

Do you feel it?

Women all over the world are refusing to play small and to stay silent. Over the last 12 months we have seen the power of change that comes from an engaged, energised and empowered collective of women.

From the global women’s march in early 2017, the #metoo movement and powerful image of the “Fearless Girl” on Wall St, we see issues that have long been ignored or hidden, become front page news.

Women everywhere are rising up and taking the “women’s movement” mainstream. No longer is this a women’s only conversation. Men are becoming more vocal and aware of gender issues and finding ways to be active as allies.

At a local level I’m seeing signs that businesses (large and small) are finally putting genuine effort towards creating more opportunities to support women to have a greater impact at the leadership table.

Women in my inner circle are being offered seriously impressive promotions and attracting significant pay rises. Their collaboration, negotiation, team building and problem solving skills are being called upon like never before.

And the genuine support coming from both senior men and women from within organisations is increasingly positive.

The conversations I’ve had with senior leaders recently have been heart felt and genuine in their desire to do better when supporting their high potential women … not because they have to but because they want to.

They know they have a pool of talented women who are hungry for growth and to contribute to their fullest potential. And they know the ripple effect supporting their high performing women will have throughout the business.

To say that I’m hopeful for what the future holds for professional women is a massive understatement.

Ladies … this is our moment.

Are you ready to step up with courage to embrace the opportunities I’m certain are poised to emerge for so many?

I’m not so naive to think that this will be easy. It will take work. It will require courage. It will mean taking a chance or two and have some faith in yourself and the people you bring into your inner circle to support you.

My question today is … are you with me?

Are you committed to do the work to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that will no doubt open up? Do you have the courage to answer the call?

Here’s to being bold and having an impact beyond what was possible just a few short years ago.

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

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

Similar Blog Posts

From doing it all … to…

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

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

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

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

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

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

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

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

Tired, overwhelmed and plagued with uncertainty! So how can you perform at your best?

Tired, overwhelmed and plagued with uncertainty! So how can you perform at your best?

“What state are you in when you perform at your best as a leader?”

I first came across this powerful question in Michael Buntings brilliant book; The Mindful Leader. If you haven’t read it I’d highly recommend it.

We intuitively know the answer to this even if we haven’t thought about it before.

We know that we are most likely to do our best work when we are well rested and full of energy rather than feeling out of sorts or sleep deprived.

We respond best when we are calm rather than flustered or overwhelmed.

We achieve our best results when we are courageous, open and supported rather than fearful, closed and under attack

And we create the best outcomes when we have confidence in our abilities rather than experiencing uncertainty or we are out of our depth.

Simple really! So when was the last time you focused on preparing yourself for high performance?

In his book, Michael Bunting encourages us to “deliberately cultivate a state of wellness and be a beacon of goodness, responsiveness and clarity even in the toughest circumstances.”

The more I think about this the more obvious it seems.

Elite athletes follow this practice – so why wouldn’t we? They know that to perform at their peak they need to take care of their mind, body and soul.

They train hard, fuel their bodies with the right nutrition, incorporate periods of rest and recovery and more and more they are placing their trust in the power of meditation and mindfulness.

The winning team of the 2018 AFL Grand Final – Richmond, attributed some of their rapid rise to the ultimate goal to the introduction of a daily mindfulness practice.

So if we know that these are the ingredients for high performance – then why are we not setting ourselves up for success? I think the simple answer is that we think we are too busy or that it really doesn’t make that much of a difference.

I now believe it makes all the difference!

Since introducing this concept to the ladies in my inner circle program – The Leadership Connection, they have told me that it’s one of the things that has made the biggest difference to them, not only professionally but also personally.

So what have they done that’s making such a big difference?

Here are 4 Keys to deliberately cultivate high performance.

1. Start well. How we start each day has a massive impact on our outcomes and our performance. It sets the foundation for our energy and focus. A chaotic, rushed start will often leave us feeling chaotic and rushed for the rest of the day.

Where ever possible create a routine that sets you up for the type of state that enhances your performance. This is likely to be a different for all of us but for me this includes a little exercise while listening to an educational podcast, a healthy breakfast and a review of my high priority action list.

I know that when I by pass this routine for a sleep in, both my mind and body feel sluggish, leaving it nigh on impossible for me to work as effectively or productively as I’d like.

2. Know what matters. This is all about clarity. Without clarity confusion reins and nothing good comes from a state of confusion.

Getting clear on what matters most to you, your team and the business allows you to prioritise and focus your time and energy. It keeps you on track and allows us to choose what requests to say yes to and which to say no to.

We can choose to be busy being busy, ticking off a to do list OR we can make time for the projects that really move the dial and get us seen and recognised for all we are capable of.

3. Slow down to speed up. This may seem counter intuitive but I believe we must all slow down a little.   (Me included!)

Rushing from meeting to meeting, checking emails and sending off quick messages to manage the latest disaster is not conducive for creative or strategic thinking. How often have you reacted to a situation in a way that only made it worse, during a time of busyness or stress.

Spending time planning is a worthy investment. As is creating what I call “white space;” that precious time in your calendar where you have NOTHING planned.

It could be as simple as blocking out time over lunch to get outside and breath. You might be surprised at how the answer to a problem you have been stewing over, suddenly seems so clear. 

4. Listen.   Building self awareness through listening is critical. Listening to you body, your thoughts and your emotions will all leave clues to what’s working and what’s not.

Aches and pains and recurring illness are often signs that something is out of alignment. There is significant research that demonstrates the link between our emotional and physical wellbeing.

So listen to your emotions. I recently spoke with a senior professional woman who expressed her frustration, having either cried or become angry on a number of occasions in the presence of senior leaders.   Not only was it unhelpful in the situation, she felt it undermined her authority and her position.

And listen to your thoughts. A persistent racing, chaotic mind or self defeating self talk will not support high performance.

So what will you do to deliberately cultivate a healthy physical, emotional and mental state? The simple decision to manage your internal world more effectively will create positive change in your external world.  Let’s make these small every day tweaks to improve how you perform as a leader.

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

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

Similar Blog Posts

From doing it all … to…

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

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

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

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

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

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

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

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston