Break the glass ceiling within YOU

Author: Dr Divya Kumar

Reunions are very always special. It is the time when we take off from our routine and eagerly await to see our pals and relive our cherished moments. It is always a beautiful take a trip down our memory lane. It becomes even more special when it is with our all-girls gang. Every year our college alumni association team would send our batch meet invite. But it was always the “regular few” that will come together. This year we speculated whether the meet will be called off, amid the COVID’19, and our alumni team sent our first-ever virtual reunion invites. To everyone’s surprise, it was a full house! It was lovely to meet virtually everyone after so many years. It was amazing to see little kids and families coming together. Truly, we all have come a long way, and each of our lives changed so much. It was amazing!

Reena, our college topper, joined the reunion for the first time. She is working in a multinational bank and is a mother of two. She is in the mid-stage of her amazing career and one of the identified Hi-Po talents at her organization. I was super excited to hear more from her, but Reena did not have that vibrancy as she spoke. She was in a dilemma, to choose between family and career. It was not just Reena with this mindset, but a few more working moms who shared the same.

So, I decided to decode the questions that were pondering within me. Why women like Reena(s), who have made significant progress in being recognized as outstanding managers, are not making it to the top? What is derailing them?

In today’s competitive corporate environment, women employees find it more difficult to charter a plan, especially at their mid-career stage. Work-life balance is a major problem for today’s working women. The demands of full-time work conflict with the relational factors in their family live. Women feel they have to make difficult decisions that sacrifice their career or family, with little understanding of the influences that affect decision making. With the technological advancement of our work modules, creating a clear boundary between home and work life is no longer possible. The traditional concept of work-life balance has now evolved as work-life integration. Work-life balance is a separation of our professional and personal lives, whereas work-life integration is a connection between work and personal life. Interestingly, organizations have started to embrace the idea of work-life integration with their career enablers like flexibility, remote work, childcare support etc.

But again, what is still that one factor that often disrupts or derails women professionals? Hay Group examined the performance and paths of 12 of the highest leading women in one Fortune 500 company and other executive women of global organizations. The study reveals that the highest-performing women had a strong orientation toward achievement. It is instrumental in driving an advancement to a large extent. To have control over your career requires you to be INTENTIONAL.

Here are the steps which can help you to create alignment of your goals, values and actions:

Identify a clear goal that you want to achieve professionally
Break down identified big goals into small objectives attached to timelines
Assertive and strategic planning enables you to be disciplined with your time and priorities.
Invest in professional development by staying open to new opportunities
Finding innovative solutions to your workplace problems
Networking and discussions with peers and colleagues to gain new insights
Tracking the progress will motivate you to steer it in the direction of attaining your goals
Never hesitate to communicate and negotiate what you want with your reporting managers

Be INTENTIONAL, as you will make a DIFFERENCE with more maturity and purposeful engagements to reach your desired GOAL!