Learn from leaders: 3 tips for an ambitious career


Although they are still under-represented in some key positions, more and more women are using their strengths to push the boundaries of gender equality in order to become real leaders.

Robert Walters highlights the inspiring journey of hardworking women to shape their place in society. 



On International Women's Day last year, Özlem Simsek, Managing Director Robert Walters Belgium, presented the four key factors to her success. She recently promoted Els Van Der Veken to Director in order to support the further growth of the offices in Flanders.

To highlight International Women’s Day this year, Els shares her best three tips that have helped her climb the ladder to success in the past years. 

1. Value yourself and emphasise your strengths 

In order to advance in your career, it is important to assert yourself. Studies reveal that women sometimes find it difficult to talk about their work in a positive way and to have confidence in the quality of the work they do. For Els, having a 360° knowledge of the market is the key to success. Els: "Women are sometimes too modest when it comes to their strengths. It's very important to both recognise and continue to develop them. Starting in a junior position and growing in your role can only have a positive impact on the self-confidence in your strengths: you know the business inside out, which enables you to intervene in high-level discussions and thus assert your position.”

2. Be authentic and adopt an open management style

In addition to the fact that excellent technical skills are essential in many jobs, there is another crucial element to achieve success: the human side. With their empathy and interpersonal skills, women are more receptive and better able to understand the needs of their teams. "In a management role, the primary goal is to build a solid and long-term professional relationship with both your staff and external parties. To achieve that, people need to be able to trust you, and they will only do so you when you are authentic. It is very important to make yourself, as a manager, available and reachable, for your staff to be honest with you and trust you 100%. In addition, to understand what motivates your teams, it's essential to listen so you can do everything you can to help them succeed.”

3. Keep learning 

The demand for skills is changing at fast pace. It is therefore necessary to constantly try to improve them, to ensure your overall performance stands out in the long term. "Continuous learning is the key to success. Learn from everyone in your company: your own manager, specialists in their field who support you, but also other staff members. Even the young professionals who can bring an honest and fresh perspective on certain matters. By being able to grow in different roles within the organisation, you will get to know every level of the company, which will enable you to experience the difficulties and daily challenges at every level. As you grow into a leadership role, you will be in an excellent position to provide personal advice on a wide range of individual cases that your employees will face.”

Els concludes that having fun at work is essential as well: "A team having fun on the work floor, automatically feels more involved. And a positive attitude leads to increased motivation and success, it's an endless positive loop.”


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