There are three crucial components to elevating your career:
- Having professional and business savvy
- Ensuring accountability, support, and opportunity
- Creating clear goals and an actionable strategy
While some strategies are more general and apply to successful development for any leader, such as building your network or having a mentor, there are nuances to being a Black Woman that many leadership programs do not highlight, and they are rarely taught or shared professionally. Ensuring you are intentionally addressing all three keys better positions you for advancement.
1. Savvy – you must have the business and professional savvy to position yourself for advancement. This means:
- Being technically competent and knowing your organization, profession, industry, and stakeholders.
- Knowing yourself – your strengths and weaknesses, your values, and your personality’s impact on others.
- Having strong interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence to interact with diverse people is essential.
- Understanding your company’s culture and how to navigate it to be successful.
2. Support – although the bulk of the responsibility of developing rests on you, no one succeeds alone. You must also have a sound support system that includes colleagues, mentors, sponsors, coaches, friends, and family. And this support system should not only be available to cheer you on but also hold you accountable so you can be your best.
3. Strategy – to achieve any goal, it’s essential to have a plan. Wanting to be a leader, buying a car, or losing weight, for example, are all great aspirations; however, they’re not specific and are not rooted in an actionable strategic plan. To develop and advance, you must first be clear about what you want and then write a plan to help you get there.
These three factors are primarily within your control. You can develop savvy, you can find support, and you can put together a strategy. However, receiving a career opportunity is partially outside of your control.
While you can create some opportunities (entrepreneurs do this by starting businesses), others are contingent on others’ decisions. If you can be clear on what circumstances are within and outside your control, you can make better decisions about where to put your energy and efforts