In my first month on the job I was asked to step up as the Reliability Manager. The first thing that was said from another male manager was 'She is not good enough, she cannot do that job'. After the longest minute of silence my manager said 'She is good enough and she will prove you all wrong'. I am a very confident young women who always stands up for herself - but in that moment I chose not too. For many reasons, one of them being maybe he was right? Maybe someone with more experience should be allowed the opportunity - not the new kid on the block. It had me questioning all my skills and experience to the point I thought I had made a mistake in taking this job.
I changed my mindset and decided to look at this as a learning opportunity, a challenge. The next month flew by and I held my own in being able to manage both the maintenance planners and engineers on site. If I didn't have the answer I could find someone who did. We saw productivity increase and the engineers felt motivated in the work they do. I encouraged them and supported them as human beings not just as engineers - prioritising mental health and creating a safe work place culture.
Those first few months were the hardest, but I earned the respect of the other managers and in turn, acceptance into the boys club.
Key learnings from this session:
- You don't have to be the smartest person in the room - its about communication. Successful leaders don't believe they have all the answers, they surround themselves with smart people and seek their input.
- You are never to young to be a leader. Are you as a business developing global leaders? This next level leadership includes global strategic thinking, intellectual curiosity and strong self-awareness. Cultural intelligence is also critical to a global leader’s success.
- The generational gap - the great resignation. Baby boomers have to accept that the younger workforce do things differently to how it would have been done back in the day. For the first time we see multiple generations working in the same workforce. A young generation who prioritise mental health and well being before work and strive for a better work life balance.