FIVE PIECES OF ADVICE TO SMASH YOUR OWN GLASS CEILING

(1) BELIEVE IN YOUR ABILITY
When I look back on my early career, I didn’t seek out new opportunities – in fact I really lacked confidence in my ability and I have found throughout my career that this is something that women often do – they often lack confidence in their own ability. When I feel like that I have turned to women’s networks and other networks of similar-minded people to get inspiration and courage. It’s fantastic to share your experiences with others and build con2fidence together. And remember to focus on what you’re good at, not dwell on aspects that you want to improve.

(2) P.I.E.
Perhaps some of you are familiar with the PIE model – I totally buy into it. PIE stands for Performance, Image and Exposure. These are the 3 elements that are essential for your career development. In other words, we know that to progress we must “Perform” – you have to be good at what you do and deliver results. There’s no getting away from that. But there’s also the “Image” element – how others perceive you, your brand, how do you come across teams come about through embracing in business situations. We often don’t fully understand how others perceive us so go ahead and ask people. Don’t be afraid to learn some truths – some will be positive and some negative but all of them will be worth learning about and perhaps doing something about. The final letter – E – is the exposure piece which is equally important f3or your career progression – getting exposure to the right people and the right situations in the organisation, and in the wider sector.

(3) EMBRACE DIFFERENCES
I’m lucky enough to have worked in several different cultures during my career. What is very important to being a good leader is to always try to understand where the other person is coming from. Try to understand how another person who is not like you wants to be treated. Never assume that what works for you will work for the other person too. Research shows that diverse teams are the most innovative (very important in this rapidly changing world) and they are the most successful at moving into new markets. So remember that fantastic, amazing teams come about through embracing differences.

(4) REVERSE MENTORING
Reverse mentoring is certainly one of my best professional #lifehacks. So often, we think we have to look to more experienced people to be our mentors. Having someone who is starting out on their career, 5giving you their views on how to succeed, is enlightening and enriching. It keeps you in touch with what the younger generation are looking for in the workplace and gives a better understanding of how to work in a multi-generational workplace.

(5) PRIORITISE YOURSELF
Looking out for yourself and putting yourself first is not a strong female trait. We often put others before ourselves – we have a natural nurturing instinct for others. I encourage you to be true to your self, be an individual, have the courage to speak out, make sure you look after number 1 – yourself – and above all, enjoy being a woman and looking on at the broken glass ceiling!

INGA BEALE…

…is the former CEO of Lloyd’s of London. She stepped down as CEO in June 2018. Before that, she headed Swiss insurer Converium and was Global Chief Underwriting Officer at Zurich Insurance Group. Inga was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2017 New Year’s Honours for services to the economy. She is also a speaker and role model for driving the inclusion agenda.

Text: Inga Beale    Photo: MARCUS JAMIESON-POND