Female Business Leaders: 3 Ways Women Can Step Up, Instead of Stepping Down by Christena Garduno
Senior-level women are calling it quits after decades of climbing the career ladder. Many of the women who have quit their jobs in the past year say it’s because they were overwhelmed with work and are looking to minimize stress. Others feel undervalued and overlooked for management roles they know they are more than capable of taking on.
It’s time for female leaders to step up and blaze the trail forward, instead of stepping down. Here are a few ways ambitious women can advocate for themselves, set proper boundaries and avoid burnout:
1. Prioritize Your Goals and Learn to Say No
In order to excel as a female business leader, it's essential to have a clear understanding of your goals, both personal and professional, and to prioritize them. This can help you focus your energy and time on the things that matter most to you and prevent you from getting sidetracked or overwhelmed by the smaller, less important things that tend to take up so much time.
In addition, learning to say "no" is a great way to protect your time. Saying "no" can be challenging, especially when you want to be helpful or supportive. However, learning to say "no" when necessary is critical to setting proper boundaries and avoiding burnout from agreeing to too much. It's important to prioritize your own needs and goals and to say "no" to requests or commitments that are not aligned with them.
2. Take Care of Yourself and Seek Mentorship Opportunities
Taking care of yourself, both physically and mentally, is essential to preventing burnout and building confidence in what you’re doing. This can involve making time for exercise, hobbies, relaxation, socializing or taking time off. It's important to prioritize self-care and to view it as an essential part of your overall well-being, and setting boundaries with your day-to-day by taking time off, whether for an extra day to rest at home or to travel somewhere, is part of that.
Building a supportive network of peers, mentors and allies is also instrumental in advocating for yourself and preventing burnout. Seek opportunities to connect with others who share your interests and goals, and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Mentors can provide guidance and support as you navigate your career by offering advice on your goals and helping you make important decisions. By working with a mentor, you can learn from their experience and avoid making the same mistakes they did. In addition to having a mentor, if you’re approached by someone your junior asking for mentorship, take that as an opportunity to continue growing yourself and sharpening your skills while providing support to someone else.
3. Step Up and Confidently Communicate
For the women who feel undervalued and overlooked when asking for a raise, a promotion or a voice on an important project – ask confidently. When asking for a raise, it’s essential to showcase what makes you a valuable employee and articulate those skills thoroughly. If you are seeking a promotion, research the role you are interested in and have a clear idea of what value you can provide in that role and how your leadership will benefit the company. Practice your pitch with a friend or mentor, as rehearsing can help build your confidence and reduce anxiety. It’s important to be clear and direct in your communication, and to express your needs, capabilities and boundaries in a firm but respectful way.
By taking these steps, ambitious women can advocate for themselves, set proper boundaries and prevent burnout, allowing them to achieve their personal and professional goals while maintaining their well-being.
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