So what is our advice?
Well firstly, we suggest you talk to your boss and assess their openness to a conversation, in a testing but positive way, and then back off if you sense that your interest is not welcome. This is because we know from research that minorities have to be careful when they push on closed doors. They should however push the door when they are already at the top of an organisation and/or they know they are influential enough to push (time to use their influence). If you feel your influence is not enough to push on the door on your own, then we suggest you canvas support from others in your firm who might be able to help you build enough group influence to push for cultural change, as happened at the BBC. Alternatively, we suggest you follow a few of the tips below, tips that we share at our popular corporate workshops; Managing your Career and On Track for Success.
WOB is of the view that it is the CEO’s and the board’s job to ensure they have the right culture in the firm for employees to thrive. So while your company works on its culture - the way things are done at your company - we suggest you work on yourself and the following ideas to maximise your chances of personal success;
- Know your boss and what drives them
- Be aware of your skills gaps, for your next stretch job
- Work out how to be effective in meetings
- Improve your voice control
- Manage your network: ‘My Personal Boardroom’ (reference Zella King and Amanda Scott)
- Perfect your influence and information giving skills (corporate politics exists and is not always a negative)
- Have a long term career plan
- Find support at work, outside your department if necessary, and strive for an advocate
- Perfect your leadership skills (strategic thinking and effective leadership - current best practice, for example)
- Communicate with confidence and be sure to know how others see you
- Join a board to gain ‘stretch leadership’ experience that is not currently available to you within your current job day job, which might help you differentiate yourself from your peers.
Getting all of the above right is not easy and working on your ‘self-improvement’ without support from your company or line manager can be hard. So if WOB’s corporate support is not available to you via one of our internal corporate career or leadership workshops, then we suggest you invest in yourself and find a mentor/coach (WOB can help you with this, link
) and/or listen to these fantastic, research based, Harvard Business Review podcasts. You will find wonderful tips and insights from this terrific series of discussions.
Click on this link for to access to HBR’s brilliant podcasts
Women at Work;
There are 6 podcasts in the above link that cover;
- The Advice We Get and Give
Professional women get all kinds of advice — some of it helpful, some of it really unhelpful, and some of it nice-sounding but pretty impossible to use. We question some of the classic advice women get (and give) on asking for more money, achieving more by doing less, and not burning out. Guests: Ashleigh Shelby Rosette, Arianna Huffington, Tiffany Dufu, Susan Orlean, and Alison Beard.
While once accusations of sexual harassment would be met with — at most — a monetary settlement and a non-disclosure agreement, today they are more likely to be publicized and investigated. Now, the challenge is, how do we harness this new attention to sexual harassment to make work a safer place for women? Guests: Joan Williams, Amy Gallo, and Michael Kimmel
The gender wage gap is the lifetime financial curse that punishes so many of us. What’s going on in women’s careers that causes us to earn so much less? Guests: Claudia Goldin and Margaret Gullette.
We talk with an expert on authenticity, as well as a woman trying everyday to bring her best self to work and help others do the same. Guests: Tina Opie and Candice Morgan.
We talk with three experts to help us paint a picture of what a truly supportive dual-career relationship looks like, and understand how to get our own relationships closer to that ideal. Guests: Jennifer Petriglieri, Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, and Stephanie Coontz.
We tackle three aspects of communication: first, how and why women’s speech patterns differ from men’s; second, how women can be more assertive in meetings; and third, how women can deal with interrupters (since the science shows women get interrupted more often than men do).
Hopefully you have found this advice useful. If you are interested in in-house corporate workshops and corporate membership then please contact email@example.com
and visit this link for further information
In addition to these podcasts we advise you to read this article on our website on Proxy Metrics , link
, because cynicism is setting in across the corporate world, and middle manager men, who are feeling threatened, believe that their chances of being promoted are now zero because of their organisations' headline targets for women. This is clearly not the case, but nonetheless there are too many companies who are setting ridiculous headline targets for women in senior management that are not achievable, given low turnover at the top. If you are going to help your organisation change at an appropriate pace you need to think creatively, division by division, and set sensible proxy metrics so that you can measure change.
Good luck and best wishes from the WOB Team