Are you wearing shoes? While women have seen some big movement recently in breaking the glass ceiling, there are still barriers to career advancement, including the glass cliff. All leaders, regardless of gender, need to be aware of the barriers that prevent more women – particularly women of color – from effectively growing their careers. We already know that diverse teams, including teams with a mix of genders and races, outperform other less diverse teams and businesses (see leanin.org, catalyst.org, and studies by Stanford and the Women at Work initiative).
We also know that careers involve navigating relationships, power, and influence. This is where status gaps come into play. Women, and more importantly, women of color, have greater status distance than men. Status distance is defined as your position relative to people who have status in your organization. Another barrier women face is the “prove it again” bias where women have to show evidence multiple times they can already do the job for which they’re interviewing, versus being hired for their potential. Black women are heard less than any other group, making it really hard for them to be “seen,” valued, and understood.
Given these gaps, Capacity Group partnered with Jamesbeck, a global talent placement firm, to host a discussion on how to navigate your career. While this webinar was geared toward Black women in investment management, the tips can be used by anyone. We’re sharing key points from this forum as a way to support all people in their pursuit of a career, contribution, and impact.
Summary of Takeaways
Women face more barriers than men in having access to key internal power sources that help generate career movement. Black women face a bigger challenge here, and too many do not have interactions with top leaders.
Deliver. This is rule one for anyone. You have to consistently deliver good results and performance.
Expand your network and leverage your network.
Build connections to those who have power and influence.
Establish mentors and be specific.
Learn how insiders navigate their careers and through whom.
Work on being ready for a sponsor and ask for one!
Also, individuals with successful careers:
- Have roughly twice the variety (but sometimes the same number) of on-the-job challenges.
- Seek and get more feedback on how they come across to others and what they need to do to improve.
- Have zig-zag careers – with many firsts and some failures.
- Respond to this newness and adversity by learning new skills and ways of thinking.
For details on how to expand your network, click below for the full webinar.