Thursday, January 17, 2008

How To Breaking the Glass Ceiling

“Steps to breaking the glass ceiling ...”

Hobnob With The Bigwigs

According to stereotype, women are better at developing relationships than men. But that's not true in the corporate world, says Carol Gallagher, author of Going to the Top.

Women tend to put their heads down and finish their work, assuming they'll get noticed, she said. "Guys are out playing golf and networking," she says. The men gain valuable connections.

They also learn about big-picture strategic issues, knowledge that helps them climb to the top.

Don't Nitpick

Women tend to obsess about details, says Gallagher. She's seen women in board meetings contradict a presenter when one fact was wrong in a document. That offends the presenter, she says, without accomplishing much. Men are more likely to let small errors fly in order to preserve their relationships.

Sell Yourself

Make sure your bosses know your ambitions and your capabilities. "Women tend to expect that meritocracy will take place," says Gill Rider, chief leadership officer at Accenture. But meritocracy won't work on its own. Women, like men, need to promote themselves and their achievements.

Ask For More Money

Women are more likely than men to take whatever salary is offered to them, because they don't want to rock the boat. A client of Gallagher's discovered that a junior male colleague was making $100,000 more than she was. She talked to her boss, who saw the error--and perhaps the threat of a lawsuit--and promptly upped her salary by $100,000.

Have Fun

Women burn out, Gallagher says. It's well-known that women do more housework than men. But women also tend to stay in the office, while men are more likely to be out networking and building connections. "Women are fried, exhausted, at the end of the day, the week, the year," Gallagher says. "The men are having more fun."

Take Risks

A client of Gallagher's wanted a new challenge. So she told her boss she was interested in moving to a more senior position. The boss came through with an offer, but it was in a different division that the client knew little about. She turned the offer down. "She didn't want to take the risk because she wasn't sure if she could be perfect at it," Gallagher says. Her husband convinced her to take the job.

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