As more female leaders are making their way in the workplace and across industries, with every new generation comes a variety of lessons that need to be savored. The world of the entrepreneur, from a female perspective, hasn't been plain sailing, to say the least. Women had to fight for their place at the table and encountered a variety of pointless obstacles when they were just looking to do their job. This is why we need to recognize the impact of creating a template for the female voices and leaders of the next generation. What are the things that female leaders need to consider, but also, what they can embed into their organizations?
Create a Culture Where Women Feel Empowered To Grow Within Their Careers
Regardless of the career choice, whether it's nursing, marketing, or being a business leader, the reality is that we should shine a light on the possibilities for growth, regardless of gender. In any organization, it is critical to encourage a culture where accomplishments are celebrated, no matter how big or small they are.
For example, in nursing, and specifically within the setting of a nursing simulation lab, where the next generation of nurses can provide top-tier healthcare, clearly defined goals and retention of staff are critical, and this is something that we can learn and embed within our own organization.
Career paths should not be inhibited by gender, and people across any organization are, for the most part, looking to develop because it keeps them fresh, challenged, and purposeful. This is why we have to embed it from a cultural standpoint. Making deep-rooted changes is not about setting rules and regulations, but about spearheading the change from deep within.
Providing Platforms To Voice Their Concerns
Part of the process of empowering women is to ensure that anyone and everyone has the opportunity to voice what they want, need, and deserve. What are the best ways to do this?
Looking Beyond Skills and Expertise
For the purposes of career progression, it's important to understand that skills will provide that essential foundation, but competence is about adjusting to the trends. Technical expertise may seem like a way to carve out a career niche for yourself, however, it is a specific set of skills that may not make you useful in terms of the bigger picture, but only in terms of what you are able to achieve in a very small way.
When we look beyond technical expertise and recognize that as new industries and fields are emerging every few years, we must seize the opportunities that arise because this doesn't just mean that we are investing in ourselves, but we are going to be at the front of the queue when it comes to breaking new ground.
The toughest thing about making yourself indispensable in one specific framework is if that framework is already bound by its antiquated notions. If you want to embed change and you are working up the career ladder with a specific vision in mind, sometimes, it is easier to embed these changes by starting something new, rather than working hard to change an already stubborn industry or organization.
That's not to say you should forget any skills or expertise as soon as you reach a certain level, but recognize that every skill you learn along the way should be a part of your ability to develop and create a version of yourself that can lead and inspire. The best leaders are not the ones that lead from the front, they are the ones that understand that it's about a game of chess, and with each piece comes the opportunity to win again based on these positions.
Stick to Simplicity
For women at the beginning of their careers, the common mistake is to be diligent. This is especially true within organizations that have an imbalance of male-to-female staff, leaning toward the former. Rather than working late, thinking that showing up early and leaving later than your colleagues will help you to get recognized, work smart rather than hard. If you find there are male colleagues or people in positions of power that are at important events and are getting help in their careers while you are left in the dust, figure out what will get you the results you need with less effort.
The Pareto Principle, where 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort, is a very critical tool to utilize. Half of the problem in industries is that working hard doesn't get you the results you need if you are not focusing your efforts in the right place. You will only be burnt out, exhausted, and frustrated that your efforts are in vain.
Have Your Own Standards
We spend so much time trying to fit in with an existing framework, and one of the most important things that we should all do is to recognize what is stopping us from progressing in the first place and tackle that head-on.
Rather than avoiding your fears, it's far more important for you, early on in your development, to rip the band-aid off and do the things that scare you, because this is where you will learn the vast majority of your professional and personal lessons in life.
People need to hold their values up to the light and recognize what it will take to get them going in the right direction. Set yourself a strict template of standards and make sure that you stick to them.
WRITTEN BYSerena K. Johnson