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Phoenix Forward

7 ways to break through the glass ceiling

How women can get ahead

It’s time to stop believing the myth that females in business, including those with MBAs, don’t apply the same career strategies as their male counterparts when climbing the corporate ladder. According to a recent Catalyst study, women do proactively negotiate salaries, prioritize family obligations and calculate career advancements just like their male coworkers. Unfortunately, the study finds that because of gender inequality in the workplace those same strategies don’t prove as effective for women as they do for men.

But women should not despair, says Dr. Dulcelina A. Stahl, PhD, campus college chair for the University of Phoenix School of Business at the Chicago Campus. According to Stahl, a former executive and corporate business leader, women need to layer their advancement strategies with other ambitious tactics. “You must market yourself,” Stahl says, “and this kind of marketing entails several other strategies.” Here, her best advice for working women.

1. Step up.
Women can increase their status by volunteering their talents to senior management for upcoming projects. “Upper-level management will recognize you are in tune with the goals, objectives and mission of the organization and, somewhere down the line, they might look to how they can develop you,” says Stahl.

2. Join the club.
Stahl says she spent four months at one job regularly attending happy hour with her male counterparts even though she doesn’t drink beer. The move proved helpful because she gained acceptance in addition to learning the male language that helped her better communicate in the workplace. “Men have a different way of talking than women,” she says. “They are less emotional.”

3. Keep your compassion in check.
Males tend to make more objective business decisions while women lean toward compassion, further observes Stahl. “If a women wants to climb up the ladder of success, don’t lose the compassion, but don’t let it negatively influence your decision making.”

4. Remember to network outside of your team.
People tend to “departmentalize” their network. You eat lunch together, work together and take coffee breaks together. “This is the wrong strategy to move up,” says Stahl. “Let people outside your department know that you’re the top choice by marketing your talents so that when an opportunity comes up, they may recommend you.”

5. Make your achievements known.
Women can prove their dependability by tactfully presenting their bosses with their monthly accomplishments. “It’s not being annoying,” assures Stahl. “What the boss will realize is you are reliable  … so when the opportunity that presents a more challenging leadership role arises, he or she will feel comfortable promoting you.”

6. Create a list of your strengths.
Women should assess their core competencies, so that they have a clear picture of where their value lies for both their current employer and future ones. “Moving up the ladder for women means selling their bosses on their worth,” Stahl explains.

7. Know how to sell yourself.
Once you have determined what you have to offer, seek out companies that value those skills — and women in leadership roles, Stahl says. “There has to be a commitment from the top of the organization.”