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.

So 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 loosing sight on 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, to 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.

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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 your 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 as a leader.

I was speaking with a delightful professional woman last night 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 an powerful presence you are likely to struggle to get the attention, support and engagement you are seeking.

The good news is our presence is something we 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 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 our relationship with fear that makes the difference. If we allow ourselves to be ruled by our fears it will hold us back and show up in subtle ways that will impact how others perceive us.

To show up in a way that draws people in we must confront and make peace with our 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 is it scattered or a little “in your face” and pushing them away?

What is yours 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 our body language give 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 we are stuck in our own head, filled with fear and overwhelm we send out a message to stay away. But when we walk into a room with confidence and warmth we signal that we 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 truly seen as a leader by developing a magnetic presence.

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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!

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Does Happiness Matter To Leadership Performance?

Does Happiness Matter To Leadership Performance?

 

How happy are you in your current role? Pretty simple question really but not one we ask ourselves that often. Maybe it’s because we don’t really want to admit the answer.

And what does happiness have to do with work, career and being a productive, inspiring, high performing leader anyway? I’d suggest … a lot.

Think about it. When do you do your best work?

Is it when you are wallowing in you own self pity party day dreaming about getting as far away as you can from the day to day grind of your uninspiring job with uninspiring people that leaves you cold? I would think not!

Happiness is at the core of creating a productive team culture, where collaboration and supporting each other to achieve exceptional results are the norm. It’s important for sparking creative ideas and innovative problem solving.

And it all starts with you.

If as a leader, you’re not happy and having some fun… it is very unlikely you will cultivate a team who bring a fun, happy and engaged energy to their work. Know one thing for sure… you set the tone and your energy and behaviours are contagious.

Intuitively we know this is true… and now research from the fields of positive psychology and neuroscience are making a clear connection between happiness and success.  It turns out that when our brain is in a positive state, it is actually primed for higher levels of success and performance.

So it would make sense we seek happiness… not just because it feels good but also because it has a powerful impact on our work performance and outcomes.

Start here to improve your happiness... and your results.

1. Choose your attitude.

Your attitude has a powerful effect on you and on the people you lead. What impact do you want to have on them?

If you are filled with negativity and bring a grumpy or may I say, bitchy or gossipy energy into the office… you will be influencing the general actions and behaviours of your team.

It is your responsibility to set the tone for your team…. regardless of the tone being generated above you. You may not be able to influence a shift in the broader company culture … however you can influence the culture of your team by choosing your attitude wisely.

The attitude you bring to work will have an impact on your own personal work performance, the effectiveness of your relationships and the way you are being perceived.

And most importantly… your overall level of happiness.

2. Reassess your role.

Does your role bring you joy and happiness? We spend such a large part of our lives at work… let’s make sure it’s work that makes us happy. We do our best work when we are engaged in work that we are passionate about and that allows us to put our greatest skills and unique talents to work.

And doing work we are proud of matters! Making a real contribution, having an impact and being able to influence the direction or business outcomes is what brings many of us the most joy.

So if you have found yourself in a role that no longer inspires you to do your best work and leaves you feeling depleted, disengaged or unfulfilled… it might be time to consider what’s next.

And if you are unsure about what’s next or you are waiting for the courage to take the next step, then consider coming along to the next 1 day workshop for professional women: Career by Design to map out the next phase of your career.

Life is too short to be stuck in a role that does not make you happy!

Choose your attitude, choose your career path, choose to fire up your right brain, choose happiness!

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10 actions to close out the year.

10 actions to close out the year.

 

There is no doubt that this is a very busy time of the year. There are the projects to complete, end of year functions to attend, shopping malls to navigate and the odd family drama’s to attend to.

So I am sure that you don’t need me to add anything more to your long “to do” list.

But I am going to… because it’s time to close out the year.

It’s time to celebrate your achievements and recognise the struggles. Acknowledge and appreciate your growth and start preparing for next year. It’s time to clear the clutter, close this chapter and create space for a fresh start and fulfilling year in 2016.

Here are 10 actions to add to your “to do” list to close out the year

1. Create a “small tasks” list. We all have those pesky little jobs that are non urgent but really should be done. Make the most of this time to give yourself a deadline to get them done. You will feel satisfied and accomplished once they are finally checked off your to do list.

2. Set aside time for big picture thinking. For much of the year it is about putting your head down and just getting the job done. Use this time for some big picture thinking. Grab some texta’s and some flip paper and map out the strategy for next year. Get clear on what are the big priorities for next year and identify the outcomes you want you and your team to achieve.

Think about whether you have the right people on the team, what resources you might need and anything else you might need to consider for the strategy to be a success.

3. Have the hard conversations. If you have been putting off having a difficult conversation with one of your team, schedule it in and get it done. Performance issues don’t generally just go away. By having the conversation now you are allowing them to process the feedback over the break and return with a new and improved approach in the New Year.

4. Set up for career for success. Take some time to reflect on the year that was. Acknowledge your growth, big wins and the successful projects completed. Pause to consider where you want you career to head next year. Think about your professional development and determine what skills, knowledge or experience will aid your career progression.

5. Say thanks. Showing gratitude and appreciation goes a long way. Take the time to write a hand written note to clients, colleagues and mentors who have supported you throughout the year. Acknowledge what you appreciate … the more specific you can be, the better.

6. Write a January to do list. I love to create an action list prior to taking leave so that on my return I can hit the ground running. It also minimises the risk of important jobs falling off the radar over the break.

7. Clear your desk. I am sure that this one is not on the list just for me. I have to confess that my desk is chaos much of the time but I LOVE the sense of clarity that comes from an uncluttered desk. And don’t just stop at tidying up your desk. Plan a total clear out. Give the shredder a workout, ditching old files and fill your bin with anything that’s no longer needed. It is time to purge the old to allow space for the new.

8. Empty your inbox. Next it’s time to tackle your inbox. For me this is going to be a big job with 1856 emails currently sitting in my inbox (ouch!) Yes they are all read – but now need to be deleted or filed.

And while you are at it, take a look at your electronic filing system. Now’s the time to archive, reorganise and tidy up!

9. Set your out of office message. You are almost there. Identify back up plans and who will manage queries in your absence. And then walk out the door, slip into a holiday frock and sit back with an ice cold drink.

10. Unwind, recharge, refresh! NOW… the most important step of all. Disconnect! If at all possible make a commitment to unplug, switch off and go technology free. Take this time to fully let go, unwind and recharge. Be present with your family and allow the busyness to subside. It’s time for you fill your cup and allow your mind to be still. Enjoy.

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How to maintain your leadership mojo when things get busy

How to maintain your leadership mojo when things get busy

Got too much on your plate? Feeling overworked, overwhelmed and stressed out?

You are definitely not alone. In our busy world of multiple demands.. at work and at home.. life can get a little hectic at times. And then if we throw in some work travel, extra commitments outside hours or some tight deadlines we can sometimes push it too far and we can loose our leadership Mojo.

To make matters worse, we women too often put the needs of everyone else before our own. We say yes to that extra commitment, work our butt off to get things “perfect” and “right” or take care of what needs to be done because no one else seems to doing it.

We put everything and everyone ahead of our own needs.

Doing your best work, remaining productive and focused, keeping your mood and emotions in check; these are all vitally important to any leader. To achieve this we need to feel fresh, energised and on our game….. not stressed out and tied!

My question today is “What are you doing to take care of you?”

What are you doing to allow your brilliant best to shine every day at work, even when things get a little busy?

We all know what we should be doing… but are we doing it?

These are questions I have had to ask of myself more than once over the past couple of months with an increasingly busy schedule involving plenty of interstate travel. Early morning flights, long days of workshop facilitation and living out of a suitcase can really disrupt my regular routines.

Too often when we get busy the first thing we drop off the to do list is our self care. But it is exactly these times when maintaining our self care rituals and routines are most important.

Here are my personal rules for maintaining my leadership mojo even when things get busy.

1. Keep moving. Ok… you don’t need me to tell you that exercise is important. It is important for our health and it is also important for our brain function to maximize our productivity, our creativity and our general mood. No one likes a grump around the office!

With my busy schedule I like to have options. When the weather is fine there is nothing better than an early morning walk to get me set up for a productive day.  But the thing that has made the biggest difference to me this year in a regular Pilates and Yoga practise.   Have you tried CLASSPASS to access thousands of different classes at studios and gyms in your city and around the world.  I LOVE it.  It gives my such choice and flexibility and is perfect for my busy lifestyle

When we get busy it is all about keeping it simple, having options and be ok that doing something is better than doing nothing at all.

2. Quality refuelling. If you put poor quality fuel in a racing car it doesn’t go to well. We are the same. We can’t expect our mind and bodies to perform at their best if we don’t pay them the respect with high quality fuel.

This is about quality whole foods. But of equal importance is keeping hydrated. I had let this one slip over the last couple of months. The easiest solution for this is to always have a water bottle on hand or my personal favourite of late… a jug of water infused with mint and lemon. Yum!

3. Still the mind. There is now proof, thanks to recent research, that meditation and the powerful state of “mindfulness” is good for our leadership. Not that I need proof. Intuitively I know that when I make time for even 10 minutes of meditation I feel calmer and my thinking expands allowing ideas to flow, creative solutions to appear and projects to be completed without quite so much effort.

If you are looking to get started with a little guided meditation I can recommend the Deepak and Oprah 21 day meditation experience.

4. Say NO. Learn the art of not automatically saying yes to every request. How often have you said yes to something, only to later wonder why you did or worse still, feel resentful and trapped into doing something you don’t want to do or is not your responsibility? Instead, take you time. Think it through and only commit to those things that are part of your job, of real interest to you or will help you to achieve your career goals.

5. Schedule me time. Ladies…. I know that many of us are hard wired to put others before ourselves. However if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can all too easily end up feeling depleted, burnt out and exhausted. And when this happens we end up with nothing left to give anyone.

NEXT STEPS?

If you like what you have read, Click HERE  and pop your name and email into the boxes and come join this growing community of extraordinary, passionate, down to earth women just like you who are committed to finding their place at the leadership table.

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Are you playing the game by the rules?

Are you playing the game by the rules?

Are you playing the game? Do you even know the rules? 

The game of career success within the corporate environment is run by some very subtle but very important rules. If you have felt that your progress has been blocked leaving you feeling stuck and disillusioned it may be because you have neglected the rules.

But it’s not your fault.

No one ever mentioned that there were rules to play by!

Many corporate cultures continue to be dominated by a masculine paradigm and the old boys network. Lets face it; it has only been in recent years that women have entered this space in large numbers. Big business was created by men and continues to be dominated by men. It should then not come as any surprise to us that the guiding principles that underpin large organisations continue to be masculine in nature.

What this means is that success is viewed in a primarily masculine framework where position, power and results are paramount and the generally held ideals for leadership qualities such as assertiveness, decisiveness and being goal driven are recognised and rewarded more often.

This is not about fixing women and hating men!

My passion and mission is to help more and more women gain a seat at the leadership table and for more men and women to work side by side, bringing a shift in our corporate culture. We need both to achieve the best results, to create engaging and harmonious working environments and capitalize on all the talent that is available.

It’s about bringing diversity of thought to the decision making table.

A recent study by Credit Suisse where they examined the performance of 3000 companies in 40 markets over 9 years found that companies where women occupied half of the top jobs did 50% better than those that didn’t.

So… we really do need to harness the power of women!  But first we need to be taught the rules so we can play the game, to have more influence and to path your way to advancement.

Here are just a few of the rules to be mindful of and to master if you want to increase your influence and impact.

1.  It’s Not About The Work

As women many of us have been conditioned through our school years and early years of employment to believe that if we work hard and do good work that we will be rewarded. Not True!

Working hard and getting results will get you through the door but its your power and influence and your ability to connect with the people with power and influence that will help those results to be recognised, celebrated and ultimately rewarded by things like promotions.

So ladies, stop putting in hours and hours of work to make your presentations or reports 5% better.   Focusing that time instead on understanding the power dynamics within your organisation will get you so much further.

2.  Have an opinion

You will never earn the respect of the boys network if you are uncertain, wishy washy and remain firmly planted on the fence. It’s time to take a position and own it. Having an opinion and being willing to defend that position is really important when it comes to gaining respect of your peers and influencing up.

And be willing to engage in the moment and speak up in meetings. I hear from many women who feel like their ideas are brushed over or the conversation moves too fast to get their opinion heard. The secret here is to be intentional about the way you show up at meetings.

One woman who I have worked with admitted that she rarely spoke up in meetings. By simply going into each meeting with the intention of speaking up just once each meeting has changed the influence she has within the team and has ultimately resulted in a promotion.

3.  Language is power

Our language is powerful but sometimes we undermine our own worth by the words we use. To position yourself as a strategic partner it’s paramount that you deliver your ideas with power and certainty.

For example: Replace “I think this might work” with “I recommend….”

By voicing your ideas with strength, certainty and authority you will position yourself as an expert and a problem solver. Allow your voice to be heard and own your opinion in your unique authentic way.

4.  Be Bold

Fortune favours the bold! Be bold when it comes to accepting career opportunities. Did you know that studies have shown that men will accept a new role provided they believe they can fulfil about 60% of the requirements where as women will wait until they believe they can satisfy closer to 90% of the requirement?

Ladies it is time to step boldly into job opportunities as they come up. Say yes and then work our how. Surround yourself with a team of people who can support your transition and learning and trust that you would not have been considered for the role if others didn’t think you were capable.

Unfortunately every time you say NO to an opportunity you are sending a signal that you are not capable or interested in promotion.

The evidence is clear.

We require more women to be working side by side with men to promote thriving workplaces.   By understanding the unspoken rules that currently dominate many organizations, we can become part of the game. Eventually with more women participating at the highest level we will gradually change the game but right now we need to be playing by the rules to advance in greater numbers.

NEXT STEPS?

If you like what you have read, Click HERE  and pop your name and email into the boxes and come join this growing community of extraordinary, passionate, down to earth women just like you who are committed to finding their place at the leadership table.

LET'S CONNECT

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Why you’re not being promoted

I’ve had a number of conversations this week with smart, mid-career professional women who have fallen into the trap of being the “go-to girl.” Perhaps you too are the go-to girl. Or you might be known as the Jack of all trades, the fix-it woman or have earned the label of “reliable”…

Jane Benston

Are you the “go-to girl”?

I’ve had a number of conversations this week with smart, mid-career professional women who have fallen into the trap of being the “go-to girl.” Perhaps you too are the go-to girl. Or you might be known as the Jack of all trades, the fix-it woman or have earned the label of “reliable”…

Jane Benston

Who’s on your A team?

Who’s on your A team?

Who do you have to hold your hand, believe in you, hold you steady when you slip into moments of self doubt, push you, challenge you, tell you when you are off course, clear the path for you and advocate for you in the right circles?

Our career success has as much to do with the relationships we create as it does with doing great work.

We need other people in our lives if we want to do our best work, to sharpen us, challenge us, help us to see the world in different ways, spark our creativity and innovation and to celebrate the wins.

I have noticed the highly successful leaders I have worked with all have strong networks and relationships that underpin their professional success.

Therese is a great example of this. She is an in demand senior executive who has recently arrived back in Australia after working in the US for the past 10 years. Within weeks of landing in Australia she has assembled her A Team around her to support her transition, to get the word out about the type of work she is looking for and advocate for her.

This A Team is made up of long time friends and colleagues as well a collection of powerful new connections and partnerships with people who are helping her to fast track the process. And fast tracked she has with a job offer not far away.

It’s all about relationships.

Too often when we get busy, it is our relationships that suffer. I understand… because I have fallen into this trap too. We prioritise “getting the job done” over building and nurturing relationships. But the time we invest in our relationships will always pay dividends down the track.

And ladies… lets face it, we are hardwired to connect and collaborate. It’s time we reconnected with this super power and put it to good use as we step into having a greater influence at the leadership table.  So I wonder…. who’s on your A Team?

Todd Henry from the Accidental Creative Podcast has identified 3 key types of relationships we all need to nurture.

1. Mirrors

These are the people who are willing to hold up a mirror for you and to tell you the things you don’t want to hear… but need to hear! They will challenge us, push us beyond our comfort zone and expect even more from us than we expect from ourselves.

Who do you have in your network who will speak the truth, provide honest feedback because they are genuinely invested in you and want to see you succeed?

My challenge to you today is to find someone who can be your mirror and ask them;

“What’s something that I don’t see and you think could be holding me back.”

You might be surprised by what you find out. It might be a little painful. And it will always be valuable if you choose to listen.

2.  Circles

We all need an inner circle of like minded confidantes to hang out with, have inspiring conversations with, to bounce ideas around with, to lift us up when we are down and dance and sing with us when we achieve great things.

I love my inner circle.

I have a collection of proactive, inspiring, beautifully soulful women in my life who have undoubtedly contributed to many of my proudest achievements this year and without them many of these achievements would feel somewhat hollow. These women have been my sounding board, they have pushed me, held me accountable and most importantly shared a glass or two of bubbles along the way.

3. Guides

These are people who have achieved what you want to achieve. They may be just a few steps ahead or they may be people who have already scaled the mountain you want to climb. They will share with you the shortcuts, guide you on what steps to take and steer you away from the pitfalls that you are not yet able to see.

Over time these people are likely clear the way and open doors for you; advocate for you and shine a light on opportunities that you may not have noticed.

And most importantly all relationship are two way.

As your career progresses think about who you can bring along with you. When we go beyond ourselves and help others it opens us up to new pathways of passion, knowledge and self understanding.

Who can you be a mirror or guide for?

NEXT STEPS?

If you like what you have read, Click HERE  and pop your name and email into the boxes and come join this growing community of extraordinary, passionate, down to earth women just like you who are committed to finding their place at the leadership table.

LET'S CONNECT

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As we begin the run down to the end of the year, are you beginning to feel the pressure to get projects completed, lift the team to new levels or ramp up efforts to meet KPI’s and budgets?

Women often tell me they are already running hard and are not sure how they can do even more – both in and out of work…

Jane Benston

Why you’re not being promoted

I’ve had a number of conversations this week with smart, mid-career professional women who have fallen into the trap of being the “go-to girl.” Perhaps you too are the go-to girl. Or you might be known as the Jack of all trades, the fix-it woman or have earned the label of “reliable”…

Jane Benston

Are you the “go-to girl”?

I’ve had a number of conversations this week with smart, mid-career professional women who have fallen into the trap of being the “go-to girl.” Perhaps you too are the go-to girl. Or you might be known as the Jack of all trades, the fix-it woman or have earned the label of “reliable”…

Jane Benston

Improved team behaviours starts with you

Improved team behaviours starts with you

Are you modelling the types of team behaviours that you want your team to project?

I was reading an article recently by AFL reporter David Sygall who said “They say sporting teams come to reflect the personality of the coach. A coach who worries will lead a team that panics under pressure. One who is disorganised will lead a team that loses focus. And a coach who complains will lead a team of excuse makers.”

It got me thinking about how much our leadership impacts the action, behaviour and results of our teams.

Our team members are constantly watching us, feeding off our energy, learning what actions and behaviours are acceptable, rewarded and recognised and each and every day without even realising they become more like us. Scary but true!

Just like the ripple from a pebble being thrown into a pond… your attitude and behaviours as a leader will trickle down to your followers, and the way you treat your team, is the way they’ll treat those who work below them.

Change starts with YOU.

So when we are dissatisfied with the performance, behaviours or the attitude of our team the first place we need to look for solutions is within ourselves. Yes I know, the knee jerk reaction is usually to look for answers externally, but so often this is not where the improvements lie.

Think about it. If you work long hours, send emails late into the night and check in on the team even when you are on leave, do you think you are setting the standard for your team to do the same???

If you are consistently late for meetings, pay only lip service to the annual performance review process and take every opportunity to shift the blame for poor project delivery or team performance …. then how can you expect any different from your team???

The way you show up every day at work matters. Your actions and behaviours are contagious and you will shape the development of your team.

3 Simple Steps To Improved Team Behaviours  

Here is a simple model I use regularly with my coaching clients to help them to consciously design the type of leader they would like to be.

(Hint: Do this exercise now … it will only take 5 – 10 but will have a huge impact on your effectiveness.)

Step 1. Get clear on the type of team you would like to CREATE.

Brainstorm how you would like your team to be. Start by thinking about how you would like other people to describe your team. Would they say they are innovative, supportive, collaborative, fun, easy to work with, responsive? What sort of results would you like them to achieve? What type of characters would you like to have on the team? What skill sets are important?

Step 2. Identify the type of leader you need to BE.

Now that you are clear on your team, now think about who do you need to BE as a leader to create that team. Do you need to be driven, creative, courageous, determined, focused, fun, a developer of people, caring, strategic, goal orientated, daring?

Remember who you each day in your role as a leader will set the tone for your team.

What aspects of the managers and leaders who you know would you like to emulate? Which aspects do you NOT want to take on? What areas of your leadership could you focus more on to ensure that you create the team as you have described it in step 1.

Step 3. Take action. What do you need to DO to create the team you want?

Improving your teams performance most often includes taking action towards self improvement! We can not expect exceptional performance from our team if our own standards are a little sloppy.

So if you are turning up late to meetings… commit to being on time. If your attitude sucks… fix it! If you consistently take the easy route rather than being bold, innovative and solution focused then it is time to shift gears and seek more than mediocre results.

Ask yourself the tough question. Which of your behaviours are holding your team back? Make a commitment today to show up in a bigger and better way that will allow your team to grow and thrive.

NEXT STEPS?

If you like what you have read, Click HERE  and pop your name and email into the boxes and come join this growing community of extraordinary, passionate, down to earth women just like you who are committed to finding their place at the leadership table.

LET'S CONNECT

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Women often tell me they are already running hard and are not sure how they can do even more – both in and out of work…

Jane Benston

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I’ve had a number of conversations this week with smart, mid-career professional women who have fallen into the trap of being the “go-to girl.” Perhaps you too are the go-to girl. Or you might be known as the Jack of all trades, the fix-it woman or have earned the label of “reliable”…

Jane Benston

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I’ve had a number of conversations this week with smart, mid-career professional women who have fallen into the trap of being the “go-to girl.” Perhaps you too are the go-to girl. Or you might be known as the Jack of all trades, the fix-it woman or have earned the label of “reliable”…

Jane Benston

Are You An Accidental Leader?

Are You An Accidental Leader?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT STEPS?

If you like what you have read, Click HERE  and pop your name and email into the boxes and come join this growing community of extraordinary, passionate, down to earth women just like you who are committed to finding their place at the leadership table.

LET'S CONNECT

Similar Blog Posts

Your Busy Period Survival Guide

As we begin the run down to the end of the year, are you beginning to feel the pressure to get projects completed, lift the team to new levels or ramp up efforts to meet KPI’s and budgets?

Women often tell me they are already running hard and are not sure how they can do even more – both in and out of work…

Jane Benston

Why you’re not being promoted

I’ve had a number of conversations this week with smart, mid-career professional women who have fallen into the trap of being the “go-to girl.” Perhaps you too are the go-to girl. Or you might be known as the Jack of all trades, the fix-it woman or have earned the label of “reliable”…

Jane Benston

Are you the “go-to girl”?

I’ve had a number of conversations this week with smart, mid-career professional women who have fallen into the trap of being the “go-to girl.” Perhaps you too are the go-to girl. Or you might be known as the Jack of all trades, the fix-it woman or have earned the label of “reliable”…

Jane Benston