9 ways to shatter the glass ceiling

| 15 September 2015

Printers don’t blow everyone’s hair back. They’re often just seen as grudge purchases that can raise tempers in the office. But for the past 18 years, Lucinde de Lange has worked tirelessly to transform and evolve the perception of Nashua from a printer distributor to a fully integrated business solutions provider.


As Nashua’s Executive Head of Marketing, De Lange has risen to the challenge in her male-dominated corporate environment. Here, she shares what she’s learnt: 

Live by your own standards
You have to put in the hours and drive yourself – otherwise you’re not going to get anywhere. I’m a perfectionist and I think sticking resolutely to my own standards has served me well. Never settle for anyone else’s standard of ‘good enough’ – focus on doing your best by your own measures.

Leave room for guidance
Mentorship is a practical way to recognise your strengths and weaknesses to build self-confidence. Without knowing your breaking point or weaknesses, you won’t be able to overcome them. Without knowing your strengths, you’ll never be able to play towards them.

Adopt a can-do approach
I don’t like being told what to do and I don’t necessarily like telling other people what to do either, but I want to help others get to the right place. I often tell people not to worry about what we can’t do – let’s rather talk about what we can do and how to do it. Know what you’re good at, hone that skill and you’ll always perform better.

Talk less, listen more
If you don’t know how to address something, ask for advice. There’s a difference between constantly asking for help and actually asking for advice and learning from it. I wish I was encouraged to listen and ask more questions when I was younger. I did a lot more talking than listening. Had I done it the other way around, I might have been calmer and more at ease with myself from very early on.

Learn from past mistakes
I’ve learnt that I’m not always right. Due to my personal traits once I’ve made up my mind about something, that’s it. This is a very short-sighted approach and has been the biggest lesson for me. Mistakes are natural because it’s the only way we learn.

Trust yourself
Never approach a business environment, relationship or friendship with a chip on your shoulder because you’re a woman. Sometimes we come out batting because we think the boys are out to get us. Instead of thinking you have to work harder because you’re a woman, just always do the best you can. If that’s not good enough for them, they don’t deserve you.

The industry isn’t going to make any concessions simply because you’re a woman. When you’re in a position of power you could be disliked because of the decisions you make, and that would be no different whether you’re a woman or a man.

Be your own cheerleader
Resilience is my secret weapon. You can only become resilient when you are confident about who you are – which is easier said than done. I do a lot of self-talk and I’ve learnt that changing my tone can change the outcome. Encourage the positive things – tell yourself how great you are, to clear out the negative thoughts.

Adapt quickly
The only constant is change – you can embrace it and find the value in it so you can move forward, or you can resist the change and focus on the negative. Opportunities are far greater than they were in the past, but it’s up to us to make something of those opportunities.

Never stop learning
Education is vital. You cannot get anywhere without it. Don’t stop at school or university. It doesn’t have to be a formal degree from the onset. It can start with a short course, reading a lot or exploring your EQ. If you’re not learning, you’re not growing.

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