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Break Your Glass Ceiling

Break Your Glass Ceiling

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Published by Dheeraj

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Published by: Dheeraj on Jan 29, 2009
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Mind Tools Newsletter 89 – December 11th, 2007
This newsletter is published by Mind Tools Ltd of 126 Arthur Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 8AA, United Kingdom.You have received this email because you have confirmed that you want to receive it using our confirmed subscriptionprocess. To unsubscribe, just click the link at the bottom of this email.
Welcome to our December 11th Newsletter!
Have you ever been in that situation where, try asyou might, you can't get through to the next level inyour career? Perhaps you're suffering that frustrationright now?Hitting that 'glass ceiling' can happen to anyone. Andif it's happening to 'people like you' in your organization, you'll know it's not just the preserve of women or certain minority groups - for whom thephrase was originally conceived.It can certainly happen to anyone, for a host of reasons. So what can you do about it?
In This Newsletter ...
This week's featured article, Breaking Your Glass Ceiling,helps you address the issue in a very practical way. And Career Excellence Club Facilitator, Dianna Podmoroff asks newsletter readers to share their experience of facing this very difficult challenge.What else is new at the Mind Tools site? We tackle the rarely discussed issue of workplace jealousy. Would breaking through that glass ceiling make you the envy of your colleagues?Perhaps it would – and envy in that sense might be a fairly harmless reaction.But what happens when envy runs deeper, and turns into the proverbial green-eyed monster?Envy can then become a powerful, negative emotion, and a disruptive force in the workplace.It's a difficult issue, and rarely tackled head on, and that's why our other article this weeklooks atEnvy: The Green-Eyed Monster . You can read the article in full at by clicking here. We also have a round up of news from the Mind Tools Career Excellence Club. And, as the holiday season is getting into full swing, we have a quick reminder of our Gift Subscriptions for Club membership – a great gift for a career-minded friend or family member, or from themto you!Enjoy the newsletter!
 James & Rachel 
James Manktelow and Rachel ThompsonMindTools.comMind Tools – Essential skills for an excellent career!
To find out about new tools on the Mind Tools site the moment they’re uploaded, clickhere to subscribe to the Mind Tools RSS feed (you'll need an RSS newsreader installed), or here to find out more about RSS.
Editors' Choice Article:
Breaking Your Glass Ceiling
Reaching for the Top with Everyday Tools
Do you feel that you've gone as far as you can with your current employer? Despite knowingthat you have much more potential, is there a limit to where "people like you" can go in your organization?If so, you've hit what's known as the "glass ceiling." This is the point at which you can clearlysee the next level of promotion – yet, despite your best effort, an invisible barrier seems tostop you from proceeding.Traditionally, the glass ceiling was a concept applied to women and some minorities. It wasvery hard, if not impossible, for them to reach upper management positions. No matter howqualified or experienced, they simply were not given opportunities to further advance their careers.Today, there are many more women and minorities in powerful positions. However, the glassceiling is still very real. And it's not always limited to gender or race.Have you been pushed up against a glass ceiling? This can happen for many differentreasons. Are you too much the champion of change? Do you have difficulty communicatingyour ideas? Are you quieter and less outgoing than the people who get promotions?Whatever the reason, you have a choice. You can accept your situation and be happy withlooking up and not being able to touch what you see… or you can smash the glass withpurpose and determination.If you do, indeed, want to break through that glass, here are some steps to take.
Identify the Key Competencies within Your Organization
Key competencies are the common skills and attributes of the people in your company'supper levels. These skills are often tied closely to the organization's culture and vision.Companies that value innovation and strive to be leaders will probably promote individualswho are outgoing, risk takers, and not afraid to "tell it like it is." However, if you work for aconservative company (such as a publicly-owned utility) chances are that top managementare analytical thinkers, with a reputation for avoiding risk and making careful decisions.Ask yourself these questions:
What are the values of your organization?
What behaviors does your company value and reward?
What type of person is promoted?Understand what sets your company and its leaders apart. This is the first step towarddiscovering how to position yourself for a top leadership role.
To further clarify these ideas, readCore Competence Analysis andDeal and Kennedy's Cultural Model.Two universal competencies for top management are effective leadership and effectivecommunication. Each of these is complex.
Read everything you can about leadership styles, skills, and attributes. Mind Tools has
a useful collection of articles onLeadership Skills. You may also want to consider taking the Mind ToolsHow to Leadcourse.
Communication skills will help you, regardless of the level you want to reach in your career. Start with theintroduction to communication skills,and learn to use as many of  these tools as possible.
Set Objectives to Align Your Competencies with Top Management
Once you know your target, set goals to get there. You're responsible for determining your own career direction. Be proactive and go after what you want, because it probably won't behanded to you.Do the following:
Let your boss know that you want to work toward a higher-level position.
Ask your boss what skill areas you need to develop.
Work together with your boss to set goals and objectives, then monitor and measureyour performance.
Remember to concentrate on areas of performance that you can improve. Don't set a goal toachieve a certain position by a certain time: This can be discouraging if it doesn't happen. For example, set a goal to consistently demonstrate assertive and clear communication. If you achieve that goal, no matter what job title you have, you've succeeded! See Personal Goal Setting for more ideas on how to define motivating goals.
Build Your Network
You should also build relationships with other people in your organization. You never knowwho may be in a position to help you or provide you with valuable information.It's important to network in all areas and levels of your company. Many people tend to thinkit's best to make friends at the top. However, to be effective and actually make it to the top,you'll need the support of colleagues at other levels as well.Try these tips:
Reach out to new people on a regular basis.
Get involved with cross-functional teams.
Expand your professional network outside of your organization. If you can't break theglass ceiling in your company, you may have to look elsewhere for opportunities.Read more aboutProfessional Networking.
Use the climate in your organization to your advantage. While "politicking" is often seen asnegative, you can help your career by understanding and using the political networks in your company. SeeDealing with Office Politics.
Find a Mentor 
Having a mentor is a powerful way to break through the glass ceiling. The barriers that youface have likely been there for a long time. Past practices, biases and stereotypes, and oldideas are often long established at the top of many organizations.Is upper management reluctant to work with certain types of individuals? Do they exclude

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