- Seek out both male and female mentors
The purpose of a mentoring relationship is to help an individual (mentee) grow their skills and knowledge, gain new perspectives on their life and career, and make better decisions. Mentoring relationships hold a lot of value, especially for women, since they serve as a crucial tool for women to decode organizational dynamics in pharmacovigilance jobs.
While women typically gravitate to female mentors, it is equally as important to seek out male mentors. Male mentors offer the unique benefit of giving you a deeper insight into the male perspective (which may complement or conflict with their own). Even more important, through your mentorship experience, you gain experience in developing an effective relationship with male leaders.
In most cases, women will opt for mentors who are like them (who they feel more comfortable around, and know will better understand them). However, what they forget is that growth often demands that you get out of your comfort zone. Having a mentor who is different from you (in terms of gender, business, function, and race) feels uncomfortable since it challenges your comfort and assumptions. However, this is the exact reason why women need mentors different from them to help them excel.
- Seek feedback directly from your boss
Studies have shown us that women don’t get the same quality of feedback as their male colleagues. While men are often given aspirational feedback that prepares them for future roles, women often get transactional feedback on completed performances. As a woman, it is vitally important that you know how to source feedback from your manager and key decision-makers by being very specific. For example, if you want to understand how you may be viewed for a senior position, you can ask your manager a specific question such as, “I am interested in the position of Director of Finance, as you review my skills and experience, what areas would be considered beneficial for that role and what areas should I focus on for my development?” This way, you will be able to get feedback that is more specific around your strengths and development areas than if you would have simply asked to get some feedback.
- Demonstrate how your input contributes the organization’s bottom line
Good performance in an organization is always expected of you. This only gets you in the game, as one of my mentors advises. Your next focus is to get noticed by key decision-makers. It is important to first evaluate (so that you can talk about) how your work input influences key business initiatives and objectives. Evaluate the organization’s two-year plan, determine how you can contribute, identify who needs to know, and show exactly how your work has contributed to the organization’s milestones.
- Broaden your network
Any great leader never stops learning. A broad and diverse network allows you to widen your perspective and thinking. This in turn helps you to be more creative and innovative. The broader your network is – from different functions, industries, races, etc., – the more successful you are likely to be. Learning and adopting what has already worked for your peers in terms of their success in career development helps you gain valuable insights that you can utilize in your own life.
- Don’t Fear to Ask!
It is a common belief among women that their work should speak for them. We’ve heard this time and time again from women in our programs. However, the downside to this line of thinking is that it is hard to know what exactly your work is saying. A lot of women are usually hesitant to talk about themselves and their career desires. However, it is important to keep in mind that leaders in organizations are constantly seeking out and evaluating the resources available to meet future organizational goals. Thus, this means that you may e missing out on a lot of opportunities to be considered when you are not sharing your career goals.