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Seven Critical Strategies to Being a Successful Woman Leader (Part 2)

This is part 2 of a 3 part series. If you missed Part 1, read now.

Leadingselfandothers3. Advocate for yourself

Ever so often, I hear from women ”I am not sure what went wrong. Surely my boss must know what I am doing? How much I am contributing to the team.” Or “I don’t know why I am not promoted. I worked really hard and have demonstrated that I can do a great job.” You need to be able to articulate, “These are my strengths. This is how I can value add to your organization. This is what I am worth”. For a very long time, we have a culture of waiting to be noticed, recognized and promoted. Not anymore, you need to be able to articulate and advocate for yourself for that training or exposure, for the promotion , for the pay rise. Take Jess for example, as a marketing manager at the age of 38, made a startling discovery. Everyone at her level was earning more than she was. It was nothing new to her as she had that experience in her previous organizations too and all she did was to give in to some rule to say that is not the way it worked in the organization or she leaves. But she really liked her current environment, role and team and with some coaching from us, she garnered her courage and advocated for herself and asked for the raise by starting her contribution as equal to if not more than the others on her team with evidence to show for. Her direct supervisor who knows of her potential and contribution agreed and supported her.

So learn to speak up. Practice with someone if needed as we had coached some of our students to advocate for themselves in an honorable and respectful manner.

4. Build a strong foundation

Identify what are your career anchors. This allows you to build a strong foundation from a domain knowledge. Think for example, of Olivia Lum, the CEO of Hyflux, a water treatment firm who built a business based on her domain knowledge in Chemistry. She still heads the Research and Development function at the time of this article. What is your domain knowledge area? Is it marketing, business development, sales or domain knowledge in leveraging on social media? Whatever it is, be the best . Be known as the expert and the go-to person. It made a great difference when the Singapore national media Straits Times cited Lifeworkz as the go-to people for Generation Y. This gives us the credibility which we will not be able to articulate as powerfully. From there evolve your career enhancers. This will help to enlarge your sphere of influence and move you into the people management and profit and loss positions which is critical for you as a leader of a unit, a department, a division or a firm.

What are your career anchors? How can you strengthen them?

5. Be influencing others

One of the greatest challenges in managing organizations in this era is to do so sometimes with no or little hierarchy power. Hence your ability to influence others to be on your team, for your agenda is a critical skill to develop. You will never know how things turn out or who might be on your team. So be honoring and valuing each individual who you come across. Be thinking and articulating mutual benefits and how possible consequences would impact both parties. Influencing is not coercing others. There is respect, trust and mutual benefits in the engagement. See our blog post on Five Steps for Increasing Your Influence.

Share with 3 peers, what are your career anchors and how you intend to strengthen them. Share with me in the comments box below what you shared with them and their inputs.

Missed Part 1 of this series? Read now.


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