Be intentional, prioritize your wellbeing, stand in your own authentic power and lean into your strengths. Own Your Future!
It is important that all of us begin to act as an ally or sponsor, and help women achieve leadership positions. Help, inspire and challenge them to share their aspiration. Encourage their development, help them become intentional and take ownership of their career. We should all aim to use our power and influence to advocate for all talent and diversity in the rooms where decisions are in the making and taken.
One of the things I experience when I coach women is that only a few of them are intentional about their aspirations and career. It is no secret that the most successful people are the ones who take ownership of their career and act with intention. If you know where you want to go, you are more likely to create a plan and be prepared for challenges and changes that will come your way.
Women tend to be caught up in a likeability trap and take on tasks that are leading nowhere, even though organizations appreciate and benefit from these tasks. Be strategic when it comes to hopeless or non-rewarding tasks and especially those men are not requested or expected to perform. However, it is also about being intentional about what you want to achieve. My experience is that women who act intentional, do not attract task that lead nowhere to the same degree, and they are also more likely to be regarded as leadership potential. Intentional women are more likely to ooze confidence and assertiveness.
If women have a good relationship with their leaders, they often feel they are in debt to them for opportunities they rightly deserve.
‘I really like to work with my leader. She/he gave me this role, so I don’t want to disappoint her/him and move to another role right now’.
This kind of quote is a regular visitor in various coaching sessions. I normally reply with this specific question:
‘How will you react if your leader, three months from now, tells you that she/he has accepted a new opportunity and is leaving?’
The reaction and answer are always the same, a long pause and then:
‘That is a really good question, I see your point’
Women tend to build personal relationships and at the same time forget that it is first and foremost a professional relationship. Women don’t own anyone anything. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t relate and invest in relationships at work, We absolute should and research from Gallup has documented that having a best friend at work do increase our wellbeing and engagement. But it should not stop women from accepting a new role or opportunity. If it is a good relationship it will continue.
How your leader is responding is not within your control or responsibility. If they have true leadership potential, they will be happy for you and support you no matter what. Happy to see you flourish and have developed core skill under their leadership that now open new doors for you. I have never heard leaders playing games of guild with men who resign or seek new opportunities. However, I have been told, heard, seen, and experienced that this is regular leadership behavior when it comes to women. A senior female Leader is resigning and the CEO reply:
‘I am a very disappointed to hear that you are leaving after only 3 years in this leadership position’.
If your leaders or organization haven’t done all they could to make you want to invest more of your valuable time with them, then it is time to leave and hold on to your resignation. If you have learned all you can from being part of your organization, then it is time to leave. If you believe you still can develop, learn, and grow, then stay but be intentional. Own your career.
Seven suggestions for taking ownership, living, and creating an intentional career and life:
Be intentional in talent discussions, job interview, internal opportunities and conversations. with leaders, mentors, and sponsors.
Begin to act more and react less.
Share your aspirations and intentions with others.
Leave abusive leaders who don’t acknowledge your talent and potential and focus your energy on what is within your control.
Don’t expect others to have your best interest at heart, your talent and expertise should not only serve your leader.
Use your growth mindset and keep learning, develop, and adapt.
Stop drifting and take ownership of your career, get a coach.
You can read more about our coaching program ‘Own Your Future' or contact us. Final comment, I am aware how structures in our society and organizations are limiting equality and how we are neglecting to create equity. I have deliberatively focused on how being intentional can be a gamechanger for women in achieving what they rightly deserve. I don’t believe it is women’s responsibility to create equality and equity. It is and will always be a leadership responsibility. We all have a responsibility in making sure more women are promoted to leadership positions. The content of this blog is also relevant for men. They have just not been the focus point here. This blog is written from my experiences as a coach who primely is coaching women who are leaders to aiming for leadership positions.
Written by Charlotte Søndergaard the 5 of March 2023