Women Breaking The Glass Ceiling: What It Takes To Claim Your Seat At The "Senior Management" Table

If your organization has an invisible (yet real) barrier hindering your growth, here are some strategies to break the glass ceiling and claim your well-deserved seat at the senior management table.

Is your organization gender-equal just because it hires enough women to maintain a diversity ratio? To assess your organization's gender equality quotient, ask these questions: Are there very few women working in senior management roles? Do women in mid-level management often struggle to progress up the hierarchy, even if they put in an equal amount of hard work and persistence as their male counterparts? Are women in key positions finding themselves burned out while balancing work and life? Do women have to jump through multiple hoops to receive due credit? If you have answered most of these questions with a YES, your organization has an invisible yet very real barrier preventing women from succeeding. You need to break this "glass ceiling" or "invisible barrier" to move up the ladder.

While we agree that the initiative to break the glass ceiling should be taken by organizational leaders, we also acknowledge that such fundamental changes take time and your career cannot wait. This article will help you with strategies that can assist you in claiming your well-deserved seat at the senior management table.

Start working on your personal brand: Developing a strong personal brand can help you stand out compared to your peers. Build a robust digital presence, develop clear and consistent messaging about your skills and experience, and showcase your accomplishments and achievements. When you substantiate your skills, merit, and potential through consistent and positive communication, it becomes challenging for your employer to overlook your contributions.

Seek out mentorship and networking opportunities: Find women mentors in senior-level management positions who can provide guidance and support. Build a strong network within the organization and the industry. Strong mentorship and a reliable network help you recognize your strengths, embrace unique perspectives, and showcase your expertise. They give you the confidence to overcome self-doubt, challenge stereotypes, and assert your presence in the male-dominated corporate landscape.

Advocate for yourself: Don't be afraid to speak up and advocate for yourself. Ensure that your accomplishments and qualifications are clearly visible to your managers and peers. Don't hesitate to negotiate for fair compensation and benefits. Dare to differ from others or question important decisions. Be assertive about your opinions and strategic in timing your communication. Most importantly, don't be afraid to take up space as a woman – asking for menstrual leaves, maternity benefits, child care support, or more.

Create a support system: There will be times when your work goals require your undivided focus. In such cases, you need a strong support system. It can involve partners, family, friends, domestic helpers, consultants, skill coaches, accountability partners, counselors, or therapists. Strong women leaders build a reliable support system around them to effectively distribute the stress arising from work-life balance.

Partner with the right job search consultants: When searching for senior-level management roles, seek consultants who can help you find companies with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion.

In conclusion, breaking the glass ceiling for senior-level management roles requires a proactive development of skills, competence, emotional intelligence, networks, and social support systems. If you find that your contributions are still overlooked due to your gender, it's time to voice your concerns or make a move!