Although they make the majority of the population in numerous countries, women have always faced difficulties climbing up to the top tier business leadership positions.
If we take a look at the United States as the prime example of a developed country, we can see that women still make 25 percent of senior-level managers, fill in 20 percent of board seats, and are only 6 percent of current CEOs.
Still, in the words of a great poet, “the times they are a-changin’.”
The much-needed shift of generations in which Millennials took the control over the business world introduced new practices and fresh ways of thinking that allow women to take a bigger role in shaping the future of the business landscape.
Let us take a look at what we can learn from the experience of the women who spearheaded these changes.
1. Try starting your own gig
If you have a problem with some arbitrary glass ceiling, the best thing you can do is to ignore that ceiling altogether and just do your thing.
In terms of climbing to the leadership position that would mean playing outside the often closed corporate hierarchy and starting your own business.
As of lately, the number of female entrepreneurs is gradually on the rise and the investment options are expanding with each passing day.
Even if you want to stay committed to your family, there are quite a few businesses you can start and run from home.
2. Find a cofounder
Still, even if you decide to take full ownership of your career and start your own companies, you may experience the presence of invisible but still quite effective gender walls.
One of the ways of bypassing this problem is finding a co-founder.
This partner doesn’t need to be a male – it needs, however, to have experience in the industry you want to take part in and developed a professional network that will allow you to navigate the business landscape much easier.
A move like this may limit your decision-making power but still makes a very prudent strategy.
3. Play up your human qualities
When describing genders in very broad strokes, we tend to count attentiveness, empathy, and passion as some of the most important ladies’ qualities. Once again, these mentions paint a very broad picture of one gender and feature too many exceptions to count.
But, we should point out that the traits we’ve mentioned were considered not too preferable in the corporate environment in the previous decades and just now get the full appreciation from the suits.
If you possess some of these qualities, don’t be afraid to play them up. These are the qualities of the 21st-century women leader.
4. Find a way to balance family and professional life
Starting a family often presents a huge obstacle in a woman’s professional life. That doesn’t mean that you will have to choose between the two – just find a way to achieve a better balance.
One of the ways you can do that is to sign your baby to attend a modern learning center.
These facilities allow the kids to go through all developmental phases in a stimulating and warm environment with the help of trained professionals.
Other steps you can take are more efficient scheduling, hiring help around the house, involving your spouse in the parenting duties, and outsourcing some of your business tasks.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
The position of the women in the business environment is no longer a problem that’s being tucked under the rug. As a matter of fact, achieving better gender equality has become one of the most important goals of modern society.
As a result, there are quite a few bodies and legal acts set in place to help the ladies to take their rightful place in society.
If you are experiencing any kind of abuse, even if just verbal feel free to refer to laws against discrimination. If you lack mentorship try joining some of the numerous female leader support groups and forums.
6. Do your homework
As we already mentioned in the introduction, although the gender roles in the business world are slowly losing significance, the ladies still need to work very hard to reach leadership positions.
Still, this attitude of fighting an uphill battle is probably one of the best things you can emulate from current female industry leaders.
Approach every task with utter devotion, practice your skills, improve your knowledge, and back up every decision with thorough research.
As the business environment slowly changes these work habits will make your climb to the top all that easier.
7. Embrace a positive mindset
Some more cynical people like to say that self-affirmation and the culture of positive thinking are overrated. To some extent, they are right.
The universe won’t realign itself just because you are patting yourself on the back.
What you need to be aware of though is that in spite of cards often not being stacked in your favor, the only limitations you will ever face are the ones imposed by you.
Also, remember that frequent failures are not only acceptable but also necessary if you ever want to grow as a person and a leader. These two empowering thoughts will make overcoming obstacles far, far easier.
8. Keep yourself motivated
We have established by now that the road Millennial ladies need to pass in order to become corporate leaders is needlessly hard and takes quite a heavy toll on private life.
Don’t make yourself this situation even harder by denying yourself all the small pleasures the world has to offer.
Recent research suggests that, in spite of the common belief, even the tiniest rewards are capable of motivating people to go the extra mile. So, keep this in mind and reward yourself for every small milestone you reach.
This way, your professional path will look more like a pursuit of sensible goals and far less like a series of unfair challenges.
We hope these few tips we gathered from the experience of current female thought leaders will help you to get some general idea of what it means to be a woman at the top of the chain of command and what you need to do to get there.
Your task won’t be easy so brace yourself for a long and exhausting battle. But, the fact that each year we see more and more female managers, board members, and even CEOs is proof that there is a light at the end of this tunnel.
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Diana Smith is a full-time mom of two beautiful girls interested in the latest SEO and social media news.