RIDE WITH MAGNUS-The skills you need to break through in your career
There are skills you can use to elevate your career despite the existing social barriers in your way.
1. Turn negative stereotypes into positive strengths
It is important to not let negative connotations hold you back.
Tanya Hosch, Executive General Manager of Inclusion and Social Policy at AFL says this can mean recognising attributes that have typically been seen as weaknesses, as strengths.
“I’ve realised that one of my greatest qualities is being stubborn,” she says. “Stubbornness is often framed as a negative trait, but for me stubbornness has really helped me to sit through the discomfort and move through to the other side, believing that if you keep working at it, something will change.”
2. Recognise and respect reciprocity
Knowing how to share power equally is not only advantageous when you have it, but on your way to the top, too.
This can be done by practicing reciprocity throughout your career.
“One of the great cultural traits of Indigenous people, and a lot of different cultural groups, is the concept of reciprocity,” Hosch says. “In my role at the AFL, for any change to occur it requires people to back my leadership, to listen to my advice, and to act on it.
If I want people to be open to that, I need to be able to collectively work together with them. Whether it’s to run a community, a house, or a business – reciprocity is really important.”
3. Know when to lean on others
As Hosch explains, having people in your life that you trust, including mentors, gives you more opportunities to keep growing.
“I’ve had mentors my entire career, some more formal than others, and I think that’s invaluable,” she says. “In all the times I’ve reached out to people and said, ‘I need some help’, I can count on my hand the number of times someone has said no. It’s amazing how generous people are.”
4. Work on your listening skills
Even if you think you’ve got listening skills nailed, as Hosch says, “we can all benefit from continuing to work on our listening skills.” That’s both because it’s such an invaluable asset, and because it can sometimes be the first thing to go when under pressure.
“When there’s so many competing demands in the workplace, listening is something that goes out the window,” Hosch says. “Listening is one of those things that we take for granted, but some of the best people I’ve worked with are just great listeners.”
5. Know yourself and what you need
To be able to be successful in your career, one of the best investments you can make is to understand yourself and your needs better.
As Hosch explains, “we ask a lot of leaders for their input, but what we don’t necessarily do is allow ourselves the chance to say, ‘I need help’, or ‘I need this’. Learning to ask for that without the overhanging guilt or sense of failure by asking for help is incredibly important modelling for teams and for people.”
You Are Not Alone
We all see the change we need to achieve true equality at work.
When it comes to our own careers and daily work life, it’s important to remember the onus isn’t on the individual to achieve this change, but to facilitate a more open and inclusive working environment in our own specific situation.
For Hosch, it helps her to remind herself of the change that’s already occurred under her leadership, and what’s still to come.
“After 5 seasons at the AFL I can absolutely identify the changes that I contributed to, and it helps me ‘maintain the rage’ in terms of wanting to see more change.
One of the things that I take away from strong Indigenous women who have led us across this country is that it’s never going to be easy, and we all have to do our share of the lifting, but you don’t have to do it alone. We’re part of a continuum of change.”
Extract from SEEK- Working Life