Tag Archives: women vs. men in business

The Simplest, and Best, Career Advice I’ve Got


How often are you asked for advice by those in your profession who are just starting out?  I get that a fair amount, more so from women because I am in the traditionally male-dominated field of engineering.  When asked (and, even when I’m not on those occasions when I think it might be useful!) I offer the following three-step advice:

  1. Know what you want.
  2. Earn it.

And…. Wait for this…

  1. Ask for it.

In my experience, it’s that third step that just doesn’t happen.  Most people, women more often than men I’m afraid, think that if they work hard and earn their achievements, advancement will naturally follow.  Wrong! But it’s not necessarily because you don’t deserve it.  Nine times out of ten, whoever is in the position to make this decision simply hasn’t thought about it.  Yet, by asking and making a respectful, well thought-out case for yourself, you might give them just what they need to move forward.

Just remember: You have to EARN it first.  Once you’ve earned it, go for it!

Oh, and what happens if you are told, “No?” In my experience, even if your proposal gets a “No,” it was usually given respectful consideration and, as a result, some other opportunity will arise, because good employers really don’t want to tell good employees, “No.”  The new opportunity might not be what you had envisioned, but take the opportunity, perform well as you always do, wait for the next opportunity, and ask.

Don’t believe me?  Here’s one top leader’s account.

About Laura Reinbold, PE

Ms. Reinbold explores ways http://www.ttlusa.com can help build our communities, from the geoprofessional side of the engineering profession.

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Step Up To the Table

Meeting Room

Being a woman executive in the engineering profession is still a novelty. It shouldn’t be, but it is. I’m often the only woman in the board room, in the leadership team meeting, or on the advisory board. Sometimes I’m even the first woman to have been around those tables.

Last year, Governor Haslam appointed me to the Architects and Engineer’s Licensing Board. In the 100 or so years of its existence, I am the first woman engineer or architect to have been appointed. Now, you cannot tell me that in the past 100 years there has not been a qualified female architect or engineer worthy of this appointment. Many are WAY more qualified than I will ever be. And before you go blaming past Governors or the influence of men in our profession, let me tell you what I found out. Those asked to suggest nominees for this appointment have been asked before to put forth qualified women’s names, they simply couldn’t find any women willing to commit to the service. That’s what I learned. Now, perhaps they didn’t look hard enough, or ask the right women, but nonetheless, they were told, ” No.”

If you’ve read Sheryl Sandburg’s book Lean In, this propensity for women to say no won’t surprise you. Women often undervalue their qualifications; many believe that if they aren’t 100% qualified for an opportunity, they should not accept it. Men, on the other hand, believe that if they bring over half the skills necessary to the task, they’ll pick up the rest of it OTJ and thrive in the position. This plays out over and over in job searches, promotions, even asking for raises: Women are consistently less likely to put themselves forward for consideration than equally qualified men.

This self-limiting behavior has got to change, ladies. We need you to look for opportunities to step into those leadership roles that you’ve every right to pursue. The young ladies who follow in your footsteps need you to; the men who will prosper from having your expertise at their tables need you to; and I need you to. I want more women at my tables!

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The #1 Leadership Advantage Women Have Over Men

Deb Fish 6-22-14

So much is said and written about what makes women more or less effective leaders than men. It is, after all, still a man’s world when it comes to most leadership positions. Women’s leadership aptitude is compared to men’s because—like it or not—men have set the standard.

But there is at least one area where women arguably beat the standard the men have set: women are better listeners on the whole, and listening leaders earn their followers’ trust most readily and engender more support from them. Indeed, effective listening is integral to many of the leadership competencies at which women have been found to excel.

Let’s face it, you are only a leader if other people are following you and you are influencing their direction. A title does not confer leadership, even if it confers some authority, so you can’t rely on a nifty title to make people follow you. Plus, even without a title, it’s possible to be a very effective leader.

Being an effective listener doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily quieter than others, though it might. What it really means is that you respectfully attend to what’s being said and not said, you ask questions to clarify what you hear, and you respond in ways that make the other person feel heard.

As a woman, here’s how your natural aptitude for listening can set you apart as a leader:

• You will understand better than others how your colleagues view initiatives, their roles, company objectives, etc. You will be tapped into all of the talent around you.

• You will be aware of what factors affect your colleagues’ commitment to, and effectiveness in, their roles.

• You will be known as someone who values others’ opinions and input, thereby making others trust you, seek out your counsel, and be more inclined to embrace your ideas over others’.

• You will more often meet your business objectives because people will work harder for you and you will have their allegiance.

All of this extra effectiveness comes from one skill; a skill that women come by naturally. Leverage this talent you have; don’t discount it; use it wisely to create real value for your organization.

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