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Breaking through the glass ceiling: The 6 best tips for businesswomen

The “glass ceiling” is an invisible barrier that often prevents women from advancing to higher management positions and realizing their full professional potential. Business women face unique challenges, but with the right strategies and a clear goal, they can break through this barrier.

In this article, I take a closer look at this barrier and present six valuable tips that women in leadership positions can use to overcome the glass ceiling and advance their careers.

footprints on a glass ceiling

Tip 1 – Develop self-confidence and self-assurance

The first and most important element in breaking through the glass ceiling is strong self-confidence and self-assurance. Believe in your abilities and qualifications and don’t let negative thoughts or self-doubt influence you. Recognize your strengths and successes and set clear professional goals.

Confident businesswomen radiate authority and gain the trust of their colleagues and superiors. Self-confidence also enables them to make bold career decisions and seize new opportunities.


Example of self-confidence and self-assurance:

A businesswoman could develop a regular practice of positive self-reflection and keeping a success diary to strengthen her self-awareness and self-confidence.

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Tip 2 – Break through the glass ceiling with a strong network

A strong professional network and effective mentoring are not only helpful, but crucial for the career advancement of business women. These two components provide valuable resources and support to break through the glass ceiling and rise to leadership positions.

Develop a targeted network strategy

Business women should develop a clear strategy for their professional networking. This includes identifying industry events, conferences and networking opportunities that align with their professional goals.

Making a variety of contacts

It is important to build a broad network of contacts, including colleagues, industry experts, potential customers and even competitors. Diversity in your network opens up different perspectives and opportunities.

There’s a good chance that people in your network are/were in the same position as you and can tell you how they managed to break through the glass ceiling.

Active participation in networking events

In order to build up a good network, it is important to actively participate in events, whether as a guest speaker, moderator or participant in discussion panels. This shows your commitment and your presence in the industry.

Maintaining relationships

It is not enough just to make contacts; maintaining these relationships is just as important. Follow up regularly with your contacts to maintain interactions and build trust.

Tip 3 – Mentoring

Find a suitable mentor

Choosing the right mentor is crucial. Look for an experienced executive or entrepreneur who understands not only your career goals and ambitions, but also the existence of the glass ceiling and the need to break through it. A mentor should be able to offer valuable advice, guidance and insight.

Set clear goals and expectations

Clarify your expectations and goals to your mentor right from the start. This helps to build an effective relationship and ensure that the support is tailored to your individual needs and ability to break through the glass ceiling.

Don’t be timid here – you will get the best support if it is clearly communicated what your gains and profits are.

Regular communication

Keep in regular contact with your mentor, be it in the form of meetings, phone calls or emails. Use these opportunities to ask questions, discuss challenges and learn from your mentor’s experience.

Accepting and implementing feedback

Be open to constructive feedback from your mentor and actively implement this feedback in your professional life. Mentors can offer valuable insights into how they themselves were able to break through the glass ceiling and overcome obstacles.

Mutual benefit

The relationship between mentor and mentee should be mutually beneficial. Mentors are often given the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and gain new perspectives, while mentees benefit from valuable knowledge and support.

Example of networking and mentoring:

A businesswoman could actively participate in industry conferences and make targeted contacts with executives in her field. She could also find a mentor who can help her develop her leadership skills and overcome professional challenges such as the glass ceiling.

A strong professional network and a dedicated mentor can go a long way in helping business women break through the glass ceiling and achieve their professional goals. These resources not only provide support, but also the opportunity to gain valuable insights and opportunities to advance in leadership positions.

two women sit at a table with a laptop and talk about the glass ceiling

Tip 4 – Further training and qualifications

Education and continuous training are key components for career advancement. Invest in your professional development by acquiring relevant qualifications, certificates and further training. This not only shows your commitment to your career, but also gives you the necessary skills to succeed in leadership positions.

Also use the resources of your employer, if possible. Companies often offer training and professional development programs that can help you qualify for higher positions and break through the glass ceiling.


Example of further training and qualifications:

A businesswoman might decide to take part in extra-occupational courses to improve her leadership and management skills so that she can actively break through the glass ceiling.

Tip 5 – Self-promotion and visibility

To break through the glass ceiling, it is important to make your successes and contributions visible. Self-promotion is the key to recognition and appreciation of your achievements. Share your successes with colleagues and superiors, be it through presentations, reports or regular updates.

Be visible in public too. Publish articles or blog posts about your field, speak at conferences and on panels, and use social media to boost your professional profile. A strong presence in the industry will establish you as a competent leader.


Example of self-promotion and visibility:

A businesswoman could actively participate in conferences, write as a guest author in renowned trade journals and regularly publish articles on industry-specific topics on LinkedIn.

Tip 6 – Break through the glass ceiling with perseverance and resilience

The road to the top can be challenging, but businesswomen should be persistent and resilient. There will be setbacks and obstacles, but don’t let them discourage you. Use these experiences as learning opportunities and motivation to move forward.

The ability to be resilient, i.e. the ability to recover from failure and emerge stronger, is crucial. It enables you to remain steadfast even in difficult times and pursue your long-term goals.


Example of perseverance and resilience:

After a professional setback, a businesswoman could work specifically on her self-reflection and her plan for the future in order to return stronger and better prepared.

The glass ceiling: Conclusion

Breaking through the glass ceiling is a challenge, but with the right strategies and a strong determination, businesswomen can succeed. Self-confidence, networking, training, self-promotion and perseverance are key components to reaching the highest levels of the professional hierarchy.

The world needs more businesswomen in management positions who can contribute their perspectives and skills. When you break through the glass ceiling, you not only open up new opportunities for yourself, but also for other women. Stay focused, work hard and set your goals – you can do it.


If you want to further your education and strengthen your skills as a leader, you should take a look at my offer with many exciting topics on female empowerment, leadership and success mindset.

Some AI-generated content was used and revised for this article.

Author | Maren Wölfl

Hi, I’m Maren! As an expert for women, mothers and leaders, I support ambitious women in their leadership, professional development and success mindset.