Six Powerful Steps to Help Women Rise to Higher-Level Leadership Positions: Part Two

shutterstock_172456070In the second half of this two-part presentation of key steps you can take to become one of today’s women leaders, I will be covering the remaining three key steps that can help you achieve this and step fully into your full career potential. In Part One, I discussed developing a strategic career plan and an executive presence and identifying your core network. Equally important are these next three key steps.

  1. Build Sponsorship. To clarify, a sponsor is not a mentor. A mentor gives you support and encouragement, whereas a sponsor is your own personal horn blower, extolling your virtues to those in positions of power. The ideal sponsor must have enough influence and visibility within an organization to affect promotion decisions. Look for a senior-level person who has the power and position to open doors for you. Once you’ve identified a sponsor, you then have to show her or him why it’s worth her or his while to go to bat for you. You need to be able to show that you excel at your job and have the necessary skills and experience for advancement. 
  2. Demonstrate Political Savvy with Integrity. Develop, be insightful about, and stand by your political style. Understand the written and unwritten rules—every organization has them. Like it or not, politics is part of the game and doesn’t have to have a negative connotation attached to it. When you practice politics with integrity and ethical behavior, you can make positive changes for the organization, for you and your team and achieve greater influence and impact. I will be going into this key step in greater detail in my next blog.
  3. Embrace Being a Woman. Women must be true to who they are, embracing their femininity, authenticity, unique talents, and the many qualities of great leaders that come so naturally to women: being great collaborators, connectors, listeners, strategic, inspirational, and in touch with the humanness of people and the betterment of the whole. Yes, you will need to balance the best of feminine and masculine qualities in the corporate environment, but you can still be, first and foremost, a woman and succeed in the corporate world. Aspiring to become your best as a leader starts internally: understanding who you are, what you believe, and what you stand for so that you can make the best choices for you. This helps you lead yourself, others, and organizations with greater authenticity, confidence, competence and consistency while being true to yourself.

The challenges for women moving up the career ladder are multifaceted and complex. But by taking proactive    steps such as the ones mentioned here and in Part One and focusing on what can be controlled, women can      empower themselves to keep moving forward and upward. Don’t give up; stay focused on your higher purpose  and goals. Keep a positive mindset. Organizations need more talented, high-achieving women like yourself at    the top of their org charts! In the end, it’s really about maximizing our potential; making a positive difference,    living a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life; and becoming role models for future generations of women.

Written by Teresa Shaffer

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