7 Tips to Break the Glass Ceiling at Work
The proverbial glass ceiling which has served to be a roadblock to the career growth of women worldwide is unfortunately still in existence. Talented women have to work extra hard in comparison to their male peers in order to prove their worth. Yet many of them find their progress at work thwarted after a point and deal with a lot of frustration. However, there are plenty of successful women out there holding out hope that the glass ceiling can indeed be shattered. Here are a few ideas that may help you in your battle against the glass ceiling.
1. Don’t hold back
Why is this number one ? Because women are their own worst enemies! In her best selling book “Lean in: Women, work and the will to lead”, author Sheryl Sandberg, says that women tend to internalize societal perceptions which require them to compromise on careers to contribute at home. As a result, women voluntarily take up less challenging jobs in order to perform their various other roles such as a good wife, mother and the likes. The point that the author makes is that women should not assume that they need to clip their wings in order to have a balanced life. Her point and what we would like to reiterate is that women should strive to soar without worrying about how things will work out; support systems automatically surface as and when required and one need not kill ambitions in order to be happy. Of course, if you are simply the sort of person who does not want a stressful, demanding job, then by all means do not stretch yourself. But if you are killing your aspirations due to what you think the society expects from you, then don’t!
2. Recognize and leverage opportunities
Without sparking of a gender debate, it is probable that men are better at recognizing and leveraging opportunities that come their way. This may be because they are better networked and have stronger peer groups ( being the majority group in a setting helps!), but also maybe they have recognized that to achieve success, it is important to not only work hard but also to work smart. Women, who arguably have to juggle both work and home opportunities burn themselves out, giving their 100 percent at both the places not realizing that success has a lot to do with being at the right place at the right time and plain and simple luck. For example, cultivating relationships can significantly help one to land a good deal while switching jobs or hankering for a promotion or greater responsibilities. So go out there, recognize opportunities and leverage them!
3. Take risks
Women are by nature more conservative in nature. This may have something to do with their ancient role as caregivers and homemakers or that’s just how they are built, but women tend to take lesser risks than their male counterparts. The conservative approach to risk has its benefits – say in a field like financial planning, but it can also lead to missing out on potential great rewards. It is important to assess yourself at work and see if you are wary on taking on greater challenges with respect to your role or your team’s role. Playing safe and doing your job well will lead to a medium pace of growth. If you really want to propel yourself, be ready to risk failure!
4. Promote yourself
Another characteristic difference between how men and women behave at work is with respect to how they promote themselves. Men often do it unabashedly; often it takes the form of wanton boasting but often it leads to bigger responsibilities being handed out to them. A classic example would be in case of lobbying for an increase in scope of responsibilities or a promotion; men are likely to inflate their achievements more generously as compared to women. Women are likely to be more accurate with regards to their performance and stay true to facts; however when pitted against much larger claims by their male counterparts, it becomes difficult for the one assessing the applications to make an objective choice. Our advice – do not lose out on opportunities because you religiously stuck to the rule book when your peers laughed all the way to the bank.
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