A lot of women aspire for leadership positions, but very few of them manage to bag those coveted positions. Immense possibilities are snuffed out due to biased bosses, family commitments, fears, low confidence, and even lack of ambition. In current corporate environment, freshers - be it men or women - start as equals but as they step up on the corporate ladder, women tend to leave behind. It is no secret that equality is not the way it should be, and the glass ceiling is as real as it gets.
Women are denied equal opportunities and equal pay at most of the workplaces. Their position becomes unenviable since they often have to choose between a career and a family. But if there is a will there is obviously a way. Women could land a plum job in that corner office if they could break the jinx and get there. Here is what it will take to get there:
Most women dread doing their finances and tax planning. Make a resolve to do these things by yourself. Learn financial planning. Educate others at the workplace. It is imperative in this day and time that women take their economic destiny into their hands by going for a sound financial planning. Financial independence is as important as career goals. For novices, it may be better to start small but make sure to learn more and do scalable investments. If you can manage your money, you can well manage the projects, teams or any other tasks that require leadership.
Have a plan:
It is essential to have a plan to succeed in your career. Those who don't have a solid plan seldom succeed. Therefore, a concrete career plan is essential for a woman to land that corner office job. For this, you should use the available resources which include the resources of your colleagues. People who tasted success in the early days of their career will look at 10 other people as mentors. This gives different perspectives and enhances one's position in the company.
Believe in yourself:
Believe in what you are doing with confidence and a positive attitude to motivate yourself and others. If you have to find our mojo if you wish to achieve what you have set out to. When you are leading others, you should be able to inspire your team with your clarity of thoughts and vision. If you don't think it can be done, your team members won't think differently. Your confidence will inspire others.
Borrowing a pearl of wisdom from international motivational speaker Bonnie Marcus, one can say, "Self-promotion is a leadership and political skill that is critical to master in order to navigate the realities of the workplace and position you for success." Therefore, shed your inhibition and go ahead and just talk about your achievements, skills and ambitions. The trick, of course, is to not overdo it. There is a fine line between taking deserved credit for a job well done and bragging about your qualities. Instead of bragging, focus on talking about your strengths in the context of how they can help upcoming projects, and prepare yourself to take a leadership position whenever you can.
Do not seek permissions:
Being a responsible professional, you shouldn't seek permissions for anything and everything. Remember, children, not adults, seek permissions. Be direct, be confident and most importantly, think on your feet. Being a woman and taking permissions and sounding docile and submissive when not required will send a wrong message.
Lead by example
There is a prevailing notion that women don't ask or negotiate as the men do. They seldom ask or negotiate like men while seeking promotions or asking for salary hikes or switching jobs. This is because women are said to be over-cautious since they think 10 times before they take up a job. To overcome such biases, you have to believe in yourself and lead by example.
(The author is chief operating officer at Livfin, a fintech start-up)