As a young professional woman who’s had a very successful international career, I know what it takes to become a respected female leader in a “man’s world.” Women are starting to bridge the salary and status gap, but there’s still a lot of work to be done, and mindset changes, for us to be on par with our male counterparts, but there are several ways to catalyze this process.
1. Make Professional Success Your Priority
To be a leader in any industry, you need to want it. The idea of having professional success and climbing the elusive corporate ladder and breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling, is something that you have decided is in your future. Being in a position of authority takes sacrifice, hard-work, biting your tongue at times and commitment. It cannot be a fleeting thought, it needs to consume 40 hours of your working week and you need to make conscious decisions based on your goals for professional success.
To be a female leader, you may need to sacrifice other areas of your life or learn how to juggle. Knowing with absolute clarity what you want for your life and your career is important so that you live without regrets, but also, when a woman knows what she wants, it is obvious to all who meet her, especially in a professional setting.
2. Show Initiative
In October 2008, I moved back to Australia after living and working in Los Angeles for 2 years. Once I was back home in Melbourne, I suffered the square peg, round hole syndrome. The realization I had, was that my life and career, belonged back in the USA. So in the middle of one of the worst economic downturns the world has seen, I started my campaign to land an executive position back in the States.
I spent most of my waking hours researching organizations I wanted to be a part of, I researched their senior execs, connected with them via email and later by phone. I cold canvassed companies and sent my CV and a tailored cover letter, even if they didn’t have a vacant position.
After months of consciously taking initiatives and following through based on my career goals, I landed the face-to-face interview. I bought my plane ticket without hesitation, and nailed the day long interview. The best part of this whole process was that the interviewers saw something in me that was beyond the position I interviewed for. I was recommended for a more senior position and was hired almost instantly.
The people assigned to hiring and firing staff are attuned to candidates who crave success, are clear on what they want, and take the initiative to make it happen.
3. Determination and Persistence are her BFF’s
In a world where instant gratification seems to be the norm, standing out as a leader has somewhat become a little easier. To be successful, you need to wear determination and persistence like body armor. When these two personality characteristics drive your every decision and action, you will very quickly break through the pack and be seen as someone to follow and emulate. The best outcome for a respected leader.
4. Sense of Self
One of the most attractive qualities of any woman, is having a sense of self. You can think of this as high self-esteem or self-confidence, or simply being comfortable in your own skin. To be a female leader, you absolutely must stand by your convictions and decisions and to do this time and time again, you need to believe in yourself and your capabilities. Second-guessing will destroy your authority and resilience.
5. Be Flexible and Friendly
Let me clarify one thing about friendliness. This must not be confused with needing to be liked by everyone or trying to please everyone. Women are innate nurturers, but in the workplace, you need to be adaptable to various situations, especially during times of change, and have a friendly, approachable disposition. Check your emotions at the door and be the best version of yourself and let your unique personality shine through.
Julie Kelly (@hercareeradvice) is an empowerment speaker, author and blogger who helps women design the career and lifestyle of their dreams through spiritual awareness and practical life advice and strategies for personal development. Photo Credit BookishStickers.
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