How to Break through the Glass Ceiling at the Workplace

"How to Break through the Glass Ceiling at the Workplace" Woman Typing at Dark Wooden Desk Graphic

~by Lisa Pye~

Have you reached a point in your workplace beyond which you feel any further advancement is likely, no matter how qualified you are? This “point” is often termed the glass ceiling, and it’s not just some fantasy concept.

Unfortunately, it is very real. Although many women today are progressing and performing their best at high-level jobs that were hardly offered to them in the past, the glass ceiling still exits.

According to a study done by the Catalyst, women currently hold less than 5% (only 4.6%) CEO positions in S&P 500 companies. This is a very small percentage of women currently holding CEO positions. When it comes to holding leadership positions, less than 15% (only 14.2%) are held by women. According to CNN Money, this is probably because “stereotypes persist”.

Well, there is still a small percentage of women who do actually make it to the top. How were they able to shatter the glass ceiling?

Here are some ways you can try yourself:

1) Plan for Success

You have to actively and strategically plan for success before you even get close to achieving it. Instead of just sitting and waiting for opportunities to come to you, you are going to have to find, chase, and catch those opportunities yourself. Seek out training opportunities and events, serve on committees, and work on high-profile assignments. Make an effort to “get noticed”, and highlight those achievements whenever you have the chance.

2) Align Your Competencies with Top Management

Once you have a position in mind, set goals and objectives to climb up to that position. First of all, you need to equip yourself with all the necessary skills, qualifications, and levels of experience needed for the job. Let your boss know that you are interested in a higher position and get feedback on which skills you need to develop for it.

3) Study the Career Paths of Those Who Made it

Avoid looking into the career paths of “white males”. Instead, focus on how the people of the minorities, including women, managed to break the glass ceiling and climb up the corporate ladder. Find out which personality traits, qualifications, and past achievements might have made this possible. Think of ways you can replicate the process.

4) Seek Out Mentoring Relationships

Women sometimes shy away from advancement opportunities and situations where they could promote themselves. They fear they might be viewed as boastful or overly aggressive. Very often they mistake being vigorous in the workplace as being aggressive. The only way this viewpoint could be set straight is through direct feedback from senior mentors. Senior mentoring relationships, particularly with female executives, are very useful for breaking any stereotypes that may exist at the top and gaining job feedback. A mentor can also help you come up with ideas for professional development and growth.

5) Know Your Rights

Every employee belonging to any race, religion, gender, or ethnic group has rights. Crossing the line of bias, judgment, or stereotype very often leads to discrimination, which is completely unacceptable in any organization. Review company rules and policies based on discrimination and arm yourself with these given rights when and where necessary. Also study local laws and state laws related to labor and employment discrimination. Talk to your boss and address your concerns if you have to. If you know you are doing everything right, there is no reason to be afraid to stand up for what you deserve through fair and proper handling of the situation.


Meet the Author: Lisa Pye   

How to Break through the Glass Ceiling at the Workplace 1

Lisa Pye

Lisa loves to help students with their assignments, most often providing help to students at Coursework Labs. She loves to write blog posts, especially on careers and business strategies. Watching Game of Thrones is one of her hobbies. Circle her on Google+.
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