Our latest Women’s Leadership Programme graduation, run in conjunction with People & Performance, included an extremely inspiring talk from guest speaker Jane Cooke, who shared her top tips on how to propel your career while staying true to your natural style and unique strengths.
Up until recently, Jane was Director People & Organisational Development at Abcam in Cambridge. Having seen the organisation grow from around 40 to 1,000 staff globally, Jane talked passionately about building confidence as a key step to progress into more senior roles. Here's five of the top tips she shared with the graduates.
1. Always say yes
Saying yes to new challenges will take you out of your comfort zone, but it will also provide new experiences which will help you to develop new skills and to build the confidence needed to develop professionally. The research study ‘Career Playbook Women in Leadership’ found that far more men than women are likely to seek out and say yes to different experiences which stretch their skills and help them to progress.
2. Put yourself forward
As well as saying yes to opportunities, look for opportunities to put yourself out there. Women tend to be more modest than men and are not as confident in speaking up about their ideas, shouting about their successes, networking to raise their profile or putting themselves forward for projects or promotions.
3. Be kind to yourself
Women often set incredibly high standards for themselves and strive for perfection. Allow yourself to make some mistakes and don’t feel guilty about trying to determine a work life balance which works for you. Focus on building your own sense of self-worth and look to learn from others in your industry without unfavourably comparing yourself against them.
4. Remain authentic
Find out what is unique about yourself and work that difference. Don’t be afraid to display the qualities you naturally possess as women often feel under pressure, whether real or imagined, to become something they are not in order to advance their career. An authentic leadership approach inspires loyalty and trust, and will also show others that they can progress without having to become something they are not.
5. Find external mentors and coaches
Finding an external mentor or coach is something women should do sooner rather than later in their careers. As well as providing advice and guidance, a mentor or coach can act as a cheerleader for you. They can remind you of your successes and strengths, help you to break down any doubts and mental limitations and encourage you to venture out of your comfort zone in order to progress.
First established in 2014, Pure runs the Women’s Leadership Programme twice a year in conjunction with strategic HR consultancy People & Performance. The programme includes four days of facilitated learning and two individual coaching sessions, focused on building confidence and a plan, increasing strategic awareness and influence, and being effective and authentic leaders. The first Women’s Leadership Programme of 2017 will take place in January and March. For more information email Lucy Plumb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lynn is a founding Director of Pure and leads Pure Executive with over 25 years recruiting for Executive appointments. Lynn supports East of England-based businesses with senior management and Board level recruitment. Lynn leads the Best Employer Eastern Region Initiative and the Women In Leadership Programme both of which are aimed at helping companies and people to develop.