Getting off the ground takes concerted energy, and nowhere is this better demonstrated that in the aviation industry. When it comes to female representation within the aviation finance industry, it is still behind comparable sectors, and history tells us that active measures will need to be taken before parity is achieved.
Recent reports in the aviation finance sector signify that a glass ceiling still very much exists. While there is no overnight fixer for this and certain things can take quite some time to change, there are impactful areas that every individual woman can focus on that are within their own control and power.
Areas such as confidence, resilience and emotional intelligence can be developed and enhanced so they can be added to your toolkit to enable you to become stronger in the workplace in the face of adversity. So when situations arise in work you can tap into these areas for strength and support. An African proverb says “ when there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can do you no harm”.
Let’s examine these three areas in more detail:
Addressing confidence issues is vital to success and is a continual work-in progress as confidence can ebb and flow throughout our lives. Confidence is often known to take the largest dip for women returning to work after maternity leave.
Acknowledging and accepting that a confidence gap may exist is the first step forward, but if you are actively working towards doing something about it- this reduces the “hold” confidence issues can have over you. Often when we dig deeper on confidence through executive coaching, we find that that the issue is not as big as we originally had thought.
Confidence can be developed and confidence can be worked on. Fact.
Resilient people never consider themselves as victims – they focus their time and energy on changing the things that they have control over. Resilient people don’t dwell on failures; they acknowledge the situation, learn from their mistakes, and then move forward. Resilience is also another skill that can be learned and can be developed through daily practice. According to the research of leading psychologist, Susan Kobasa, there are three elements that are essential to resilience:
- Challenge– Resilient people view a difficulty as a challenge, not as a paralyzing event. They look at their failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from, and as opportunities for growth. They don’t view them as a negative reflection on their abilities or self-worth.
- Commitment– Resilient people are committed to their lives and their goals, and they have a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning.
- Personal Control– Resilient people spend their time and energy focusing on situations and events that they have control over. Because they put their efforts where they can have the most impact, they feel empowered and confident. Those who spend time worrying about uncontrollable events can often feel lost, helpless, and powerless to take action.
Emotional intelligence is all about comprehending and analyzing emotion, while having the ability to express emotion accurately. It’s about regulating appropriately one’s own emotions and those of others. Those high in emotional intelligence have the ability to reduce negative emotions, manage stress, are assertive and express difficult emotions when required.
They also have the ability to stay proactive and not reactive in difficult situations. In most cases, people tend to be higher in certain aspects of emotional intelligence and can set out at a development plan to work on the other key areas. Undertaking an Emotional Intelligence assessment is often recommended to baseline where you are.
Like the above two areas, this too can be developed.
As a women in the aviation finance sector you have to continually ask yourself what have you done recently to help both yourself and other women in your company and/or sector. If you have a female rising star on your team, are you supporting her and championing her as much as you could? Are you creating opportunities to let both yourself and her shine? Are you encouraging her to reach her potential. If not, why not?
The key message here is get to know yourself better, invest in yourself and take control of the elements that you can take control of. It’s time to rise and shine.
The IMI are running an impactful 4 day programme specifically targeted for women in the Aviation Finance sector. Click here for more.
Fiona Buckley is a Business Psychologist, Work Behaviourist and Executive Coach specialising in the areas of Leadership, Work Behaviour, Women in Business and Interpersonal Skills.
Fiona is Associate Faculty with the Irish Management Institute (IMI) facilitating on a number of public and custom programmes, including IMI’s Taking the Lead – Women in Leadership programme and the Women in Aviation Finance Leadership programme.