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Acclaimed authors Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith have recently published How Women Rise, a book dedicated to helping women climb the executive ladder. In the book, they address key behaviors which tend to hold back executive women.

In this article, we will look at the key points raised. If you are an executive woman that seems to be constantly overlooked and indeed a man in the same position, these points may help you change your behaviors and achieve a more worthwhile career.

Would you say you’re a Perfectionist?

Although perfectionists work standards are incredibly high it comes at a price. Perfectionists tend to do the work themselves to ensure it meets their high standards and to ensure it is done right.

As such, perfectionists can slow down production and workflow as their attention to detail is not in the best interests of the team.

This can result in you taking on too much work and damaging your reputation.

With this in mind learn the art of delegation. Arguably the art of management is to check important aspects are complete and that your department, organization, are performing well. With this in mind, consider delegating the smaller tasks and then when you feel confident, start delegating more important tasks to your team.

Your team will probably appreciate your trust in them and you can iron out issues as needed. Remember, it is the productivity of your department as a whole that you will be judged on.

Are you Invaluable in your Current Role?

The authors point out that many women feel their success will be recognized if they learn the role inside out and become an invaluable member of the team. It is logical when you think about it. Although they become the indispensable woman they also harm their career prospects severely.

This happens because their boss loves them and they want to keep them where they are for their knowledge and skills. Why promote a good thing?

Also, mastering your role and showing the organization you are perfect for it harms long-term promotion prospects.

Not Claiming your Achievements

Executives of both genders are held back by not talking about their achievements. Nobody wants to be the “jerk who talks himself up all the time,” but the reality is that the ones that do get the promotion and the better job offer.

One reason men tend to get promotions and pay rises is that they are naturally more aggressive and women tend to be naturally more agreeable. As such it is a good idea to adopt a more aggressive mindset, highlighting your contributions to the team to influential people in the organization.

Last week, we spoke about sponsorship and how it benefits women. If you do not have a sponsor it is up to you to do this.

Golden rules:

· Never downplay your achievements

· Make sure the right people know of your contribution

· Always back up your achievements with hard data to show you made a positive contribution in interviews and appraisals. Sales figures, workflow figures, contract wins, anything that you can document to show you delivered should be recorded and produced on demand

Obviously, taking a more aggressive approach does require some caution. You should not be thinking about screaming and shouting but presenting information and your argument to show that you are important, your skills and knowledge get results, and your evidence is irrefutable. If you’re thinking you need to make it impossible for the decision maker to turn your pay rise or promotion, you’re thinking on the right lines.