When I was working in Federal law enforcement, I had the good fortune of working in the field of leadership.
I was given special leadership assignments in my local office in Newark, New Jersey, as well as mentoring new supervisors and delivering curriculum at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia and at the Leadership Development Center in Dallas, Texas.
And after opening my business 13+ years ago, I’ve been blessed to work with leaders all over the world who are committed to making a difference.
Over the past 4 years my business offerings have changed, and the number of women I’ve had as my clients has doubled.
Because my past career was a male-dominated field and the guys I worked with treated me like one of their own, it wasn’t until I began working side-by side with both men and women in corporate America that I noticed the significant differences between men and women when it comes to success mindset.
When you’re working hard and driven to succeed, you willingly take on challenging assignments and assume more responsibility.
The higher you climb – whether seeking a new opportunity, career move, or entrepreneurial venture – the more you need to be a master at the power of positioning.
The skills that got you to where you are can’t sustain you in future growth. And, with a limited number of hours a day to accomplish what you want, at some point you max out.
It’s at this point in a career arc that I receive calls from women who say, “I want to learn how to be a better leader.” Or, “My boss says I need to improve my leadership ability.” – and where I often notice the difference in mindset between men and women.
Many women who experience this feeling of “stuck-ness” often try to work harder and put in more hours to get what they want.
Too often, they keep doing more of what they’ve been doing and expect a different outcome.
My mentor will often say to me, “Don’t get better at being inefficient.” This always makes me smile as I see how I was working on doing more of what wasn’t working in the first place.
Many of the women I’ve worked with over the past several years do a great job of staying under the radar and staying quiet about their accomplishments.
They hope – or rather expectantly hope – that someone will notice their contributions.
They spend a lot of energy trying to please their co-workers, colleagues, and clients at the risk of compromising their own well-being.
This means they may work countless hours trying to make something perfect vs. taking imperfect action and moving forward.
At this crossroads, mastering the art of positioning becomes critical.
The actions you’ve taken that led to your current level of success and excellence can be the same ones holding you back.
At every moment, you’re either positioning or de-positioning your gifts, abilities, talents, and experiences.
As you rise through the ranks or are in business longer, your level of influence must grow so you are recognized as a leader worth following.
The best ways to grow your influence are through the art of connection and positioning.
While I’ve written articles about connection in the past, todays’ focus is on leadership presence through positioning.
When you speak, positioning becomes the marriage between your humanity and vulnerability with your expertise.
Speaking in this manner does not come naturally for most people, and they vacillate back and forth between what sounds arrogant or wishy-washy.
This form of self-sabotage keeps highly accomplished women (and men) missing out on bigger opportunities.
So, what can you do first to step into the art of positioning?
- Let go of any shame or
judgementaround where you are and where you feel you should be at this point in your career or business growth.
- Make a list of what you do well solely focusing on the action verb describing your skill.
- Engage with others regularly so you have a strong support network.
- Ask the people who value you most what they see.
- Write down one sentence that marries your humanity and expertise and
tryit out with your friends.
Be willing to be a leader worth following and make positioning a priority…
…because the world needs you and your brilliance.
The Upside Challenge of the week is to examine where you’re struggling to move forward and step into bigger opportunities. Take a good look at what may be holding you back. Do you need to spend time crafting strong positioning statements in order to be seen, heard, and recognized for your brilliance?
People follow the person first, then their great plan.
Be a leader worth following.
Remember, the world needs you and your brilliance.