This is just a ‘mini-post’ for those of you who, like me, would like to see women becoming more confident in taking up leadership roles. I’ve been a volunteer for the Women in Logistics (WiL) group for a couple of years, supporting their mentoring scheme and watching women move up the career ladder. We also sponsored their annual dinner in support of the charity Transaid, and I was delighted to present the company award to Premier Farnell back in the summer.
Vanessa Tyler, a highly experienced HR professional and I had great fun last week designing this poster to promote the mentoring campaign. We look forward to it popping up in warehouses and logistics offices up and down the country. Vanessa is great at matching Mentors to mentees – using her sifting skills, she picks out peoples’ essential qualities and puts people together really well.
I had a really interesting conversation with the WiL Chair, Clare Bottle, about the continued need for a focus on developing women to their full potential. Like her, I’m uncomfortable with positive discrimination if it’s linked to quotas.
What I am passionate about is women having equal access to development opportunities – so that they can compete on equal terms with men as they progress along the career ladder. WiL is fortunate to have a number of men supporting this movement and this isn’t about ‘men bashing’ by any means.
We just need more men to understand that the benefits women bring are assets in their own right. And we don’ t need women to be ‘more like a man’ (as Rex Harrison wanted in the film My Fair Lady).
If I were to sum up the greatest assets women typically bring, they’re things like flexible thinking, great communications and a solutions-focus. Real advantages to the bottom line – and to the boardroom. Now, I’m sure men reading this will think that I’m over-generalising and that’s not my intention. But it is my intention to emphasise the need for everyone to focus on and develop their innate skills – because this is what you enjoy and are good at – whatever your gender.
What we do need is women to be more confident about their own abilities and to step up into more leadership roles. I’m really looking forward to the WiL event next January where members will be presenting their mentoring success stories.
Vanessa and I are also really keen to run a confidence building workshop for women – when time permits. But, until then, here’s some career-building tips for you:
- Notice which of the tasks you’re good at really energise you – these are your strengths – find ways to do more of them
- Keep a note of what you achieve in a day – not just do – but complete, or take to a milestone. I really recommend you do this everyday. I use www.idonethis.com to record my own actions and it can be used as a record of team achievements too.
- Make links between your daily achievements and your strengths – this is the foundation on which to build your CV
- Get comfortable with telling others about your achievements and your strengths. The careers ladder is no place for wallflowers or shrinking violets. Yes, it will feel uncomfortable at first, but let’s put those gremlins to one side and start feeling and acting proud of what we’ve achieved.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that this advice is gender-free! I hope you put it to work and grow to your fullest potential.
And if you know someone who’d make a great mentor, or you’d like to offer a high-potential mentee some support, just contact firstname.lastname@example.org.