I was recently invited to speak at a conference for Women Leaders in Life Sciences Law by the wonderful Funke Abimbola.
A niche group of people – all people working in Life Sciences, and the majority lawyers. But the issues, barriers and opportunities they have are shared by females leaders in organisations around the world.
I had the chance to speak about the importance of storytelling to help people gain visibility, connect, influence, collaborate and build reputation.
What was overpowering was the desire in the room to be the agents of change within law and life sciences.
Here’s what I learnt about being a female leader in what is a male-dominated profession.
The importance of mentors – Possibly the number one factor in helping women to progress and succeed.
Get some coaching – If you want to be a leader, it’s worth investing in yourself.
Visibility – All important. Never assume that your work is being noticed just because you are good at your job.
Chance to shine – A number of people talked about giving people the chance to shine and so help them to progress.
Failing is fine – We are often obsessed about succeeding and failure is seen as weakness. But all the best leaders have failed at some time, and learnt from that failure.
It’s not all about the hard work – Working hard is just one part of progressing. But don’t assume your hard work alone will get you where you want to go.
Show confidence – Don’t walk into a room and simply talk to the people you know. Go and seek out others, especially those more senior to you or influential people.
Tell your story – No-one else is going to do it for you, at least not in the way you want. So take control of your narrative and build a story that shows your strengths and ambitions.
Be authentic – Okay, it’s a much over-used phrase. But don’t try and be someone else. Bring out your leadership qualities as the person you are.
Yet be prepared to play the game – This doesn’t mean being duplicitous or acting out of character. But if you’re not in the game or don’t understand how it’s played, how can you succeed?
Thanks again to Funke Abimbola and Alison Dennis for hosting and for the invitation to speak.