- creative problem solvers
- clear about priorities
- excellent delegators
- not perfectionists
- good at managing expectations – their own and those of others.
If you’re single, and a mother, it’s critical that you manage your time at work well. You must spend as much time on visibility and reputation building as you do on delivering.
* be seen, heard and noticed by key decision makers
* build a reputation as someone who is interested in the work, can think strategically, gets on with people at all levels and can deliver results.
* nurture your networks, and
* make sure others know that you are committed to your career and will deliver.
* Volunteer for corporate committees to increase your visibility across the organisation.
* Provide your supervisors with regular updates about work progress – a brief email or a casual verbal update is enough.
* Speak up at meetings – provide input and take initiative.
* If you miss a seminar or work event, schedule a time with a colleague who attended and ask them for a debrief. What were the key points, information or knowledge they learned?
* If you have to leave work early, leave a jacket over the back of your chair, so others pay less attention to the empty seat.
* Be clear and explicit about your work hours and ask for meetings to be scheduled when you can be there. If a meeting is scheduled later than you can stay, be polite but assertive: ‘I am unable to attend that meeting as I have other commitments at that time. Can it be rescheduled?’ If the answer is no, then ask what input would be useful from you before hand and schedule a time with a colleague to be debriefed about it the next day.
* Never apologise for the hours you keep – always use a matter of fact tone and set expectations about when you will or won’t be at work and whether you will be available on the phone.
* Make sure your supervisor knows about your career aspirations and ask for his/her input about experiences, training and skills you need to achieve them.
From a practical perspective, it may also be useful to contact the local universities to find a student who may be able to hang out with your child once a week or when you need to work back late. Finding some back-up child care will alleviate some of the pressure you may feel.
Remember, people will hear what you tell them and see what you show them. When you pay attention to what people see and hear, you can ameliorate the impact of any bias or false assumptions – and advance your career.