Despite the strides the business world has made toward gender equality, women are still underrepresented in senior management at most companies and a rare find in our industry’s c-suites.
When women are in the room, are we -- like the women in my favorite movie of the year, “Hidden Figures” – taking a back seat? Will it be years before our stories are told?
My friend’s teenage daughter asked her mother recently why more women weren’t portrayed as business leaders on TV. Her mother said, “Many times they don’t invite us to the table.” This young lady’s response: “Why not build our own table?” No doubt, she’ll grow up to be a woman of power!
Women are a force — an undervalued force — in corporate America, and should have a powerful presence at the table.
Here are my tips for being the most powerful you:
- Set goals for yourself to make sure you’re seen and known and your ideas are heard, not stolen. Who saw you? Who heard you? Where did you sit in the meeting? Speak up and have an opinion.
- Be authentic. There is tremendous power in just being you. You know who you are and speak with confidence when you’re authentic. It gives you a strength and a boldness. It’s your expression of who you are.
- Know that you’re not on the journey alone. Seek to foster social relationships with the other women leaders and male leaders in your organization and in the industry. The encouragement other leaders give to push harder is important to getting to the corner office.
- Serve others. My inner strength and motivation grow when I help other women. Women in higher levels of leadership should mentor more women in lower positions and help them hone their leadership skills. It is often said women are their own worst enemies. Any reluctance to polish others into leadership positions should be eliminated.
- Find your own version of work-life balance. You’ve got to take care of you to take care of others.
Don’t allow yourself to be a hidden figure in your organization.