During our most recent event, we asked an all-star panel of Women in Tech Sales about their pathway to leadership. Here are key insights from their discussion:
How to Know if Leadership is for you
Although moving into leadership often brings a promotion, a pay rise and more power, it also involves a lot of sacrifice and a shift in mindset. You’re no longer an individual contributor, seeking to do your best and push yourself to achieve targets. You’re coaching a team to do that. Their success is your success. You need to find joy in the achievements of others and find the motivation to squeeze the most out of your team. Often if you’re excelling in your role, this will mean seeing team members outearn you, which can be a hard pill to swallow. If you’re not ready to shift your focus to others over yourself, there’s no shame – just stick to the individual contributor game (for now). If you’re sick of focusing on your own output and ready to our yourself into others, keep reading.
Put your Hand up
The first step in your pathway to leadership is expressing that you want it. In order to be top of mind for future opportunities, those around you need to know you have the drive to lead. There are various different ways this can be achieved, it might include putting your hand up to lead an internal group such as an ERG, or formally meeting with your superior to discuss what skills you need to work on to be considered for internal leadership positions.
“We don’t go for leadership roles because we’re too busy justifying the jobs we have.”
The phrase ‘imposter syndrome” feels a bit overdone. We’ve discussed it endlessly for the past 5 years and will likely continue to. With most phrases that become overused, it’s for good reason.
For those unfamiliar, Imposter Syndrome is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved due to one’s own efforts or skills.
In the corporate world, this syndrome is rampant and impacting women at unparalleled rates. Unfortunately, there’s no cure or easy fix. The only way through is perseverance.
Our panel discussed their experiences with this at length, all being touched by it at some point or continuing to struggle. The one prevailing piece of advice is “fake it until you make it”. It’s much easier said than done, but the theory is, that consistently pretending to have confidence will create it.
The Value of Mentors
The value of a mentor can not be overstated. They’re someone outside of your organisation, without bias that looks out for your best interests and seeks to guide you to your desired career path. Because they’re without an agenda (that a colleague or superior may hold) they’re able to able to ground you, identify strengths, correct weaknesses and help reach career goals.
Finding the right support can be a challenge but utilising your network, superiors network’s and innovative mentorship platforms like Strivin can help. If you’re interested in discovering Strivin’s new Sales & CS mentoring platform click here.
Advice to Leaders
The work isn’t over for those who’ve already climbed to the top. Remember the people who took a chance on you, and seek to be that for others. If you can, create opportunities for those who express interest in leading. And tell those who you see leadership qualities.