I have the privilege of working with many successful leader at the top of their game in global organisations. I love being part of their journey as I not only get to help them to perform at their best, it also means that they positively impact the people in their business (and the ripple effect beyond).
When they are able to lead confidently, have an empathetic and inclusive approach, and blaze a trail for other women, then they are not just improving their own lives, but those of all they work with!
I want to share with you some of the secrets to their success, and let you in on a few things you might find surprising too.
I think many on the outside would think that when you’re at the top of your career, you’re at your most confident and self assured. Interestingly, my experience is that the reality can be a bit different.
What I’ve seen happen time and time again, is that because the stakes are higher, the internal pressure to perform can feel much greater. The old imposter can kick in as there’s an unconscious fear that ‘I can’t live up to expectation’…and often it’s their idea of the expectations that’s totally out of sync with reality.
The likelihood is that you may also be the only woman on the board or leadership team, so it can feel like the pressure is on to prove yourself on behalf of all women. When you say that out loud you realise how ridiculous it is, but look at how women are judged in the public eye. Sadly it’s not too different here in the real world. I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard (men and women) say ‘I don’t like working for a woman because…’ I don’t care what the end of that sentence is because it’s ridiculous bullshit.
Being a leader, the higher you go…the lonelier it can get.
You’ve less people you’re able to discuss challenges with for confidentiality reasons. In my experience family and friends have a low tolerance for work talk. The glaze that goes over their eyes in a matter of minutes is a dead give away! Plus if you feel you’re being judged more harshly at work, or feel you have something to prove…who do you turn to when things get tough? It can feel like you’re shouldering a lot of responsibility alone.
Then there’s your pay and benefits. You may be at the top table, but are you being paid properly to be there? Packages even at the top level can be riddled with inequity. Everything from salary to share options can be out of whack. And because these things are often clouded in secrecy many are none the wiser.
Now that all may seem a bit bleak, but you’ll be glad to know there’s lots of things you can do to maximise your success.
The success factors…
Here’s some of the things that are really working for my clients…
Investing in themselves (or asking their business to invest in them).
They recognise that to maximise their success then it’s important for their growth and development. Some people can feel it’s a weakness to ask for support, but they’ve recognised that to excel in their role they need to keep improving, and not only will they reap the rewards now but in their future roles too. Plus the business will always benefit too.
Getting the right support.
Surrounding yourself with people at a similar level to you who you trust. You can be open and honest, and vulnerable…and they get it and can offer great support and advice. The workplace can be a tough place to show weakness, especially if you aren’t quite as confident as you’d like so this is invaluable. It’s one of the key reasons I developed my Impactful Leader PQ Mastermind.
Working on your mindset so you can maximise your confidence whilst minimising pressure!
Pretty much everything starts with Mindset. On my programmes we use a variety of techniques, but by far the most effective are those I’ve learned as a Positive Intelligence coach. Recognising your inner judge and saboteurs – such as your hyper achiever, your pleaser etc. and understanding how they are the source of the majority of your stress is life changing. When you start to see pressure and negativity as a warning signal of a mindset issue, then you can apply some very simple techniques to transform your thinking.
Being a proactive planner.
It doesn’t matter what the challenge or opportunity that a client is facing, the starting point is always to step back and identify…what’s really important here? What do I want to achieve? Then your job is to focus on what do I need to do to make it happen? How do I need to show up?
Time to review your pay and benefits.
If you can, speak to others at your level about what they’re on. Reach out to recruiters and see what you could expect with your skills on the market currently. If you’re approaching a conversation with your boss, remember to think about 3 key things…
What do you really want and need to be happy at work?
I’ve had clients renegotiate packages to include different types of flexibility, more holidays, better benefits, investment in your development, as well as salary, bonus and pension.
What’s your business case?
You feel so much more confident with the conversation if you’ve spent time evaluating your impact and achievements and are able to communicate clearly how you’re worth it.
The value you’ll continue to add
Get them excited about the vision of what’s to come with you performing at your best in the business. If you’re approaching the discussion from a perspective of what you’ve done, and what you are excited to do…it becomes much more compelling.
These are a few of many tactics and strategies that are helping the women on my Impactful Leader PQ Mastermind. In future I’ll share some of the common challenges they face and creative solutions we co-create. Everything from managing upwards to leading in a hybrid world!
If you are interested in levelling up your leadership why not set up a Free Leadership Discovery Call with me!