Breaking the Glass Ceiling – Need no hammer, just some sprinkle of pixie-dust!--Aanchal Makkar

In my 14 years of association with the corporate world, there have been numerous experiences and situations which have helped shaped this perspective writes Aanchal Makkar, Chapter Leader, Lean In India.


Glass-Ceiling. Is it being locked in a box of thick unbreakable glass which one continuously tries to break, pressing very hard each time?  Well, the idea itself is very suffocating!  Isn’t it?  That’s not anyone of us wants! 

To me the idea of glass ceiling has a different meaning. I believe, glass ceilings are thin layer of wrong perceptions that needs to be broken with persistence. We need no hammer ladies, we need to concoct our own pixie-dust to do the magic. For me, it is made up of competence, confidence and collaboration 

In my 14 years of association with the corporate world, there have been numerous experiences and situations which have helped shaped this perspective. Here’s how: 

Be greedy, build your “T”: During initial years of my career, I was focussed on building my core-competency as a Private Equity Analyst. with clear focus being a subject matter expert. At this time, I was building the vertical pillar of my “T”. However, as I progressed in my career, I gradually realised, expanding beyond my core skills was imperative. I picked up projects that diversified my portfolio. I worked on areas such as Learning and Development, Branding and Communication within the firm and opted to volunteer for Leanin.Org outside of work. This was adding a horizontal bar in my “T”. This, I think made a lot of difference. It added to my network significantly, doubled my level of competency, and most importantly provided a holistic and a bigger perspective of doing things, hence creating an impact!   

Don’t fit in, be YOU: Simple ruIe – Be Yourself. Broadly speaking, women tend to struggle more with this dilemma – How much is too much? In an attempt to behave and act more like men, we attempt to “fit-in”, thus pushing back our natural selves. My two cents - if you are told you are too aggressive, stay assertive. If you are told you are bossy, keep leading the charge. If you are termed too-emotional, believe in your empathetic quotient and if you are told you are difficult, keep doing the right thing. Do not try to fit in or shrink only because it makes people happy or someone is telling you to be who you should be. Be you, be confident! 

Make men your allies: We are not fighting against men as we do not want to create another imbalance. We are to create the balance and that cannot happen without them. To me, its not about men v/s women or men over women or women over men. The narrative should be men AND women, complimenting each other. There is a reason men and women are wired differently by laws of nature. And the best outcomes are achieved when we leverage the diversity in their perspectives and competencies, without comparison. My story is incomplete without the men in my life. Some of the best career advice that I have received is from men. One of my male mentors, a senior director, has coached me and challenged my status quo that helped me achieve certain milestones that I could never think of! As much as we need our gender to come together, having male collaborators completes our story. 

To wrap up, I would say – its ok to be greedy for more, not fitting in and accepting he for she. There aint any glass ceiling on our potential, courage, commitment and perseverance…let’s just use our pixie dust and make the glass ceiling disappear!   

Happy women’s day!

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