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A recent survey, Women Leaders Breaking Through in Their Careers, revealed that women are transcending the glass ceiling more than ever before. The best part about getting there? All you need is confidence, says Carolyn Lawrence, president and CEO of Women of Influence Inc., the company behind the study. Lawrence discusses the survey stats and shares her thoughts on females achieving success in the workplace. She also discusses a new trend in management, featuring co-gender leadership.
1. Consider yourself the ideal co-boss
Co-gender (a.k.a. "power couple") leadership in the workplace is a new concept being embraced by companies. Men and women have complementary strengths and talents in business and, instead of one gender being in charge, both can have leading roles, says Lawrence. "If they are situated together at the top—having equally great strengths—it would be a total game changer."
The idea is to achieve a balance between each gender's strengths and weaknesses. Together they are more powerful and successful as leaders than they would be separately. "The sum would be greater than the parts," says Lawrence.
2. Don't fear the balancing act
Many women looking to advance their careers struggle to balance their potential success in the workplace with their personal lives. As a result, some tend to quit their jobs or abandon their professional goals. In the survey, very few women said that they consider their work-life balance a barrier, and that they're able to manage both while still keeping their eyes on the prize.
While women often work in male-dominated workplaces, not one of the respondents said that she viewed herself as a victim of the system. "None of the barriers in front of them are actually in their way," explains Lawrence. "They figure out how to jump, climb or run them over on their way to success."
3. Promote yourself
Women often have more difficulty promoting themselves in the workplace than men. Lawrence suggests thinking about how a close friend or relative would describe you: What would they say about you that would impress other people? Use their words to champion yourself until you are ready or comfortable saying them out loud. "Have confidence and know your accomplishments," says Lawrence.
4. Master the winning leadership skill
Women have proven that the most powerful skill they can learn is how to lead others in a collaborative manner. "Men have a fight-or-flight tendency and are great for making fast, solo decisions," says Lawrence. "But, post-recession, companies aren't always looking for that." Women have a way of hearing out everyone's opinions and finding the most successful idea or course of action.
Rather than great minds think alike, "It's instead great minds think unalike," says Lawrence. Women are able to collaboratively lead colleagues by embracing each new idea and, from that, creating something that will lead to success.
5. Build a support system of like-minded women
It's important for women who are looking to work their way up the corporate ladder to have a support system. "Having a community of like-minded women is really critical," says Lawrence. "It's important for women to share challenges, barriers and survival tips with each other."
She also explains that ambitious women tend to take on a superhuman element when they leave the house, believing they can do it all. Having a supportive group of friends and peers helps women realize that they're not alone in their daily struggles. By helping each other reach workplace goals, "There will no longer be a need to be competitive with our female peers," says Lawrence. "We'll all be supporting each other."
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