As a working woman, how often would you have asked yourself whether or not you deserve that coveted job with the corner office? Do you experience a nagging thought deep in your heart that maybe you can only achieve career success up to a certain point?
Apurva Purohit, president of the Jagran Group and author of “Lady, You’re The Boss”, outlines how one can avoid the prejudices and gender stereotypes that prevent you from rising through the ranks and achieving the pinnacle you rightly deserve.
Let go of the outdated woman
To start with, Apurva says that you must learn to let go of the inherent qualities most women are brought up with, which bring on a constant feeling of being intimidated by a largely male workforce. As the newer generation of women is demonstrating, it is important to voice your achievements loudly and be acknowledged for them. There is no longer the need to feel wanted and thus comply with every request that comes your way. Instead, it is more beneficial to let go of things that do not fit into your short or long-term goals.
Break stereotypes by calling them out
Interestingly, Apurva points out that at any given time the brain is bombarded with eleven million pieces of information of which it can process forty at best. To manage the rest without being overwhelmed and inundated, the brain creates patterns to help sort all this information. Forming stereotypes is only one such pattern and gives rise to bias, which is often subterranean and therefore difficult to challenge. The best way to deal with it is to recognize and call out these stereotypes to change the mindset.
Create your work tribe
There is no denying that the onus of managing the home still falls on women in most cases. However, it is important to prioritize your responsibilities and delegate as much as possible. Most women are not prepared for age-related changes such as menopause and mid-life crisis which, if not managed carefully, can create a lot of issues. It is important to read about them, understand them and prepare yourself for the impending cycle of changes ahead. It is helpful if you can rope in an effective network of people to help you. Create a community of like-minded women to share your problems, uplift each other and grow together. Become mentors and role models for younger women.
Consistency is the key
Most importantly, it is imperative that you demonstrate a consistent commitment to your work. Apurva charts out a map to do this by being curious, asking questions, making difficult decisions rather than avoiding them, strategizing and implementing with equal precision, measuring and monitoring results objectively and within all these creating winning teams that are cross-functionally trained and cohesive. The author also brings to the fore how simple parenting tricks – even though they tend to slot women in a motherhood role - can be applied to your work environment. Tough love, nurturing and effective communication are some valuable, though often overlooked, methods.
Repeat to yourself that "you're the boss"
Through this book, Apurva helps you acknowledge and celebrate your achievements as well as identify the restrictions you have imposed on yourself which are holding you back. Broken into short, easy to read chapters, each topic is demonstrated with real-world examples making it easy to focus on your specific areas of weakness.
As one of the quotes in the book by Lao Tzu points out, “For all things difficult to acquire, the intelligent one works with perseverance.”
It is important to voice your achievements loudly and be acknowledged for them.