How to break free of the Go-To Girl Syndrome

I’ve had some incredibly enlightening conversations this week with smart, mid-career professional women who, like me, fell into the sneaky trap of being the notorious “go-to girl.” Maybe you can relate. Are you known as the Jack of all trades, the fix-it woman, or have you earned the label of “reliable”? Oh boy, it’s time to take a closer look.

Confession time: I used to proudly wear the “go-to girl” badge as if it were the ultimate mark of distinction. It fed my ego to know that people sought me out, recognising that I was the one who would always make time to help them.

But here’s the kicker—I had no clue just how much it was holding me back. Looking back now, I realise I was seen as a doer, not the remarkable leader I truly wanted to be.

Reflecting on my journey, I can’t help but recall a comment from an HR director about me “over mothering” the team. Let me tell you, it stung like a slap in the face back then. But now, with a fresh perspective, I understand that he was providing me with invaluable guidance on how I could step up and lead more effectively. Funny how life works, right? Sometimes, those seemingly hurtful remarks are the catalysts for profound self-discovery and growth.

So, if you’ve found yourself deep in the weeds as the go-to girl here’s what to do about it.

1. Recognise the Go-To Girl Pitfall

Now that we’re on the same page, let’s dive deeper into this notorious pitfall. Being the go-to girl might feel flattering, but it can become a double-edged sword. While it’s wonderful to be dependable and reliable, it can also lead to being pigeonholed and undervalued. It’s time to break free from this limited perception and step into your full leadership potential.

2. Unleash Your Leadership Mindset

Shifting from the go-to girl to an esteemed leader requires a mindset overhaul. It’s time to shed the belief that your worth is solely defined by being the problem solver. Embrace the idea that leadership is about inspiring, influencing, and creating meaningful impact. Believe in your capabilities and envision yourself as the influential leader you aspire to become.

3. Break free from the Go-To Girl Leadership Mould

Your Go-To Girl role may have defined you in the past, but it’s now time to release the expectations and limitations that come with that role. Embrace your uniqueness and craft your own leadership style. Reflect on your strengths, values, and passions. Define the type of leader you want to be and align your actions with that vision.

4. Shift your reputation by shifting your focus

If you want to change how others perceive you, it’s time to shift your focus. Instead of solely being the go-to girl who handles everything, redirect your attention towards strategic initiatives, team empowerment, and impactful contributions. By shifting your focus from being the problem solver to being a visionary leader, you’ll not only transform your reputation but also inspire others to see you in a new light.

5. Focus on Growth and Continuous Learning

Breaking free from the go-to girl role and unleashing your leadership superpowers takes courage and growth. It’s time to level up by mastering the art of delegation, embracing change with open arms, and empowering your team to do their best work. Say goodbye to spreading yourself too thin and hello to focusing on what truly matters. Trust in your team’s capabilities, confidently say no when necessary, and create a culture of innovation and growth. And make sure you’re aligning your time and effort with what matters most to the organisation.

Are you ready to shift from “go-to girl” to leader?

Bidding farewell to the role of the go-to girl starts with the simple decision to no longer play that part for your boss, your team and your organisation. Are you ready?



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