Blogs 8th March 2022 3 minutes read

What is the single best piece of career advice you ever had?

WHAT’S THE SINGLE BEST PIECE OF CAREER ADVICE YOU EVER HAD?

For International Women’s Day 2022, we asked our network of female leaders to tell us what was the best single piece of career advice they ever received and this is what we found out:

CONFIDENCE & CAPABILITY

Whilst men suffer from Imposter Syndrome too, our survey suggests it takes longer in a women’s career for her confidence to catch up with her capability.

Only if you have, and project, self-confidence will others be able to have confidence too. 

What would you do, if you knew you couldn’t fail?

 STICK TO YOUR VALUES

Ethical considerations featured heavily in our survey, with many women reporting work events that clashed with their values. Those that handled this head on, with diplomacy and honesty, fared better.

Do the right thing and nothing can touch you.

POSITIVE RECRUITMENT ACTION

Our respondents still believed it true that women will look at a role outline and only apply if they know for certain they can do 90% of the job well. Some had been coached to ‘give it a go anyway’, and never looked back.

Stop waiting to be the perfect candidate and get in there & show them you’re a great candidate.

 ALL WOMEN ARE CREATED EQUAL

Women report bias through multiple lenses such as pregnancy, gender reassignment and race. Raising awareness for the bias of intersectionality featured strongly in our survey.

If you were good enough to be in this promotion group before you got pregnant, you are good enough to stay in it now. Stick to your guns.

WOMEN AREN’T ALWAYS INCLUSIVE

Whilst it’s more likely that a woman’s lived experience having navigated to a senior role will make them more prone to be inclusive, it isn’t a given. Inclusive leadership comes in all shapes and sizes.

Don’t make assumptions. The best, most fair and inclusive leader I ever had was a white middle-aged male. The time I experienced most bias was from a woman boss.

FIND A MENTOR

Senior women reported having watched their bosses carefully, knowing that one day they’d be the boss. Many had found a role model or mentor who could remind them to be intentional about their career actions.

When looking to progress, benchmark your performance against those above you in your organisation – so you are stretching yourself towards where you want to be, not where you are currently.

I never had ambitions to be a Director, mainly due to witnessing their long working hours and weekend working culture. I thought I couldn’t raise 2 kinds and achieve a work/life balance. My boss challenged me to change the status quo. His support gave me the courage to become a Director and maintain a great balance. So that’s what I did!

VULNERABILITY AS A SUPERPOWER

Many of our respondents said that allowing themselves to be vulnerable with colleagues had made them a better, more connected leader. For some it had been tough to let go of the ‘Be Strong’ trait many women carry from early in life.

Allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of your team. It will make you a better leader.

 LACK OF DIVERSE TALENT PIPELINES

Certain professions still have a dirth of women in the candidate pool. Investment in building balanced talent channels is wasted if we don’t also instil passion for ‘male’ professions in our girls.

Choose a career path that makes you happy. The people advising you don’t have to live your life, you do.

Find out more about our Diversity, Inclusion, Culture & Ethics Consultancy.

Authors:

Jody Goldsworthy

Andrea Trainer (nee Bainger)

 

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