Over the years my career has led me versus me leading my career. Looking back, I wish I would have known then what I know now. Luckily some of the pieces of my career fell into place and I had an amazing support system. I have learned that women leaders need to take greater control of our careers, gaining influence and creating value in our organizations. Many female leaders do not capitalize on their talents or value while others will “market” their value in an effort to thrust their career forward. While some leaders have been in their leadership roles for years and have great tenure with an organization, I believe your true VALUE to an organization is your currency not your tenure. The best leaders I have seen and worked with are those that understand their value and focus on ways to not only increase their value in an organization but communicate their value.
Understanding your value
Sometimes it is hard to truly understand what you are best at and what your highest value is to your organization. Keeping a barometer on your impact is important for a leader in any fast-paced healthcare environment. A strong leader will find ways to ask for feedback from peers, subordinates and across functional areas in your organization. Ask for feedback and then really listen. Some of this feedback may be hard to hear. Be sure to listen for your strengths and carefully understand your weaknesses.
Growing your value
Another key step in taking charge if your career is growing your resume and having a plan for your future. It is important to take some time to visualize and build your own roadmap for success. A roadmap is not an extra straight line or ladder. At times, in my career, I took a lateral move that I felt could give me additional exposure and help me become a more well-rounded leader. Also think about how you can take on a new endeavor in your current role or volunteer for a far reaching, highly visible project. These opportunities will increase your exposure and grow your circle of influence across the organization.
Communicating your value
This takes focus, planning and effort. Many women leaders overlook this key ingredient of communicating our value to the organization. Communication is key! Ask for help when you need it. Share your concerns. Take the approach of “no surprises” with your boss. Also take time in each meeting with your boss to highlight team wins and communicate your personal accomplishments and goals.
Finally, do things that scare you! Adopting this philosophy will force you to get outside of your comfort zone and continue grow. I had talked for many, many years about starting my own staffing company and finally the time came for me to take the leap of faith! Now is the time to take control, build and communicate your value!
Be on the look out for our upcoming women in leadership survey. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and perceptive and sharing the results with the FHIMA organization.
SAM! Farrell is CEO for Samstaff, a woman owned boutique staffing company. Samstaff is passionate about having an impact in healthcare by helping organizations find talent in HIM on both a contract and direct hire basis. Samstaff specializes in finding talent in Coding, Auditing, CDI, Cancer & Trauma Registry, Case Management, Revenue Cycle and Interim Leadership.