One of my biggest joys in business and in life is to “give back” to young professionals by sharing the lessons I’ve learned throughout my own career in order to help them succeed in theirs. So when I was recently asked by Christopher Williams to participate in High Level Wisdom, his podcast series dedicated to providing millennials with the insights, stories and wisdom needed to become the next generation of CEOs and leaders, I jumped at the opportunity. During the podcast, I presented these five career advancement tips, which are especially geared toward female millennials:
- Be open to engaging seasoned professionals: Millennials may view older professionals as slow, stodgy and late to adopt new technologies. (But this isn’t always true – sometimes more experienced people merely focus on the technologies that are most relevant to their jobs or lives.) In any case, remember that older professionals were young once too, and many of them also believed (at the time) that older people presented obstacles to their progress. However, wisdom and influence go hand in hand with aging, and millennials who are open to learning from their older colleagues will often advance faster and farther in their careers.
- Get a mentor: When seasoned professionals serve in a mentorship role, you can benefit from learning from their experiences – including the mistakes they made. Not only can mentors provide guidance, but they can introduce you to others that can help accelerate your career growth. If you’re starting a business, a mentor can compress time to market, address growth challenges or help with benchmarking against other companies as you progress.
- Don’t be afraid to think small: I often hear young entrepreneurs talk about hitting it big and creating the next Tesla or Google. While this is an admirable if lofty goal, keep in mind that there are thousands of successful small businesses around the country that employ many satisfied professionals these days. It’s not necessarily about hitting the big time – it’s about defining your success and dedicating your time and effort to get there.
- Be seen and heard: To move up the proverbial ladder within their companies, one way millennial women can prove their leadership abilities is by taking on a project nobody else wants, providing an alternative idea, or solving a challenging business problem. I encourage women to be more vocal and present: to be a speaker at company meetings and a presenter at external events as well. By showing your knowledge and authority on a particular subject, you will be on your way to becoming an industry thought leader -- a trait shared by many successful, influential business executives.
- Leverage expert insights: There are several books that have been very helpful in my career, starting with “First, Break All The Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently” by Marcus Buckingham. This book not only talks about the common traits of great managers, but also describes the difference between management and leadership – which are two distinct concepts. The second book is “Out Front: How Women Can Become Engaging, Memorable and Fearless Speakers” by Deborah Shames. It describes how women can speak, present and own the room in front of their superiors. Lastly, “I’d Rather Be in Charge” by Charlotte Beers describes the author’s amazing rise through the advertising agency ranks and provides examples of some of the concepts mentioned above.
By seeking advice and learning from those who’ve been there before, millennials can gain high-level wisdom to achieve more success -- more quickly -- as they build and advance their careers.
What the best career advice you’ve ever received?
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