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Pivot Your Leadership Aspirations

For every article that talks about breaking through the glass ceiling, there are hundreds of real world examples where it has failed to happen. For no matter how ambitious you may be, how talented or creative, sometimes you reach a plateau, and once you are living and working on that plateau, it’s time to re-evaluate.

Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, Inc has some great tips about ways in which you can accelerate your career:

  1. Stop ignoring office politics
  2. Re-brand yourself
  3. Build a diversified network of sponsors
  4. Say “no” to stretch assignments
  5. Put yourself forward to be developed as a leader

There are some great suggestions in the article about how to go about doing this. It is well worth a read.

But if you have reached that plateau, just below the glass ceiling, there is little to no point railing against the situation. It’s time to pivot your leadership aspirations.

Don’t think like a leader, act like a leader

You can read all the books, articles and websites about leadership that you like. You can attend webinars and work with a personal coach, but no amount of thinking will turn you into a leader. Leadership is not a three part recipe to which you add water and a dose of chutzpah. The leader must act. You must act. And if the actions that you have taken thus far have led you to a dead end, it’s time to PIVOT.

Here’s what I mean:

  • Purpose: Don’t just be a boss, be a leader. This means uncovering and understanding your own sense of purpose. As a leader you will necessarily rub against the culture of your organization. This is part of your job – to share your vision and your purpose and to embed that within the DNA of your organization. Maybe you’re an average boss. Maybe you’re an extraordinary boss. But if you’re not creating a leadership culture, then you are sitting on that plateau for a reason
  • Influence: As a leader your influence carries weight inside and outside your organization. Use that influence well – be generous with your teams and with your customers. Treat people well and create opportunities for others that promote loyalty and excellence
  • Velocity: It is not enough to have momentum – a leader must have velocity. If you have reached a plateau, you have to quickly re-establish not only movement, but a sense of urgency. It is essential that you create programs that generate a sense of velocity around yourself and your team. Where you experience internal roadblocks, step outside the organization. Start a blog. Volunteer with a not-for-profit. Give back. Just don’t sit still.
  • Outperform: Leaders are measured by their performance – you must consistently exceed expectations of your stakeholders, peers and supporters. You must deliver on the promises you make and work to publicize the outcomes achieved, the people who contributed and the reasons why your success is important
  • Talent: I agree with leadership advisor, Mike Myatt – real leadership serves as a talent magnet. If people don’t WANT to work with you, if they don’t SEEK you out, then you’re not following the PIVOT approach.
Nina Nets It Out:  Even the greatest leaders hit flat spots from time to time. When our projects begin to sour, we often pivot the idea to find new markets or customers. The same applies to our own leadership ambitions. If you’re hitting the glass ceiling, perhaps it’s time for YOU to pivot.