I want to start this post by telling you a little story. Last week some of my fellow students were invited to participate in the Google workshop. Once it was finished one of them Conny aka LittleMissPanda told me about it enthusiastically and completely blown away. However she also mentioned that now she could really comprehend what it is probably going to be like for us women to try to make it as influential managers. She was the sole female in a group of males and when trying to include her opinion and input she was often passed over. A lot of the time the males of the group did not sufficiently include or communicate with her.
In my last blog post Women and Management – Prejudice or Truth I wrote about how women are still underrepresented in top management position. This week I originally planned on writing about what is being done by governments and corporations. However after hearing this story and after talking to Mai, Mirella and Kathi some of my fellow Bloggers I decided to change my topic to a more relevant one. In my last two posts I do not want to write about what is being done but what can we do!
According to a study by the “Bundesbildungsministeriums” federal ministry of education women not only receive their diploma more often but also score higher grades in school as well as in university compared to male students. Still you will seldom find women in top or senior management position. Furthermore the female quote in the boards of DAX Companies still only reaches two percent.
Many women especially aspiring managers have a hard time when it comes to their careers. They are entering male ruled territory and have to conquer obstacles everywhere they go. Whether it be “hitting their heads on glass ceilings, dealing with a lack of confidence in a male-dominated boardroom or juggling work and home responsibilities”. It can be overwhelming as well as frustrating to say the least.
However there are a some tips and tricks how to survive and navigate in this jungle to enhance your own career:
The early bird gets the worm
Early to bed and early to rise, makes women healthy , wealthy and wise
“Without interruptions, I am able to plan and spend some quality time on my top priorities,”observes Sarikas. “On days where the meetings stack up back-to-back it is important to have that initial think-time to prepare and organize for the day ahead.”
According to a 2008 study at the University of North Texas students who were identified as early risers got considerably higher grades. In discussion of sleep patterns a study by biologist Christoph Randler found that morning people are more probable to anticipate problems and be proactive. A number of studies have linked this with “better job performance, greater career success and higher wages”.
“If success is determined by high engagement, arousal and getting a lot done, larks have an advantage,”
maintains Glenn Brassington, a psychology professor at Stanford and Sonoma State universities.
Getting up early might also have practical advantages as well as job interviews are often arranged to take place in the mornings.
Networking, networking, networking
Look for support
Especially women in management often try to make it on their own.Most of the time they don’t want any help or are too proud to ask. But especially if you want a career you need relationships and connections that offer support, tips and can introduce you to important people.
This does not only mean socializing in your company but also to keep in contact with people who might be useful to you in the future. Without a functioning network, it’s highly challenging to succeed and failure is more probable.
nonetheless networking is a balancing act of give and take. Ty to help your own contacts as well and take good care of them. Networking does not mean exploiting people for your selfish goals or your personal gain.
Mentors – every Luke needs his Yoda
A mentor is a person that gives you useful information as well as tips and tries to help you through his superior experience and knowledge. The mentor can be a person on the outside or inside of your company. “One from inside your company has the advantage of knowing how the internal structure works”, asserts Cornelia Topf, Coach and business consultant from Augsburg, Germany. On the other hand a mentor on the outside might have a more impartial point of view.
Contrary to Cornelia Topf Prof. Gertrud Höhler economic advisor from Berlin is sceptical of mentors – at least male ones. She claims they might want their subject to stay dependent and inferior to them. If this proves to be true having a mentor might even present itself an obstacle to your career.
When talking about succesful women in management we also have to consider entrepreneurs. In this context Jacki Baptist and film producer Elizabeth Dell are developing an upcoming documentary film She Means Business that might be worth watching.
The purpose of this documentary film is to share insights and experiences of women entrepreneurs today. The film aims to convey how you can become a succesful female entrepreneur by showing how others started and what challenges and obstacles they had to overcome to continue with greater success.
As you can see this is a subject of growing importance and awareness in our society! So stayed tuned for part two next week, in which I will further elaborate on what you as a woman should do to be successful!