Do you remember that fairy tale we were told when we were kids, about helpful little elves that snuck into your house when everyone was asleep, did all the chores, laid the fire, made the breakfast and then flew away before anyone woke up and saw them?
That’s what girls were encouraged to be like – to never demand attention or thanks for our good deeds, to be passive and selfless. Our rewards would come, but not if we asked for them.
Those messages stick in our subconscious minds.
Well, wake up and smell that coffee you’ve just had to make for yourself.
Internalising that kind of message has gotten women into this mess. We are waiting for a magic hand, like those national lottery ads, to spot our brilliance and pluck us out of our current role into a better one. It doesn’t work like that.
Women don’t get promoted because they haven’t taken the time to selfishly work out what they want next and then ask for it
There’s only one magic formula to get promoted:
Do good work
Tell people you did good work
Know what work you want to do next
Ask for it
Women don’t get promoted because they haven’t taken the time to selfishly work out what they want next and then ask for it. We need to figure out our unique cocktail of skills, knowledge and experience that makes us indispensable. What’s our contribution? What outcomes do we get, what have we achieved, where do we add the most value?
Tell your network how good you are, based on what you’ve achieved. We judge ourselves on what we perceive we are capable of. Others judge us by what we have done.
It’s not enough to do a good job, you have to be visibly good too; not a shrinking violet.
Stick your hand up for new projects, roles and opportunities.
Get a mentor. Build your networks.
When an opportunity is offered to you, and it fits in with your game plan, then take it. If you can do the most important 80% of the job description, you can do the job well. Get support to do the rest – or better still, pay an elf to do it for you.
About the Author
Zena Everett is one of the UK’s leading careers experts, coaching and training professionals from a wide range of companies including Shire Pharmaceuticals, Bausch and Lomb, Gazprom, HSBC, Citigroup, the Institute of Chartered Accountants and several international law firms.
She is an Executive Coach on Oxford University’s global Executive MBA programme as well as the author of two books: MindFlip: Reinvent your Future and Crazy Busy: How to Get More Done in a Day.