In this interview, Soëlily Consen-Lynch, Manager Industrial Relations, Directorate of ACT Health, shares five ways women can rise into leadership. I’m sure you’ll be just as inspired as I was to shake things up and forge incredible progress after reading her interview.
DEFINE A GREAT LEADER – WHAT ARE SOME TRAITS YOU THINK GREAT LEADERS POSSESS?
Great leaders are good listeners and people who encourage and motivate employees to put forward ideas and suggestions to create a shared responsibility. Great leaders are also authentic, true to themselves and can balance between managing and giving staff room to conduct duties and are able to keep maintain an overview of organisation and projects as a whole. Most importantly, a great leader is willing to admit what she knows and doesn’t know and is not afraid to seek specialist advice if necessary.
WHAT ARE SOME STRATEGIES THAT CAN HELP WOMEN ACHIEVE A MORE PROMINENT ROLE IN THEIR ORGANIZATIONS?
Network, even if you don’t like it go to the team drinks at least once a month because a lot of vacancies, new projects etc are often already mentioned at informal drinks and if you want to be ready to apply for them, you need to be aware of them on time. Put your hand up for temporary projects, working groups, even if you don’t have all the skills yet. See it as a learning experience and more importantly, it shows the company you’re not afraid of extra responsibility and you have ambition. Try to build relationships with the executive level, so make sure that you talk to someone who holds an executive position at least once a week, first informal after awhile link in something about a current matter/issue max 5min every time. This will make exes know who you are, feel you’re involved and when an opportunity comes up they will have a connection to your name and might even vow for you. Work girls, work your ass off! Yes it’s true and not fair but we work twice as hard to prove ourselves and built a reputation but once the reputation is out there, that you are skilled and hardworking, the fruits are sweet.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN AIMING FOR LEADERSHIP POSITIONS?
Try to find mentors at the workplace and personally who can be your sounding board. Look what skills you need for a leadership position and if necessary do additional training to gain the skills. Volunteer for board /Committee position at school or other agencies as this will show leadership and you can use it as experience on a resume and most importantly, Apply for the job! Research has shown that a woman wants to tick all 8 boxes of a position Twice before they apply, while men try even if they can only tick 2-3 boxes. Don’t restrict yourself, go for it, worst case you don’t get the job but you got experience in the recruitment process for a leadership position.