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5 Tips for Being Bold in Your Career

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable if you want to stretch into your potential, CSL leaders say.

Brave goldfish jumping into a larger bowl

Growing in your career usually comes with a few growing pains, so how can you manage them?

“When you think about where you want to go in your career and what it'll take to get there, consider the notion of being very bold and open to growth,” said Paula Manchester, CSL Senior Director of Global Marketing, Transplant Therapeutic Area. “But know that it’s OK to be nervous and feel discomfort – those are the natural responses to trying out new behaviors. Those feelings should not hold you back from seeking out new opportunities.”

Five CSL leaders, including Manchester, recently took part in an event hosted by the company, in partnership with networking site PowerToFly, on “Investing in Women Leaders.” 

Here are five takeaways:

1. Calm the negative voice in your head and lean into the change. 

All those thoughts that tend to creep into our minds – “it’s too risky” or “I might fail” – can hold you back. Quiet them to move out of your comfort zone. 
“That's where true growth is going to happen,” said Kristen Krebs, Senior Director of Learning and Development.

2. You have a voice. Use it. 

Adila Zaidi, CSL Senior Manager of Facilities, often finds that she is the only woman (or one of a few) in the room. During meetings, she makes it a point to speak up, be direct and speak confidently.

“You want your coworkers to be compelled to act on your recommendation,” said Zaidi. Avoid diluting your own message with phrases such as “it’s just something to think about.”

3. Intentionally listen.

“I have learned that there's value in really listening well,” said Manchester, “particularly to team members who may be quiet or use a style that's less assertive.” 

Tap into the diversity of participants around the table. They might get you around a blind spot you were oblivious to because “you haven’t asked questions or listened well,” Manchester said.

Cultivate conditions that allow people to speak up, said Scott Hambaugh, Executive Director of Global Regulatory Affairs. Provide definitions to explain what concepts mean so everyone is on the same page.

“Making an environment where everyone feels included is very important,” he said. “Employees have to feel psychologically safe and that their opinions can be heard.” 

4. Make allies and build relationships. 

Having allies and healthy working relationships will “take your career above and beyond,” said Zaidi. Bouncing ideas or sharing concerns with both male and female colleagues gives her different perspectives and advice. 

Beyond that, she said, “Developing relationships within the company will make you more visible and attractive for future roles or opportunities.” 

Make time once a week to go to lunch with a colleague, take your mentor for coffee, or get to know someone on a more personal level.

5. Cultivate mentors and sponsors. 

“Having one-on-one dedicated time with a mentor who's invested in understanding what you want, what you need, where they can connect you with opportunities was certainly important as I was advancing in my career,” said Rebecca Heatherman, Director of Innovation.

Hambaugh shared that having someone outside your direct organization that you can “sit down and have those tough discussions with” about how to grow and make connections is invaluable. 

Krebs calls this informal network her “board of directors” whom she has handpicked based on their strengths or abilities to help her fill gaps in her own skillset or knowledge. 

A mentor can provide advice, challenge your thinking and open your eyes to new possibilities, she said. A sponsor is at the decision-making table advocating for you when hiring decisions are being made. 

“It's making yourself known with the right decision makers so that when those conversations are happening, you’re a known entity,” said Krebs. She went on to say that you can’t just let your track record speak for itself. “Put yourself in the right situations with the right people” to avoid being overlooked, she said.