In order to succeed within an organization, you have to be aware of what’s happening around you. Working hard and delivering projects on time, to a high standard and under budget isn’t enough. I recently shared this piece of advice with a group of graduate students who seemed astonished by this reality of working life.
Here are a few tips on how to avoid the tiara syndrome:
1. Volunteer for strategically important projects. Don’t just do projects which you’ve been asked to do. Think about which projects are strategically important to the business and volunteer to be on those projects. And of course before you volunteer, think about how your specific skills/knowledge will add value to the project (prepare your sales pitch).
2. Build your “fan club” and make sure it includes males and females who can be trusted to give you good advice and who are in the know about what’s happening in the organization. You may think this is a waste of time, but in the long run it will save you an inordinate amount of time, and maybe even your job!
3. Be pro-active and confident about sharing your successes with others. Don’t wait to be recognized. You need to make things happen – don’t wait for others to do it for you (it won’t happen). The more an organization can leverage your talents the better off you, as well as the organization (and its clients), will be. In other words, it benefits everyone when you make it clear what experience, knowledge and special talents you have to bring to the table.
4. Stay true to yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. It doesn’t help anyone in the long run, especially you.
5. Continue producing fantastic work, but leave time to follow through on the advice above.
In order to create gender-balanced businesses we need to ensure that all professionals take active steps to think strategically about their current and future roles and let others know of their ambition to reach leadership levels.