Recently UDIA Victoria hosted GAZELLA Live: Women in the Property Sector to celebrate Gazella’s first birthday. The discussion featured insights from Sonya Miller, Pippa Stockfeld, Aisling Coughlan, and Sarah Matthee, who all spoke about tactical ways women can get ahead in the property industry.
One particular insight struck a chord. Pippa outlined how, after years of delivering stellar projects, she asked her manager how she could get ahead. Her work was going unnoticed. “Bring in new business”, they told her. “Add value outside of your immediate role.”
She called it the ‘Trusted Lieutenant’ trap. Women, she said, are susceptible to falling into the ‘doer’ trap. It feels comfortable, she reiterated.
Being a Trusted Lieutenant builds trust with clients and colleagues. They can trust you know what it entails to deliver a high performing project. You have flawlessly project managed from top to bottom, but for some reason, the career progression never comes. So what gives?
That’s the kicker. When you’re a ‘Trusted Lieutenant’, people love having you around. You make everything run smoothly. Why would they want to remove that from the business? That’s why we need to think about priorities a little differently if we want to achieve any goal, both in business and in life. Approximately 80% of your time should be delivering excellent work. And 20% should be focused on making steps toward your next career goal.
How many of you can say you’ve got time to pull your head up out of the administration and focus on the next steps? Not a lot of us, that’s for sure. I know that between managing a franchise enterprise, our network of real estate experts and the team that support them, as well as making time for my family and friends is one heck of a balancing act.
I also know if I didn’t make time for the 20%, I wouldn’t be in the position I am in now. Think of it is as though you are building a savings fund. Putting a little bit of money towards your savings goal creates value over time. Think of your 20% as slowly adding skills to your future opportunities. You’re no less of a superwoman if your projects aren’t perfect. If anything, it could do you a disservice by not having the time or head-space to look for career progression opportunities.
Seek out mentors. Ask to take the smartest people in the room for coffee to pick their brains. If you feel like there’s nobody internally that you can draw insight from, try looking for someone to speak to outside your workplace, or even outside of your industry. Attend industry events that are in a different sector to you and learn something new. Sit into meetings that are outside of your immediate department.
Above all, ask. Ask for more responsibility. Ask for more education.
Actress Viola Davis said it best when collecting an EMMY for Best Actress in a Drama. “The only thing that separates women (of colour) from anyone else is opportunity.”
Looking for a mentor? I’d be happy to recommend a number of impressive individuals in my network. Open to your thoughts below.