As a female business owner of a company that embraces diversity in the workplace, encouraging women to advance their careers and gain leadership roles is very important to me. In medicine—an industry with which Jordan Search Consultants works intimately—the professional barriers that women face are especially apparent; only 18% of U.S. hospital CEOs are female. According to HealthcareDIVE, the share of incoming women CEOs in the world’s 2,500 largest public companies dropped to 2.8% in 2015, the lowest level since 2011. Among healthcare companies, the rate was even lower—1.6%. It is my goal, as a healthcare staffing provider, to impact change these statistics. As such, here are several ways women in medicine can advance their careers.
- Adopt a Leadership mindset in advance. Leaders don’t become leaders by accepting leadership positions. They are offered those positions because they have already prepared themselves for the role. For example, those who dream of transitioning from healthcare provider to healthcare administrator should consider getting an MBA. There are many other leadership training opportunities outside of a formal university education, as well. The important thing to remember is that if you want to advance your career, you can’t wait until you’ve reached a leadership position to start acting like a leader. Adopt the mindset now.
- Find a mentor (or at least a resource who can help guide you). A recent survey of male and female healthcare leaders found that women place more value on their bosses, peers, and organizational resources when it came to plotting an upward career path. This tells us that women are more likely to seek out guidance on their way to the top. This is significant because in order to achieve a leadership position, you can’t be hesitant to ask for guidance. This can come in the form of finding a mentor in the C-suite to help guide you through the process or making use of a variety of other resources your organization may have available to you.
- Face your fears head on. One of the most prominent qualities of a leader is fearlessness. That’s not to say that every successful woman in medicine never had her anxieties. But it does mean that she understood that in order to succeed, she had to overcome them. For example, if you have a fear of public speaking, consider volunteering to speak at your organization’s next event or lead a training program or webinar on a topic about which you have specialized knowledge. Even if it’s not directly related to your career goals, taking on something you don’t want to do will prove to your peers—and more importantly, to yourself—that you are a leader.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that the sky is the limit for women in healthcare and healthcare administration. By securing a mentor, asking for guidance, adopting a leadership mindset, and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, you have the power to dictate your own career path—all the way to the top.