Both men and women can experience trials and tribulations in their aim to make their way to the top of the workplace hierarchy.
However, women in particular are subject to oppression and discrimination in the workplace.
Such obstacles can make it difficult for them to reach leader status ahead of their equally qualified male counterparts.
Once they do attain highly respected roles, this is referred to as breaking the glass ceiling.
Other people who may experience discrimination include older employees, those from poorer backgrounds and ethnic minorities.
Though equality has dramatically improved over the past few decades, there is still much progress to be made.
The hierarchy within a workplace is still very male-dominated when it comes to the top positions.
So, are there any ways that women and other minorities can increase their chances of breaking the glass ceiling?
While elevating such employees into higher earning roles is a change needed in society, below are some useful strategies that will help you become a strong leader at work in the meantime:
Recognise that the Glass Ceiling Exists
To break through the glass ceiling, you must first acknowledge that it’s there.
There are some tell-tale signs that one may exist within your organisation, such as:
- Little diversity among the top-level managers
- Sexist, racist or other prejudice language being common across the organisation
- Resistance to change and innovation
- Pay gaps between male and female employees
Be Tough in Negotiations
Nothing worth having comes easy.
Experts suggest that women shouldn’t be afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to requesting work perks, benefits and bonuses.
It’s a well-known fact that women perform better academically.
They graduate higher educational institutions at higher percentages than men.
So, why are they making less money in lower level positions?
Well, males tend to be more assertive in the work environment, making them more likely to get promoted than women.
Though it may be difficult to implement this mentality in the workplace, it is still crucial to be more assertive and self-confident whenever it’s needed.
Never Underestimate Your Capabilities
If you have all the right qualifications, then you are no less worthy to be in the business than your other colleagues.
It may be that your hard work and dedication is taken for granted.
Start drawing attention to your personal strengths and skills, ensuring that management know when you are responsible for the successful completion of tasks and deals.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Decisions
Not every decision a great leader makes is the best decision.
What demonstrates great leadership is the fact that they stepped up and made the decision in the first place.
People that tend to procrastinate and let other make the decisions that they should have made are showing signs that they don’t have what it takes to be a leader.
Stand Up for Yourself
There are some cases where you’ll be required to stand up for yourself against opposition.
For example, employers may often be reluctant to hire women because of pregnancies in the future.
They may also unfairly dismiss them for the same reason.
This is outright discrimination and can be dealt by consultation with dispute resolution lawyers.
Standing up for your rights as an employee will let your company know that you’re not a push over, and that you’re willing to fight for what you deserve.
Learn New Skills
You may wish to learn more about strategic planning, analytics and performance metrics.
Any instance where you can acquire new skills will begin to make you invaluable to the company.
Learning a new skill can also help you feel more confident and professional, equipping you with the knowledge you need to complete tasks that others may not be able to.
Build A Network You Can Learn From
Studies show that individuals with large open networks succeed at a much higher rate than those with smaller, more closed networks.
Understandably, a busy work schedule means it can be difficult to find the time to attend networking events, however, there is no doubt that these opportunities are worth pencilling in.
Practice Giving & Taking Constructive Feedback
Giving and receiving tough feedback can be a real hurdle to growth, both as manager and as an individual contributor.
However, the sooner you master digesting constructive feedback and giving it out to your colleagues, the quicker you’ll grow personally and professionally.
Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
Human error is unavoidable.
Unfortunately, certain failures by women or other minorities can be magnified and blown out of proportion.
Men are often less afraid with the prospect of dealing with possible consequences of incorrect decisions due to their position within the company.
However, if you want to break the glass ceiling you must realise that you’re not expected to be infallible.
Therefore, you need to move beyond the fear of failure. By doing so, you’ll also become more confident in your approach to certain situations.