Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Tagged: leadership

5 career management lessons from Her Majesty...

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📥  Advice, Career Development, Graduate Jobs

Her majesty the queen celebrated her 90th birthday yesterday and shows no sign of slowing down. Whatever your view about the royal family, the UK's longest reigning monarch has experienced and adapted to much change and there are many lessons that can be learnt from her that are relevant to leadership and career management.

Queen Elizabeth II
  1. You might end up doing the top job: When her majesty was born, she was third in line for the throne. But less than a year after her uncle Edward VIII succeeded King George, he unexpectedly abdicated the throne in pursuit of love. So when her father succeeded his brother as king in 1936, she was next in line and the rest is history. In the workplace, you may find yourself unexpectedly in a position of leadership or in the midst of a major change. How you deal with the unexpected is key - staying positive, maintaining communication and not losing sight of the bigger picture are essential skills.
  2. Embrace change: 91% of HR directors think that by 2018, people will be recruited on their ability to deal with change and uncertainty says The Flux Report by Right Management. The labour market is constantly changing and technology is having a huge impact on the world of work, Mind Tools have some great resources to help you develop your flexibility and cope with change positively.
  3. Harness technology: The Queen sent her first ever tweet from @BritishMonarchy  in front of 600 guests in 2014... social media tools are now a daily part of our lives and can be harnessed to not only look for graduate employment but also build your personal brand. Check out out blogs on managing your career using social media.
  4. Commitment: Her majesty has reigned for 64 years and in that time has undertaken thousands of public duties. Whilst there is no such things as a job for life, commitment still matters. Employers want to see you can stick to a particular project or role, develop and grow. If you find a particular role isn't challenging you, then talk to your manager and explore additional responsibilities or projects before jumping ship.
  5. Keep calm and carry on: there will be times when the pressures of work / life will get on top of you. The key is to keep a check on your emotional well-being and if you find the pressure is affecting your health then seek out appropriate support. Sometimes, it is just good to step away from it all and have a cuppa tea - a bit of distance can give tons of perspective!
How to solve a brand's crisis PR and a media crisis

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

Careers advice to empower women...

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📥  Advice, Diversity

makeithappen

All around the world, International Women’s Day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality. Make It Happen is the 2015 theme for International Women s Day encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women.  A survey by RSA, the executive search firm,  found that “women bring empathy and intuition to leadership” with nearly two-thirds of respondents (62%) thinking that women contribute differently in the boardroom, compared to their male colleagues. A similar proportion saw women as more empathetic, with a better insight into how decisions play out in the wider organisation and when it came to communications and effective collaboration, “over half felt that women were better”. Studies show us that profitability improves when women take on positions of leadership in companies. So what tools can best help women move ahead?

One powerful tool is mentoring. A mentor can show you how to ramp up your skill-sets, network effectively and work around or eliminate your weaknesses. They can even open some very important doors to leadership positions. We wrote a popular blog post on how women can develop their leadership skills and discussed this at the Women in Leadership Conference that was organised by the Student Union here at Bath. A common theme emerged which was around lack of confidence holding back women and the unwillingness to take risks.  The Institution of Leadership & Management's research 'Ambition & Gender at Work' suggests that over 50% of women report feelings of self-doubt about their performance and careers. Time and time again research shows that women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence.

So how can women develop confidence?

  • Use empowering language: Aston Universities Vice Chancellor, Professor Dame Julia King  says  women tend to use more cautious, less aggressive/assertive language, and often apologise for what they are about to say  - ‘This isn't quite my subject area, but perhaps you might consider…’ ‘I am not sure this is exactly relevant, but…’ This can be interpreted as weakness and makes what women say easier to dismiss or ignore.
  • Banish Negative Self-Talk: It is amazing how self-talk can lead us in to or out of a situation. If you can, take time to visualise the discussion or event going well rather than thinking of the things that may go wrong.  Ask yourself, 'whats the worst that could happen?' - when you do this,  you get a clarity and a bit of fear vanishes.
  • Take a risk: Become comfortable with things that you don’t know, and turn your fear and failures into an eagerness to learn new skills.
  • Celebrate your successes: The best confidence boost is to celebrate your successes and keep reminding yourself of it by writing them on post-it notes. Then have them displayed in an area that you can view each day e.g. kitchen, wardrobe, medicine cabinet etc.

Lets #makeithappen in 2015!

 

Women: Success starts with failure....

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📥  Advice, Diversity, Tips & Hints

Think back to when you were a child... you were probably naturally inquisitive, curious, eager and willing to try new things. As a child when things didn't work out you probably moved on and tried something else. You probably didn't waste time or emotion worrying about what didn't work, you simply tried something else.

Then you grew up and something terrible happened. You decided failure is unacceptable and your ego became your worst enemy. I've been there, when things start going wrong my defense mechanisms kick in and I become focused on 'saving face'. I think this article  by Sarah Rapp provides food for thought and suggests that denial, hedonic editing and chasing losses are the wrong way to deal with failure. If anything, failure is a necessary step in learning and growing. How we view failure and deal with it, to a large extent, determines how successful we will be.

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We do not have to look hard to find very successful people who have failed, some of them many times before they found success. According to TIME magazine, failure is the key to success for women. But why do women fear failure? The Huffington Post suggests that when women experience failure, they try to hide rather than acknowledge it. This silence creates the myth that they are the only ones who have failed.

So what can we do to overcome this crippling fear of failure? There is some great advice on Mindtools which is well worth a read. Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck identified a certain way of thinking shared by people who embrace their mistakes in the pursuit of success: the growth mindset is resilient in the face of failure and sees it as necessary for learning and achievement. If you immediately berate yourself for a mistake, you’re probably stuck in a fixed mindset. Dweck’s website offers some powerful insights into changing your mindset, but the bottom line is this: to change your mind about failure, all you have to do is… change your mind. Stop beating yourself up. Successful people don’t see failure as catastrophic, they see it as a good data point to guide their next attempts.

It is worth bearing in mind that failing is not the end of the world,  indeed it’s just a beginning of one’s success. Look it as your strength and not as your weakness. Use it as your guide and inspiration in order to do more. The focus of our blog this week has been to provide tips and support to our female students leading up to the Women in Leadership Conference which is taking place tomorrow. We hope the blog has given some food for thought and thank you for reading it.

Is lack of confidence holding back women's careers?

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📥  Advice, Diversity, Tips & Hints

So, how confident do you feel about your work? Not very...! The Institution of Leadership & Management's research 'Ambition & Gender at Work' suggests that over 50% of women report feelings of self-doubt about their performance and careers. Time and time again research shows that  women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence.  According to the Huffington Post, confidence is what allows you to start acting and risking and failing, to stop mumbling and apologising and hesitating. With it you can take on the world; without it you remain stuck on the starting block of your own potential.

So how do you develop confidence?

  • Use empowering language: Aston Universities Vice Chancellor, Professor Dame Julia King  says  women tend to use more cautious, less aggressive/assertive language, and often apologise for what they are about to say  - ‘This isn't quite my subject area, but perhaps you might consider…’ ‘I am not sure this is exactly relevant, but…’ This can be interpreted as weakness and makes what women say easier to dismiss or ignore. My colleague Ghislaine Dell is delivering a workshop on  Confident Communication at the Women in Leadership Conference, tacking this very issue!
  • Banish Negative Self-Talk: It is amazing how self-talk can lead us in to or out of a situation. If you can, take time to visualise the discussion or event going well rather than thinking of the things that may go wrong.  Ask yourself, 'whats the worst that could happen?' - when you do this,  you get a clarity and a bit of fear vanishes.
  • Take a risk: Become comfortable with things that you don’t know, and turn your fear into an eagerness to learn new skills.
  • Celebrate your successes: The best confidence boost is to celebrate your successes and keep reminding yourself of it by writing them on post-it notes. Then have them displayed in an area that you can view each day e.g. kitchen, wardrobe, medicine cabinet etc.

Our blog this week will focus on providing tips and support to our female students, this is to support the Women in Leadership Conference that is being organised by the Student Union at Bath.

 

Mentoring to develop your leadership skills

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📥  Advice, Diversity, Networking

A survey by RSA, the executive search firm, looked at the UK life sciences industry and found that “women bring empathy and intuition to leadership” with nearly two-thirds of respondents (62 per cent) thinking that women contribute differently in the boardroom, compared to their male colleagues.  A similar proportion saw women as more empathetic, with a better insight into how decisions play out in the wider organisation and  when it came to communications and effective collaboration, “over half felt that women were better”. Studies show us that profitability improves when women take on positions of leadership in companies. So what tools can best help women move ahead?

Enter Mentoring!

A mentor can show you how to ramp up your skill-sets, network effectively and work around or eliminate your weaknesses. They can even open some very important doors to leadership positions. I found this article "What Makes a Good Business Mentor" -  Basically it summarises a mentor as someone you can trust and confide in. Someone who will give you good advice and constructive criticism. Someone who will fill the gaps in your knowledge.

So far so good, but how do you find a mentor?

  • Professional Bodies: to find a mentor in your industry contact the professional body within your field. Total Professions  provides a useful list.
  • Bath Alumni: Bath Connection links alumni with current students. You may want to consider reaching out to alumni ask for mentoring with interviews, job hunting or managing your career transitions.
  • Specialist Organisations: there are a number of organisations dedicated to connecting women with mentors, check out The Aspire Foundation, The Mentoring Foundation  and The Cherie Blair Foundation. Mentorsme has lots of useful resources too!

Finally, how do you make the most of mentoring?

  • Clear goals: before you enter a mentoring relationship, it is important to be clear about what you want and articulate your goals to your mentor. Come to meetings prepared and bring items to discuss (performance reviews, challenges at work or an interesting article you've read).  Don't expect your mentor to do all the work or spoon feed you.
  • Ask for feedback: Self-awareness is the first step in achieving any development or improvement goals. In addition to asking for feedback it is also important to be receptive to feedback.
  • Logistics: when you first meet your mentor clarify how often you'll meet, whether you can reach out to your mentor outside of the set meetings and how long you will meet for. Once you have established these boundaries, stick to them and don't take advantage.
  • Regular reviews: it is important to not only review your goals and the progress you are making as a result of the mentoring but also review your relationship with your mentor. Be prepared to recognise when the time comes and end your mentoring relationship constructively.

Our blog this week will focus on providing tips and support to our female students, this is to support the Women in Leadership Conference that is being organised by the Student Union at Bath.

How can women develop leadership skills?

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📥  Advice, Diversity

This Saturday, the University of Bath Students Union are hosting our first ever Women in Leadership Conference.  The careers team are thrilled to be part of this event and we will be delivering workshops and offering 1:1 careers support to the delegates. Our blog this week will focus on providing tips and support to our female students and we are kicking off our first blog by sharing our top tips on developing leadership skills.

leadership

 

  1. Understand yourself: Dee Hock, founder of the credit card giant Visa and the author of the 'Art of Chaordic Leadership puts it succinctly, "To lead others, you must first lead yourself. This comes from understanding yourself, your professional strengths and what motivates you". Within the Careers Service you can access online tools which will help you understand more about your personality. If you are attending the Women in Leadership Conference, do consider attending the workshop on Effective Leadership which will introduce ways to increase your self-awareness, and how you  might use this knowledge to develop your leadership skills.
  2. Build a network: Networking is no longer a dirty word.  It just means building relationships with colleagues with whom you have something in common—giving, as well as asking for, input and advice. Why not reach out to Bath alumni via Bath Connection or access sector specific groups such as the Women in Engineering Society.
  3. Cultivate and project confidence: One global study of male and female leadership found that most women tend to downplay their accomplishments, which it dubbed the “Female Humility Effect,” while men tend to promote their accomplishments, which it named the “Male Hubris Effect.” Successful women don’t leave career success to chance. They learn how to promote themselves like men do, and figure out a way to do it that’s authentic and effective. After all, if you don’t market yourself, who will?
  4. Learn to say NO: BUT…Have the courage to say yes when faced with a challenging, but career-advancing, opportunity.