| Work and development

Women rule!

Nearly 66% of CERI's executives are women. This percentage is much higher than the national average of 44% and the EU average of 34% (data for the third quarter of 2020, according to Eurostat). What makes women in our company so successful in managerial positions? And does gender have any impact on promotion opportunities?

Autor:
Łukasz Kluj
Marketing Manager

We asked four of our female colleagues who hold managerial positions: Eliza Wiśniewska (Assistant Manager), Justyna Mężydło (Team Coordinator) Marta Sabarańska (Team Coordinator) and Emilia Majewska (Team Manager).

Women at CERI

What position did you start at CERI? Was it a managerial position right away?

Eliza: I started as a coordinator. After 7 months I became a Manager and after about 4 years I became a Deputy Manager.

Justyna: I started with an Assistant position, now this position corresponds to a Junior Consultant. I have been a coordinator since 2017.

Marta: Like Justyna, I started as an Assistant, I went through all the possible levels, and since January this year I’ve been a Coordinator.

Emilia: I also started as an Assistant, even though I was a Manager in my previous job. Then I became a Coordinator, and now I’m a Manager.

What do you think helped you get promoted?

Marta: I think it was mostly helped by people in higher positions who saw my potential and helped me develop into a team leader.

Justyna: There were simply opportunities for that. I don’t know how it is in similar companies, but in our company there are internal recruiters who allow you to apply for other positions, including managerial ones.

You point to external conditions here. But what do you think are some internal traits, acquired skills or attitudes that influence your work as a team leader?

Emilia: Innate skills definitely help you find your way in these positions. Some things you just feel.

Eliza: What helped me a lot was my “wildness of heart”, my energy, contact with people, openness. Resistance to stress is also important. I made it clear to my supervisor what I needed to achieve my goals and expand my skills. If I was given a task, I never said that something was impossible. I believe that everything is doable, you just have to be more dedicated to certain topics.

Justyna: I would also add the desire to develop and try new things. Especially when we can’t do something in a given position because we are limited by a certain range of tasks.

Does gender matter in management?

two-women-entrepreneurs-working-together-office

The company has a relatively high number of women in leadership positions. How do you think the fact that you are a woman helps or hinders you more in your role as a coordinator, manager or supervisor?

Marta: I don’t feel any difference in that regard.

Eliza: In CKOPN in Białystok we don’t have any male manager yet. Indeed, I have an impression that women often do better in this position.

Where does this dominance of women come from? Perhaps women have something in them that helps them perform well in such positions?

Eliza: I think women have power. They have the seed of stewardship in them.

Emilia: It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman. But I think that it is easier for women to get along with someone. These differences can be seen for example in email correspondence.

Eliza: It’s easier for us to adapt to different situations.

Emilia: Of course it is better to work together when the group is mixed. It is much easier to communicate in a team where there is a balance and not a predominance of one gender.

What do you think such diversity brings, both at the team level and at the leadership level? Do you think women take on masculine traits a bit?

Justyna: I have the impression, contrary to stereotypes, that women are more courageous and open to new situations, changes, and better at making decisions. Although there is even a saying “men’s decision”.

Marta: Women are more emotional about everything. A man will quickly decide “yes” or “no,” while a woman will still find a few stumbling blocks along the way. And of course this is not a disadvantage; sometimes empathy and an emotional approach are more beneficial.

Emilia: I realize that I will gain more if I try to be empathetic. But I also see that if there is a conflict in the team, it is always a little bit worse with women, because emotions come into play. In a more diverse team you can have a better balance, also emotionally.

Eliza: I think men may have more trouble with soft skills like team management, dealing with employees. I think they are hard-nosed and great when it comes to processes and technical topics. But those soft skills sometimes need to be refined. Women have it easier here.

Stepping out of your comfort zone

What would be your advice to someone who would like to follow a development path into team management and take a leadership position?

Marta: Confidence and commitment are important.

Emilia: Don’t be afraid to take on challenges. Put aside your fears and get involved. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s better to try and even if it turns out you’re not good at something, keep trying.

Eliza: Getting ready to climb Mount Everest J My commitment has borne fruit. At the beginning it is hard work, but later it is easier, because you know – experience does its job.

Is it worth trying to move forward, to climb up the career ladder? Or rather, accept that “it is what it is” and do your own thing?

Marta: It happens that we don’t notice our abilities on our own, that’s why motivation from our superiors is important. Sometimes it is only when someone tells us that we do something well, that we have predispositions that we had no idea about, that we develop. The supervisor’s support is very valuable here.

Eliza: Don’t be afraid, try, the company really gives you opportunities and tools to grow.

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