Saturday June 14 2014

Six ways you could be hindering your success

By Joseph Ssemutooke

Yes, a woman’s career advancement has always been faced with an entire army of gender-specific hurdles, erected by a male-dominated world over the centuries. So, as an ambitious woman targeting the top of the professional ladder, you are right to have always been intent on jumping those hurdles.

But while at it, have you also thought of the possibility that as an individual woman, you could be personally hindering your career advancement?
It sure happens, and here are the ways in which you could be personally doing the harm to yourself.

Your ambitions are lowly
Martha Namukwaya, the human resources manager of Elite Technologies and who has 12 years’ experience managing labour, says she has always found low aspirations to be the commonest obstacle women keep before their own careers.

She explains: “For centuries, girls have been raised to believe that the woman’s place in society is at the bottom. So, when they become career women in the professional world, they shy away from (or even simply turn out incapable of) having big ambitions or aspirations. It is important to self-diagnose and start aiming high in case you have always not.”

You are timid
Namukwaya says like the previous hurdle, this is also largely a result of the socio-cultural setup of our society, and she calls for a serious self-diagnosis regarding it.

She says: “Because our culture generally grooms women to be quiet and submissive all the time, while encouraging the men to dominate and subjugate us, we grow up convinced that our place is the bottom. Consequently when in employment, we fear to seek better opportunities and terms, we fear to compete, we leave our bosses doubting our ability to authoritatively command and lead in big positions.”

You are simple-minded
Ivan Muwonge, a human resources consultant and lecturer at Makerere University Business School, says your obstacle could also be your own “simple-mindedness”.

Talking of it as a common folly of women, he explains “simple-mindedness” as “a tendency to lack interest in life‘s serious issues (such as government business and economic policy) rather giving attention to trivial matters like showbiz gossip and fashion trends.”

He says as a woman at the workplace, you need to show that you think beyond trivialities, for employers tend to promote broad and serious minds for efficient planning, analysis, and innovation.

You give your employer insufficient time
Another human resource manager, Rita Zawedde, says you need to check how much time you give to your employer, and if it is little, increase on it.
“Employers will always prioritise those who give their all to the company,” she says, ‘and working your full schedule is the way to demonstrate that, while working only part of it shows lack of commitment. You shouldn’t let your work time be eaten into by family obligations, leisure activities, religious programmes and the like.”

You let personal problems affect your productivity
Zawedde further says if you are letting personal problems bear on you while at work, you need to keep them out to progress in your career.
It could be marriage stress making you emotionally unstable, or problems with your children making you a hostile teacher, or the search for a potential spouse making you spend all your time on social media…whatever it is, learn to close it out during work hours.

You are stuck in one career/workplace
“You could also be staying too long at your current employer’s without realising career advancement, and you need to move on to progress,” adds Namukwaya.

“As women we tend to fear moving out of the terrible we know to search for better,” she explains, “but as a woman aiming for the top you should know when there is no favour for advancement, no more room at the top, no chance commanding a better salary– and then summon the guts to look elsewhere.”

You are too impatient with employers
If you are the kind who does not lack the propensity for seeking better opportunities, Ivan Muwonge, a human resources consultant, warns that you could be one who has too much of it and who therefore needs to check it. He says: “If you are always jumping from job to job, and especially when you are merely changing workplaces while keeping to the same rank, first pause. Instead of hopping about, rather identify one place where you can rise, then dedicate your time and efforts there.”