There's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to becoming a successful senior leader. But there are some key things that aspiring leaders should keep in mind as they work their way up the corporate ladder.
I turned to three female executives to ask for their advice: what's their #1 tip for women working towards becoming senior leaders?
The importance of networking and learning from colleagues was a pattern across their tips. Building a strong network of professional contacts can open doors to new opportunities and provide valuable support and mentorship.
Find mentors who support you, advocate for you, and help you identify opportunities for your continued development and growth! Be open to feedback (and yes, sometimes it will be constructive!). Learn from your success as well as from your missteps—that is the key to moving forward!
Robin Stein, Partner, Products & Technology, PwC
In addition to being open to honest feedback from mentors, it’s also important to be proactive in seeking out opportunities to learn and grow. Then speak up and be direct about your asks.
In your career you will find mentors, coaches, and advocates – listen, learn, and cherish these people. But never forget to use your own voice – ask questions, speak up (even if you are uncomfortable), and realize if you want something you have to ask for it. Find the courage to be bold.
Mariesa Coughanour, Head of NA Delivery, Advisory, Strategic Engagements & Mindshare - Intelligent Automation, Cognizant
Asking questions, speaking up for yourself, being direct about asking for the things you want in your professional life. Communication, important for success at all levels of an organization, is particularly important for those in senior leadership.
My number one tip for women who are working towards a senior leadership role is to focus on fine-tuning their communication abilities. I use this core skill in every interaction, whether it’s to motivate my team or to communicate the business or societal value of what I’m working on. Our progression will be greatly impacted by our abilities to convey points clearly. Also, I would encourage women to take the time to assess situations from the other person’s perspective, which will help tailor our communication accordingly and make interactions more impactful.
Beatriz Sanz Sáiz, Global Advisory Data and Analytics Leader, EY
A special “thank you” to Stein, Coughanour, and Sáiz for sharing their advice. Taking the time to share their tips with me is also the type of leadership and kindness that helps other women aspiring for similar leadership roles.
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