There's no doubt that greater diversity ensures better performance and more innovation in an organization. It seems to make sense because with diversity comes different opinions and experiences that help businesses take a sneak peek into consumers' preferences and expectations. However, the c-suite path for women could be very challenging. For instance, when Nina got promoted to the position of Chief Operating Officer at her company, it got her thinking about all the times when nobody believed in her. She wondered how she could talk more women into senior executives roles and the management to support that decision.
Choosing the C-Suite Path for Women
Statistics suggest that only one in three women make it to the senior executive position in a company, making it challenging but not impossible. The tide is indeed turning as more women are coming forward to embrace their dreams. Here are some tricks and tips for women as to how they can make it to the c-suite.
1. Take responsibility for your career
When you see an opportunity where you can climb up the corporate ladder, grasp it. Grasp it before anybody else does. Be open about your goals right from the beginning and do everything in your ability to move towards your goal. Opportunities would not come organically. You need to chase your dreams, or you will always feel stuck. There will be times when you stumble upon challenges that will make you question yourself and want to give up. However, always remember what makes successful people different from unsuccessful ones is that they will not give up. Avoid hiding behind your vulnerabilities. Work on yourself and take charge of your career.
2. Think like an executive
Lack of global thinking is one of the biggest roadblocks to moving up the corporate hierarchy. If you are targeting the c-suite for yourself, you must clearly understand what is expected of leaders. Project confidence in every decision you make. Stand your ground when it comes to sharing opinions and never fail to empower others. True leaders should never refrain from contributing to the growth of others in an organization.
3. Look at everything through the lens of a superhero
Women's guide to the c-suite path is not restricted to thinking and acting like a leader. It is much more than that. It is about finding out what sets you apart from the rest of your team. It's about identifying your superpowers and working every day to filter out your imperfections. Do not miss out on opportunities where you can swoop in and point your company towards the direction of success. Waiting for it to happen someday will only delay the process. You have to be consistent in your efforts.
4. Build empathy
You will be understood to be a better leader if you invest in empathizing with your team members. Step into their shoes and understand the situation from their point of view. No, you do not have to keep swinging between jobs to develop a broader understanding. You need to put in the effort and show your willingness to learn and grow with them. Listen and observe.
5. Conquer the double bind absurdity
Males retain their perceived likeability as they rise in rank at work. In other words, the more power and authority a woman projects in an organization, the less they are liked. People often refer to it as the "damned if you do, doomed if you don't" dilemma. When a woman's behavior runs counter to the stereotypes, the misogynists out there do not fail to perceive them negatively and adversely. According to a study, a woman's growth depends on her ability to switch on and off from her assertive and dominant nature depending on the social circumstances. This increases her chances of promotion more than that of her male colleagues. The woman leaders who have successfully made their way to the c-level positions could do so because of their strategic ability to read a situation and act accordingly. And just like them, you can embrace a perfect combination of softness and sweetness all the way up to the c-suite.
6. Evaluate your current reality
The business culture is still moving at a snail's pace to fully embrace the aspirations that women entrepreneurs and workers have today. To navigate your way to the top, you have to assess your current reality. There is no easy answer as to how you can do so. When women have big dreams, society will do everything in its ability to push them off the road at every chance they get. Even though women possess great leadership skills, they are always considered incompetent. The most important key to the c-suite is staying with your company even when everything seems to go against you. Build your reputation. Show your willingness to learn and evolve.
7. Take more risks
Do not be self-limiting just because somebody failed to recognize and appreciate your talents or abilities. Walkthrough every door of opportunity that you see opening for you. Do not allow yourself to grow too comfortable with where you are. Outgrow yourself at every chance that you get. Take risks as so runs the proverb, "no risk no gain". As harsh as it may sound, the truth is leadership has got very little to do with what traits you possess and more to do with how people perceive you. Women in c-suite did not make it until they were served to them, and the c-suite path for women was carved by themselves.
One of the best ways to get yourself ahead is by listening to women who are already there. No matter where you are in your professional life, women in the c-suite have a unique perspective to share. You cannot realize your dreams overnight, and there is no straight formula for that. It is only after days of consistent efforts and determination that you will be able to make it to the top. As times change, more opportunities will propel women to come forward and clasp their aspirations. However, change begins with you.
Are you ready?