This has been a big year for women in the workplace. A host of revelations about inappropriate behavior, that’s not really news to me, has become a hot topic among many of my peers and colleagues. While it would be easier to say nothing, I think it’s important to take a minute to talk about women in the workplace. For women in leadership roles like myself, we need to reveal the path that got us here for younger workers who may not see it as clearly.
I have 600+ people in my service organization, with more women on my team than men. The ladies on our team bring incredible attention to detail, time management skills and the ability to quickly connect with our customers. My only dilemma is that I get too few female candidates applying for leadership roles. While some positions have qualified applicants, I don’t always get the diverse pool of candidates that I’d hope to see.
I get too few female candidates applying for leadership roles.
While we’re a service organization that’s built and led by women, my co-workers and direct reports don’t want to be treated as ‘female.’ They just want a fair workplace, and some consideration that they’re juggling work and a personal life which both include big responsibilities. However, there is a long way to go before we’re a balanced workforce due to advancement gaps and the motherhood penalty, as this PWC study found.
I attended the GBTA conference in San Diego and heard a center-stage conversation among female travel industry execs who talked about their ‘stretch job’ – the job that pushed them out of their comfort zone and positioned them to climb the ladder to the highest positions. What resonated with me and I think a lot of audience members was the encouragement to take risks with your career and having the tenacity to put yourself out there and go after the roles that you may not feel 100% qualified for.
Take risks with your career and have the tenacity to put yourself out there and go after the roles that you may not feel 100% qualified for.
How can you improve your skills? Training. Unfortunately, many companies scrap training opportunities when times are lean. But you can’t afford to be ill-prepared when an opportunity opens up. Put together a personal development program, then ask a mentor that you trust for a second opinion. Does your company offer an online training library? Travel Leaders Group provides a Lynda subscription for all of our employees. But even if you don’t have this benefit, there are numerous free educational tools available online. Block an hour on your schedule to ‘lunch & learn’ with an on-demand webinar to teach yourself about a topic outside of your skillset. Focus on continued learning and team member development, for it will certainly raise the performance level in your department and elevate your career.