30 Sep, 2020: How to excel at performance reviews and interviews
Throughout your career, you are bound to find yourself in performance reviews and job interviews.
Performance reviews can be a great tool for career development and to facilitate employee engagement. However, as a woman, you may find that you are receiving vague feedback that makes it impossible to distil what to work on. Women are more likely to receive feedback like:
“You had a good year.” or “People like working with you.”
Great to hear, but it does not really help you grow. How do you prepare and navigate performance reviews in order to get the most out of it?
Then you may find yourself shortlisted for your dream position. How do you go about preparing to ace the interview? When you receive the joboffer - do you accept it or negotiate a better offer you deserve?
This month we heard from two speakers who provided practical advice to navigate performance reviews and the interview process.
20 August 2020: How to lead authentically in a male-dominated space
Humans excel at mimicking to fit in. Finding a leadership style is no different. It is easy to adopt management styles from your previous managers - however, if all examples are from male leaders, it may be a challenge to find your own authentic style.
This session began with Yolanda Mabuto’s inspiring story as a woman in leadership and she shared key tips from her experience. Dr Johann Oostenbrink tested the audience to figure out how people respond in unjust situations and also provided a framework for understanding that it is important to shift from an anxiety or problem-based outlook to an outcomes-based outlook.
Watch the webinar for great tips and to also see the questions raised by attendees about criticism, the evolution of one’s leadership style and gender-stereotypes.
29 July, 2020: #2 - Are we striving for balance or harmony? How to find harmony as career loving parents
This is the second session of a two-part Work-Life Balance series by Melany Green. Melany focused on how and why a “harmony” perspective instead of a “balance” approach is more effective in one’s career. If you’re a parent, thinking about it, or trying to find balance between work and your relationships – this is worth a listen.
This mine of information covers for example work in relation to parenthood; change as a form of grief; dual-career couples and; managing energy instead of time to name a few. Melany also addressed how unhelpful it is to base our lives on the unrealistic strife for perfection as mother, employee or partner. We recommend that you listen to the session for some helpful questions to ask yourself for the benefit of your relationship and parenthood in terms of roles, expectations and values for example.
We really enjoyed the idea of “managing your energy instead of your time” from Melany’s talk. Here are some of the practical tips she shared to conserve and replenish your energy:
Use your network and ask for help
Stop comparing yourself to others
Manage your boundaries ruthlessly
Fill your tank
Watch the recording and identify for yourself things to stop, start or continue in managing your work-life balance.
Resources from the webinar:
The Mental Load: A Feminist Comic by Emma
Couples That Work: How Dual-Career Couples Can Thrive in Love and Work by Jennifer Petriglieri
28 July, 2020: #1 - The six stages of the female career
Work-Life Harmony Series
This webinar was an interactive session jam-packed with valuable insights relevant across all genders, ages and career phases. A recording of this session is available upon request.
This is the first session of the work-life harmony series where Melany Green took us through:
(i) the latest global statistics of women in leadership roles, STEM* careers and work in general;
(ii) the challenges that women face in their careers;
(iii) the six stages of the female career and;
(iv) practical tips for the female career in a post-Covid world.
It is not all bleak and the manner in which women-led countries have managed the Covid pandemic is an example of this. One of our favourite statements made by Melany about the women leaders of our age is that, ”The idea of strength as a leader, and the idea of empathy and being decisive can live in the same body.” It is also clear from the stats that we still have a long way to go (if you listen to the webinar you’ll realise why the “we” in that statement should include men as our allies).
Here are some stark realities that Melany shared with us:
Although there have been leaps for women in work and leadership positions throughout history, it’s sadly not surprising that the stats take a plunge in management and upper management leadership positions.
According to the World Energy Forum (2019), women in STEM in South Africa only make up 23% of the population.
70% of women with engineering degrees in South Africa leave the sector according to an article by Anja van den Berg (2019).
What boggles the mind even more is that there is already research showing the economic benefits of diversity within organisations. A BBC News article dated 27 July 2020 reported based on a study called Women Count 2020 that London-listed companies with a 30% minimum of women in executive roles showed up to 15.7% higher net profit. There are probably a number of complex factors related to this increase but the point is that having more women in decision-making roles doesn’t just leave us feeling good, it makes economic sense. So the burning question that we were encouraged to think about throughout this webinar session was, “What is the problem and what do we have to do?”
Here are some of the main complex challenges that women face as highlighted by Melany (in no particular order): • Social/cultural pressures • Domestic overload • Lack of real role models • Self-limiting beliefs • Lack of sponsors • Unconscious bias
Watch the webinar to see the survey of the most prevalent challenges according to our attendees. This session covered such a great detail of helpful information, that it could be summarized in a chapter. Our best advice is to watch the webinar.
In conclusion, here are our 3 favourite takeaways:
There are typically three main focus areas for a person’s career, namely challenge, authenticity and balance.
There are also clear differences in the way that men and women approach their career trajectories, women tend to follow a Kaleidoscope Career Model and not the traditional linear path. This means that a woman will typically never have a singular focus at any one point of her career.
The journey of your career is as long as you would like for it to last (clearly evident from the 6 phases of the career).
If you would like to look up some of the references from Melany’s webinar, here they are:
McKinsey & Company, 2019, Women in the Workplace
Sheryl Sandberg, 2010, Why we have too few women leaders (TEDWomen)
World Economic Forum, 2019, Global Gender Gap Report 2020
Anja van den Berg, 2019, Why do 70% of women with engineering degrees leave the sector?, Published by Solidarity, 14 January
BBC News, 2020, Firms with more female executives 'perform better', Published by BBC News Business, 27 July
Mainiero and Sullivan, 2006, The Kaleidoscope Career Model
Amy Cuddy, 2012, Your body language may shape who you are (TEDGlobal)
*STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math
Forum focusing on networking, opportunities for women in renewable energy space
'...considering that the installed capacity of utility-scale wind and solar energy will increase from 3.4 GW to 26 GW by 2030, according to the Integrated Resource Plan of 2019, De Bruyn notes that the successful roll-out of this “requires a diverse workforce”.'