Expert Career Advice For The New Year
Don’t let others define you. Make success where it seemed unlikely. Know thyself.
Want to make 2018 your most successful year? Start with the guidance from these inspirational female leaders.
Gloria Feldt, Co-Founder & President of Take the Lead
“Leadership is first and foremost the creation of meaning. Of making sense of the world and the work so that others can coalesce around the mission of the organization and understand how their particular work helps to further it. This is why vision is such an important element of leadership.”
“You will be defined. How much better is it that you define yourself? This is the career lesson I received the hard way when I did the work but got none of the credit many times over. Define your own terms first before someone else defines you. Whoever sets the agenda for a meeting usually gets the work done that she intended, and as every lawyer knows, whoever defines the debate topic usually wins it.”
“The world turns on human connections. It’s a given that you need to have the right skillset – no fudging on that. And about 10 percent of what happens in your career is due to timing. But most of our career trajectories are primarily influenced by who we’re connected to, and how we have built and maintained those relationships.
So consider your human relationships your greatest treasures and treat them as such. Be honest and kind, stay in touch, follow through on your commitments, be generous and don’t worry about keeping score. It will all work out to your benefit in the end.”
Romy Newman, Co-Founder of Fairygodboss
“In my experience, it’s easier for women to find success by pursuing the assignments that are less popular or seem more difficult. By actively pursuing the less “sexy” projects, you will have an opportunity to differentiate yourself and avoid the fray that surrounds popular or mainstream assignments. If you can make success where it seemed unlikely, you will be seen as a hero.”
“To me, the most important ingredient for success for any senior leader is emotional intelligence. This is especially true for women because there tend to be fewer women in leadership roles and often a high degree of scrutiny. The best boss I ever had was smart and tough but also incredibly friendly and personable.
He set a great example for all of his team members by working hard, while he also made work really fun by bringing humor and celebrations into the workplace. He took the time to say “thank you,” in special cases, even with a handwritten note. He took the time to really know the people he worked with at all levels: Their family, where they lived, where they vacationed, what their hobbies were.
The result: He had incredible loyalty, productivity and success from his team. Now, I always try to channel him. People deliver their best when they are happy to be at work, they feel recognized and have genuine intrinsic motivation for the work they are doing.”
Sherry Sims, CEO & Founder of Black Career Women’s Network
“Knowing who you are as a professional requires you to take time and ask yourself: What do I stand for? What are my core professional values, strengths and deal breakers? When you develop who you are professionally, it becomes easier to manage your career, remain clear during professional challenges, and focus on your career goals and progression.”
“As the saying goes, “Help Me to Help You.” Create opportunities for people to want to work with you. Be strategic and make it a win-win for both people involved. Collaborating can increase your visibility, enhance your reputation, build relationships and position you as a subject-matter expert. Not all partnerships have to take place at work. Projects can be with others in your industry or volunteer organizations.”
Geri Stengel, Founder & President of Ventureneer
“Want to grow a successful, thriving company? Start a company that solves a market pain point.”
“Don’t do it alone. The most successful women entrepreneurs I know ask for help from cofounders, professional advisors, staff, customers and vendors. Importantly, they rely on fellow entrepreneurs – people who have been there, done that – for advice.”