Tips for women to advance in the workplace

01 October 2021 | Others

LaKisha Brooks

Women still face struggles in the workplace; from equal pay to advancing into leadership roles. Organisations have responsibilities to influence these changes, and so do women. Below are tips women can use to aid in their advancement in the workplace.

Take the Initiative

“It’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.” This should be the attitude for women in the workplace. Do not wait to be asked, just do it!

When an opportunity to show leadership and management ability presents itself, women should take it. This can include leading a project, initiating change or simply offering ideas.

Showing initiative is a sure-fire way to get noticed in the workplace. In addition, try to handle and remedy problems without being assisted. This shows great critical thinking and problem-solving skills, both of which are critical skills for a leader.

Showing initiative also includes asking for and seeking promotion opportunities. Speaking with a direct manager about additional opportunities or hiring managers regarding job openings are effective methods to seek new opportunities within an organisation. Human resources departments are typically informed of new positions before they are posted internally or externally. Once a woman has this information, she can use it to leverage herself and gain an advantage over other candidates.

Training, Education, and Classes

There is nothing more valuable than an education. Women can position themselves for success with continuous education in their respective fields. Continuous education does not always mean in a traditional setting such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree; it can simply entail attending training classes, workshops, or certifications.

These forms of learning should focus on areas or skill sets related to and needed to advance one’s career. Some companies allot funds for employees to further their education. Contact a benefits manager to determine what educational assistance is available.

Be Confident and Comfortable with Having Success

Being confident entails accepting success and not apologizing for it. When being recognized for accomplishments, some women, instead of simply saying “thank you” with their heads held high wearing a smile, meekly downplay their accolades with justifications such as “well, it wasn’t that great” or “it was only because of this or that”.

This attitude does not focus on the success itself, but rather on the justifications. Just take the compliments with a smile!

Businesses look for self-assured, proven leaders who know they are great at specific tasks and can confidently lead a team and manage an organisation. What part of “it wasn’t that great” screams “I am confident, and I can handle success?”

Work Effectively with Other Women

With few women in important decision-making and leadership roles, it is imperative that they work together to help leverage an advantage in the workplace. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Many women state they would rather work under or alongside a man than a woman. But why? Perhaps, it is due to the shortage of leadership roles and opportunities for advancement of women in the workplace, and everyone is vying for those few chances. It is like a pageant where there are many qualified, beautiful, and experienced women competing for one crown. In this case however, it is not a crown, but a board seat, C-level position, or any other decision-making role.

To work effectively with other women, a woman must first understand that despite the gender gap for leadership and decision-making positions, she must not view other women as competition, but as allies fighting for the same cause. There should be a sense of “sisterhood”, as most women are striving for the same goal, to see a change in the face of leadership in America.

In the book, ‘The Woman Code’, author Sophia Nelson offers five tips on how women can better work together in the workplace.

1. Steer clear of women who "don't do" women friends.

2. Collaborate and share.

3. Be a mentor.

4. Reciprocate.

5. Be willing to have "courageous" conversations.

These are just a few recommendations that will help advance women to leadership roles. Women themselves cannot control the change, companies will have to commit to investing time, money, and resources to recruit, develop, and retain top female talent.

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