How do you break a leadership barrier? As a single person, how do you change biased processes and attitudes?
If you’re looking for a simple answer, you won’t find it here.
Some leadership barriers take generations and social and political movements to overcome or at least mitigate. Consider the work of the civil rights movement. The civil rights movement put legal protections in place for minority workers. It was a huge step forward in changing hiring and promotion processes. However, it was only a first step – many of the biases still exist. Over the past few decades, we’ve seen improvements in equality but it is a long journey.
So if you don’t want to wait for decades, what can you do? Here are some thoughts:
- Be aware of the leadership barriers facing you
- Evaluate your situation
- Determine whether or not you can overcome the leadership barriers in your company
- Don’t dwell on protesting the injustice. If you want to build your career, the workplace is not the right place to dramatically challenge the system.
- Become more than the stereotype(s)
- Focus on your own career
- Use organizational savvy to build relationships
- Stand up for yourself in a respectful manner
- Seek leadership opportunities
- Do a great job. Outstanding work overcomes many barriers and gets you noticed in a positive way.
Four steps of the Self-Driven Leadership Development process
- Own your future
- Break down barriers
- Learn critical leadership skills
- Apply your skills to your work
Leadership Barriers model: