I Prefer Lifting Others Up and Succeeding Together
My career began at a Big Four accounting firm, where one of the immediate challenges of starting out in the highly competitive, and then male-dominated environment, was to avoid getting lost in the crowd. In their desperation to stand out, I found many of my female colleagues avoiding collaboration because they believed that gathering knowledge solely for their own use would help them get ahead.
This approach, naturally, breeds competition and instills an ethos of self-interest within any organization. Luckily for me, I quickly found leaders with an alternative attitude toward this rigorous work; one that did not view collaborating as a threat, but as a foundation for long-term success. As it happened, it was a group of smart, driven women, forging their path by championing collaboration as their approach to partnership, in stark contrast to their self-focused colleagues.
When I studied the styles of those up-and-coming women, I found vast differences. Some focused on doing what was right for them, aligning their actions with their own goals, and focusing on their own success and path to promotion. Others were just as successful building relationships with team members above and below them. They took the time to understand strengths, and found ways to share knowledge and expertise, build trust, and listen to and even laugh with their team members.
Both sets of women rose through the ranks. However, the second style is what resonated with me. I began to find that spending the time to lift others up was far more impactful than stepping over them to get ahead.
As I have moved through my career and into leadership roles, I have strived to carry this code with me. My desire for my job to align with that code led me to joining a unique law firm, where the nature of the work we do requires innovation, collaboration, and teamwork to design the best solutions for our clients’ challenges. Where the law field traditionally is dominated by men, I am proud to sit on a leadership team that is 50 percent women.
I continue to try to live each day not using others as stepping stones to success, but instead, lifting others up so we all are successful.