Boss Lady

6 key tips for business and career women to climb to the top


There are a lot of things we learn along our path to success. Here are the best tips and advice I’ve been given over the years.

Use scarcity to your advantage

In many industries women are still in the minority, women from culturally diverse backgrounds certainly are. Use this scarcity to your advantage. You will stand out in a room full of men, however once you have been noticed, ensure that your performance also stands out. Whether we like it or not we are held to a different set of standards to men, so be prepared to work harder, promote yourself and deliver outstanding results.

Work life balance is about ebbs and flows

There is so much rhetoric about the concept of having it all, that perfection we supposedly chase that is not real at all. Part of having it all is about the perfect work life balance. However the reality is that the perfect work life balance comes in ebbs and flows. Balance starts at home with your family and your partner and then flows into the workplace. Some days one will be more demanding than the other and most importantly ensure that you are happy with the balance you have.

Be your authentic self 

People connect with you when they know you are brining all of yourself to the table. This is one of the hardest things for women to do as we fear that we will be judged or labelled. What I have learnt is that the connection you build with your stakeholders underpinned by bringing your authentic self to the relationship is strong. Be ok to show emotion, to be honest, to let people know how you feel, share your joy, your fears, your family. The humanity in all of us is what people connect to.

Delegate effectively

You are only as good as your team, so if you delegate wisely and effectively you will get the job done timely and stress free. Your staff will also benefit from you assigning tasks to the correct people as it will strengthen aspects of the team while also building a trusting environment. After delegating the tasks make yourself available to discuss and hear opinions and feedback as your staff may need assistance. Good communication is imperative to a successful business, internally but also externally. You also need to know that your business will go on if you are not there, and trusting your team is an important key in this. 

Have no fear

We are working in a time of greatest change, and what holds business and leaders back is often the fear of making decisions. Women hold themselves back as we quiet often fear what the outcome will be because we focus on “whats the worse that can happen”. Instead focus on what the “best outcome” can be and remember even if the worst does happen, what a fabulous learning opportunity you have just had. 

Know your strengths and weakness

To grow your career, you need to very self-aware of the strengths you bring to the business, where you do your best work. However more importantly be aware of your weaknesses and work on them, put in place mentors and coaches, step outside your comfort zone and as you tackle these issues you will be amazed at what you learn along the way.



You do not always have to have your armour on, sometimes it’s okay to be vulnerable.

As a female leader in a male dominated industry it is much easier to have my “shoulder pads on” than to be vulnerable, because they provide you with a level of armour. By allowing myself to be most vulnerable and authentic, you can forge respect and connection across the team that over time will only get stronger.

The fear most of us have when we are vulnerable is that people will see us as weak, that it is going to make us feel uncomfortable. However, it is perhaps the most accurate measure of courage you can have. We are most vulnerable when things are going wrong, when we feel helpless or we have major challenges to overcome.

Take on feedback.

While you don’t have a boss yourself, sometimes you will make mistakes or decisions that other’s will not agree with. If your team or a client has feedback, it is important to take it on whether it is positive or negative. Bettering yourself will better your business, and being open and transparent is important. As feedback isn’t a sign of failure, it’s a chance to do something better. Instead of seeing it as a negative, use it as an opportunity to turn it into something worthwhile and great. A good leader should view feedback as a useful resource to improve in the future and move up in your career. 

Have a passion for what you do.

You have curated a business of people that all have the same passion as you do – this has potential to be amazing. Your workplace will work harder, faster and stronger if they see how passionate you are in your role. Remember why you started, why you love what you do but have passion for people inside your office as well.

About Sadhana Smiles

Sadhana Smiles is CEO Harcourts Victoria, Winner of Leader/Manager of the Year at the 2017 Australian Leadership Excellence Awards, Founder of Links Fiji, 2013 Victorian Telstra Businesswoman of the Year, 2016 AFR 100 Women of Influence, author, public speaker and mother of two.

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