The number of women in industry top positions isn’t at par with the number of men. Only 52 percent of women hold management and professional level jobs. Although you don’t come across female executives too often, this doesn’t mean there aren’t women in power. And they use their success to become role models.
A female role model will remind you about your goals and how to get there. Whether you are an agent selling final expense insurance or an 8-to-5 bank employee, it pays to seek advice from people doing amazing things in your industry.
Don’t just wing it.
Donna Frosco, President of President of the New York State Women’s Bar Association, highlights the need for mastery of one’s subject matter. Likewise, Ruth Mahoney, President of KeyBank Hudson Valley, advises to always be a student —learn about your job and your business. Develop new skills. Always be learning.
Make preparation a habit.
Meditate, study, and plan before you execute. It doesn’t have to be just during the mornings, but mornings would be a good place to start.
Never just surround yourself with people who are like you.
Médecins Sans Frontières International President Dr. Joanne Liu underscores the importance of a sounding board; someone who will not only listen but disagree, too. Allow people to challenge the way you think and how you decide. You will learn a lot from someone who sees things differently.
Chubb Insurance’s Kathleen Tierney also reminds leaders to appreciate feedback and to not be afraid to make mistakes. In case you do, own up to that error. Then make amends and move on.
Do you get uncomfortable when people disagree with you? Keep an open mind and see where others are coming from.
You need a network to succeed.
How many leaders try to do everything by themselves? When you’re fired up over something, you’re tempted to think that bringing people with you will only slow you down.
It could, at first. But the success journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Pursue goals together with your team and have a steady support group that has your back.
In Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great,” he investigates what great companies have in common. One of them is leaders who choose the right people to get on their bus. Every female leader needs people on her bus.
Once they’re on the bus, now what? Stevie Awards Female Entrepreneur of the Year Meg Driscoll advises leaders to bond with their team. Build rapport, trust, and even friendship. Know what motivates them and discourages them, so you can spur them on. Keeping your team engaged contributes to better working relationships.
On the other hand, you should have a “team” outside your workplace too. Donna Frosco says that having a support network is a key to success. This support network includes people who believe in you, who encourage you, correct you, and mentor you. They will keep you going when you feel like giving up. They will tell you the truth even if it hurts. Their presence is crucial to your success.
To succeed in career and life, you need to cultivate relationships with mentors.
The path to leadership and success for a woman may have intimidating hurdles but you are not without successful women mentors. Listen and learn from them. Don’t just wing it, always prepare for opportunities through diligent study. Welcome people who think differently. And don’t do it alone. Build a dynamic team and have a support network that will cheer you on.