Although each woman seeking to advance her career needs to know her personal environment (her goals, desires, talents, strengths, frustrations, challenges, and fears), there are a few “truths” that have worked for me that might also work for other women seeking to progress as leaders in the corporate world.
- Think proactively, visualize the larger picture, and envision the end result. Don’t wait for problems to appear before seeking a solution, but rather anticipate what you might do to forestall a problem. More than just embracing change, create change when it will support your corporate mission.
- Don’t fear risks, but be willing to be the decision maker and to accept accountability for your actions. Gather all the needed facts; analyze those facts, risks, and benefits; and choose the path. If you take a risk and you fail, you’ll still be learning. If you take a risk and succeed, you and your company will both win.
- Maintain positive relationships with co-workers by treating them with courtesy, dignity and respect. Treat them as you wish to be treated—and then some. Go the extra mile to help others achieve their goals, and allow others to help you. Allowing others to help us is sometimes difficult because, as business women, we tend to feel as though we must be superhuman. But by allowing others to help, you ultimately empower them.
- Hire good people, and then trust them to do their jobs. My staff members thrive enthusiastically and creatively when I allow them to bring their unique perspectives to the table, and the corporation and I both benefit from their diverse views. I believe in allowing them appropriate autonomy, knowing they will come to me when they need advice or a helpful ear. When staff members perform well, reward them. While we likely all work for personal satisfaction, we also like to be appreciated by others. Don’t be shy about giving compliments, and don’t forget to say “thank you.”
- Suggesting we need balance in our lives might sound trite, but life has taught me that as women in business we sometimes try so hard that we work ourselves to death. We shouldn’t equate overwork with success, and we should recognize that there are “real” deadlines and constraints and there are self-imposed deadlines and constraints. Learn to know the difference, and allow for some flexibility with those that are self-imposed.