I echo the resounding voice of Maya Hu-Chan by saying that the “glass ceiling” still exists. It existed long before the Age of Google. This concept was originally introduced by Katherine Lawrence and Marianne Schreiber of Hewlett Packard in July 1979. Later on in the 90’s, Lynne Morley Martin, well known for the establishment of a Glass Ceiling Commission, defined this term as “those artificial barriers based on attitudinal or organizational bias that prevent qualified individuals from advancing upward in their organization into management-level positions.” Without the insightful contributions of our wonderful predecessors, in actively promoting awareness and creating initiatives to counter the undermining social stigma that hinders productivity, any millennial of today regardless of race, ethnicity or gender, would not have the privilege of enjoying a widely supportive niche of empowerment.
We can all learn that one’s success should not be undermined by attitudinal or organizational bias, and more importantly we can all choose to rise above it by recognizing that the required changes will involve personal re-evaluations.
Alan C. Fox, author of People Tools for Business, points out that while it is important to remain aware of the glass ceiling, we should also start thinking about the “glass staircase.” He introduces a refreshing and encouraging approach that empowers one to succeed. Fox says that there are five stairs to the top: 1) Confidence; 2) Home; 3) Education; 4) Assertiveness; and 5) Passion. Each step is significantly related to our identities and adds value to a person. Not only are these embedded in our core beliefs, but these five stairs redefine our way of thinking.
Alternatively, you can have a fabulous mentor. Sherry Strothers, famously known as The Lipstick Leader, is an amazing training and development consultant whom I recently discovered through CNN iReport in an article written by the #brethdavid duo. There is nothing more incredible than a powerful woman to mentor other women to prepare them for the realities of corporate life. She has 25 years of leadership development experience and she is one of 30 international coaches selected to co-author: “How to Break the Glass Ceiling without a Hammer – Career Strategies for Women.”
“Mind Tools – Essential Tools For An Excellent Career” is also an excellent source of information for breaking the glass ceiling. This article encourages us to evaluate the key competencies within the organization. These are “the common skills and attributes of the people in your company’s upper levels.” The article states that understanding what sets the leaders apart from the rest, will help you position yourself in a leadership role. It also talks about important factors such as setting objectives to align your competencies with top management, building network, building your reputation and knowing your rights.
Hopefully, the three sources above helped. I’ve certainly learned that the glass ceiling is not the limit.