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Why Aren’t You Being Promoted?

Why Aren’t You Being Promoted?

You’re a smart, intelligent woman. You are extremely loyal and reliable and you are good at your job.  You work hard and you have all the qualifications and experience needed to get promoted, so why is it that you keep getting passed over?

It used to be the guys with all the charisma and charm who play golf with the boss that would beat you to plumb jobs.  Now… you are loosing out to the bright young Gen Y’s who are full of energy and bravado.  At times it just doesn’t seem fair.

You have more than once asked yourself… what do I have to do to get promoted?

You may think that if you work harder, longer hours and say “yes” to everything that the boss asks for, you will finally get the notice and recognition you are longing for.  Surely you are next in line and deserve to be rewarded for your commitment and dedication. 

I am here to tell you … it just doesn’t work that way. 

The reasons why women continue to struggle to break into the senior leadership ranks of corporate Australia are many, varied and complex.  Just a few include the unconscious bias, blatant giving jobs to the boys, the challenges of juggling raising a family and managing a demanding career and the corporate systems and structures standing in the way of flexible family friendly working arrangements.     

And then there is you.  Yes, I know.  Sometimes this is a difficult one to swallow.

Research has shown some habits and behaviours, more commonly displayed by woman, negatively impact our likelihood of being the obvious choice or even considered for promotion. 

And the good news is… major change is not required.  

Through working with hundreds of women over the past 5 years I’ve seen that usually all that’s required are tiny tweaks to where we focus our time, energy and resources.

Lets make sure you are not getting in your own way by engaging in these career sabotaging workplace behaviours that will slow your career progression to a crawl or even have you become stuck, set in stone, at your current level.  I know that your career success and your need to be growing, contributing and making more of a difference means too much to you to allow that to happen. 

 

Here are 3 habits that may be getting in your way of promotion?

1.  You are not confidently displaying your skills, opinions and worth. Kitty Kay and Clare Shipman, co-authors of The Confidence Gap, show that women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence. 

Confidence talks.  If you are not confident in your own ability to deliver at the next level it will not matter how competent you are at your job, you will not get noticed or promoted. 

The good news is that with work, confidence can be acquired.  The first step is to start noticing the evidence that demonstrates that you are worthy of a more senior position (eg: the results you have achieved, your ability to manage your team to work cohesively together, you ability to solve the important business problems.)  Until YOU believe you are worthy, others will not. 

2.  You are not thinking strategically.  Let’s acknowledge that the many workplaces operate under a masculine paradigm and that the measures of success, generally speaking, are achievement of results, hitting financial targets and developing and delivering strategies for growth. 

If you want to be noticed and promoted you must be delivering on these success measures.  Many women (but of course not all) can become overly concerned with their own work and projects and fail to tap into, understand or contribute to the company vision, mission and strategy. 

A leadership study recently published in the Harvard Business Review scored women more highly than men on 16 key measures but there was one key measure that men scored more highly that stood out.  It was their ability to develop strategies and communicate them to people that mattered.

You must become a strategic thinker.  Your career will grow and expand once you flex your strategic muscle, think bigger and contribute more to the big picture of the business. 

3.  You think you need to do it alone.  Women are great connectors, communicators and collaborators … so why is it that so many women think that they need to prove that they can achieve career success alone? 

Prioritise time in your busy schedule to build strong, genuine relationships both within your organisation and externally.  Yes I hear you… you are too busy to spend time having coffee.  Trust me, it will be time well spent. 

Surround yourself with people who will support and help your growth, clear the pathway for opportunities to emerge and who will challenge you to strive for even more than you think is possible.

I heard recently that geese flying together in formation fly further and 75% faster  than geese flying alone.  Don’t be a lone goose… find some friends, trusted colleagues and partners to collaborate with and see what together you can achieve.

And remember it is not only who you know that is important… what is even more important is who knows what you know and what you want to achieve.  Your work will not speak for itself.  You must let people know what you are working on and the impact you are having.  Yes that’s right .. I am suggesting that you toot your own horn… in the nicest possible way. 

Now it is over to you.

Getting promoted can never be guaranteed but lets boost the odds by ensuring you are not sabotaging you efforts without even realising it. 

LET'S CONNECT

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Read my latest blog post.
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Women Lead Differently … And That Is A Good Thing

Women Lead Differently … And That Is A Good Thing

If we are to achieve an increasing number of women in leadership positions, we need to acknowledge that men and women lead differently,  and that it is a good thing. 

The leadership style of women is collaborative, inclusive, and consultative.  They focus on nurturing a strong team environment where ethical behaviour, quality and concern for each other is important.  They use their gift of language to solicit commitment to achieving the common goals and value the results that come from a highly engaged team.

Men in a leadership role are more competitive and are focused on achievement of power and success through demonstration of results.

Over recent years, advancements in neuroscience has produced increasing evidence that men and women are, on average, innately different, leading to different natural characteristics, tendencies and talents.

In a nutshell… we think, act and lead differently. 

And these differences appear to stem from our primitive beginnings.  As early cave men and women, we had different jobs and tasks that required different skills.  With centuries of natural selection, we have ended up with differences in our hormones and the architecture of our brains.

So let’s take a look the natural leadership skills common to women. 

1.  Web-like Thinking:

Research has shown that women tend to integrate vast amounts of data faster, consider more options and see more possible solutions to a problem.  We tend to think in “webs” of information rather take a straight line or linear approach to thinking.  This is likely to be related to the fact that the female brain has more connections between the left and right hemispheres.

Men, on the other hand, are more likely to focus their attention on one thing at a time. The higher levels of testosterone drive them to focus on one specific outcome … clearly developed back in the day when they were hunting the wilder beast for dinner.

2.  Mental Flexibility

With our brain wired for “web-like thinking”, we are naturally gifted with mental flexibility … an essential ingredient needed in the dynamic, ever-shifting, fast paced modern business environment.  Women have developed a gift for generating new ideas, creativity, ingenuity and imagination.

3.  Gifted with the power of language

Women are born to talk and have developed the skill over many lifetimes to use the power of language.  We use it to influence and persuade action, comfort those in need, educate and inform, bring people together to collaborate and sway minds and hearts.

This power over language emerges early in childhood with girls learning to speak sooner than boys. Research has also shown that our aptitude with language is linked to our higher levels of oestrogen.

4.  General Social Skills

It may seem at times that women have an uncanny ability to read minds!  It is because, to some degree, they do.  Throughout the history of civilisation, the general role of women has been to create and nurture the extended family unit.  The gift of this role is a highly developed innate ability to pick up and interpret the minute social and emotional cues that we give off.

5.  Networking and Collaboration

You only need to attend a women’s networking event to see the power of women coming together to network and collaborate.  Women enjoy working together for the greater good and see the power and the results that come from working cohesively together through a network of supportive connections.

Men, on the other hand, tend to focus on achieving power through rising to the top and value their rank and status.  Men tend to be more competitive and focus on “winning”, while women tend to be more inclusive and supportive.

These traits have again been linked to hormones but also hark back to our history of different roles within our family unit.

So what is the impact of all this?    

It is clear that men and women on average have different innate leadership styles.  This is not to say that one is better than the other or that men don’t display a lot of the characteristics and talents that have been discussed, because they do.

This is more to look at and to celebrate the differences.  It has been said that men and women are like two feet… they need each other to get ahead.  Imagine if more women were to have a greater impact at the decision making table.

Imagine how the work environment – and the world for that matter – would be if women with their natural talents for web-like thinking, their ability to generate fresh ideas, their powerful language and their preference for achieving results through collaboration, were more prominent and represented more equally.  

Many work environments continue to operate under a masculine paradigm, top heavy with men in positions of power.  I believe it is time to embrace that men and women lead differently and to allow women to be true to their own skills and aptitudes.

While we continue to measure leadership success from a masculine point of view, we will miss out on the gifts, talents and the results that can be gained from embracing a well-rounded leadership team.

LET'S CONNECT

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Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

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You’re sitting in the car park at work with a splitting headache and with that sinking feeling of here we go again. The 3 coffees you’ve downed already to give you a bit of an energetic lift haven’t helped; in fact, you feel more than a little shaky. Your phone has lit up like a Christmas tree with fires you’re expected to put out, yet all you want to do is book a room at the nearest hotel, close the blinds and sleep for days.

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Is Focusing On Your “Areas Of Improvement”

Is Focusing On Your “Areas Of Improvement”

When you think back to your last performance appraisal, did you spend more time speaking about strengths and achievements or did you and your manager focus on your weaknesses and your areas of improvement?

For most of us … our focus has been on our “areas of improvement.”

This focus starts early in life with the review of the end of term school report card.  I seem to remember my parents glossing over the A’s & B’s and a zeroing in on that ever present area of weakness… which for me… was English, and my inability to spell.

So for years my daily routine when I arrived home from school was to suffer through an afternoon of spelling practice.  I hated it and it never seemed to get any easier.  And clearly it didn’t do me any good.  To this day, I still struggle to spell!

We are all pre-programed with tasks and activities that we are great at and which are our strength and others, which take more of our energy and that, will never be something which we excel at.

Imagine what we could achieve if we were to focus our time, energy and efforts on improving and strengthening those areas that we are innately talented in?  Instead our strengths often lie dormant or neglected while we attempt to repair our flaws.

Why is it that we focus on “fixing” our weaknesses?

Yes it is important to acknowledge and strengthen those areas of our work that are holding us back.  As a leader your success is reliant on you being a great leader and manager of people, able to develop and implement a successful strategy and to be highly skilled in your area of expertise. 

Ignoring your development in any one of these areas will have you falling short as a leader.  But focusing solely on your weaknesses will hold you back!

So how do we identify our strengths? 

There are many tools and assessments that can help with this.  The one that I use and love is the Extended Disc Behavioural Profiling tool.  This simple tool provides an easy to understand guideline on behaviours and activities that come easily to you and those that take more energy to master.

Knowing and understanding your strengths is an important step in your leadership development.  By far the simplest method for understanding your strengths is understanding YOU.  You are your best judge of your own strengths.

How do we define our strengths?

Strengths can be summed up as those activities that makes you feel strong.  If we pay attention to how a task or activity makes us feel; before, during and after the event, our emotions will give us all the information we need.  Some activities we actively look forward to.  While we are doing it we get into the “zone” and time speeds and afterwards we feel invigorated and energised.

Defining our weaknesses.

A weakness on the other hand is any activity that leaves us feeling weaker.  They are activities and tasks that we tend to avoid and get no joy from.  After we complete the task we feel depleted and drained of energy.

Generally we will enjoy being engaged in those tasks that call on our strengths and enjoy less, tasks that require us to venture into areas of our weakness.

But do not be fooled.  It is possible to be highly skilled and capable in tasks that we have no apatite for.  Just because we are good at something does not automatically mean that we will love it.  And the danger here is that you will be funneled into a role that has more and more of these tasks just because you are good them.  And before you know it you will find yourself in a job that brings you no joy.

What next?

1. Identify your strengths. Notice what activities leave you energised and do what you can to build more of these into your day to day and your career.  If you are not sure, then Extended Disc Behavioural Profile will definitely be helpful for you.  

2. Clarify your weaknesses. Notice what activities drag you down and leave you feeling uninspired and bored.  Delegate as many of these as possible.  There must be others in your team who are better at these tasks than you!

3. Look for opportunities to capitalise on your strengths.  Leverage your strengths and build your skills even more in this area.  The pay off of doing this will be more job satisfaction and better results for you and your team.

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businessman having stress in the office

Leading through and beyond burnout

Imagine this….

You’re sitting in the car park at work with a splitting headache and with that sinking feeling of here we go again. The 3 coffees you’ve downed already to give you a bit of an energetic lift haven’t helped; in fact, you feel more than a little shaky. Your phone has lit up like a Christmas tree with fires you’re expected to put out, yet all you want to do is book a room at the nearest hotel, close the blinds and sleep for days.

Jane Benston

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

Why we must talk about menopause…

Let’s talk menopause

Yes! I’m going there.

Why? Because your ability to lead effectively and confidently relies on you being at your best – both physically and mentally.

Jane Benston

7 Ways To Increase Your Confidence At Work

7 Ways To Increase Your Confidence At Work

Is your lack of confidence and self belief killing your opportunities at work? 

Having confidence in yourself, your abilities and your capabilities to excel in your work matters.  Your level of confidence can mean the difference between getting stuck in a job year after year or getting noticed for new and exciting opportunities, promotions or positions.

Confidence is a very attractive quality.   When we exude confidence, we naturally attract others.  People want to listen to what we have to say, they follow our lead and we are more able to positively influence outcomes.

Having confidence will not only help you to be noticed for the good work you do, you are more likely to take on new and challenging projects allowing you to grow your skills and experience.

Confidence is a fundamental foundation of your role as a leader.  You can not excel as a leader without it.  Your team look to you for a sense of certainty and strong leadership. You must have confidence in your ability to lead your team, to communicate effectively, to make decisions and to take action.  Without it, your job as a leader will be a constant struggle.

I hear all too often from the women I work with that their number one challenge is their lack of confidence in their abilities as a leader.  When they overcome their own negative thoughts and self doubt … their role as a leader suddenly seems easier and much more fun.

There are a few simple tricks that can boost your confidence at work, whether you are suffering from a momentary loss of confidence or if self doubt has been a long term companion.

Give these strategies a go and notice the difference in how you feel and what you can achieve!

1.  Delete negative self talk.  Nothing brings you down quite like the inner monologue constantly telling you that you’re not good enough.  Take a moment to listen to what your inner critic is saying.  Is it supporting you or is it constantly dragging you down?  Make a commitment to yourself to no longer let your inner critic run the show!

2.  Fake it till you make it. Confidence is all about perception.  Acting confidently is the first step to feeling confident.  In the process of convincing others, you may actually convince yourself.

3.  Take courageous action.  Accomplishing things you don’t think possible is a sure fire way to boost your confidence. So say yes to that promotion, job opportunity, project or task outside your comfort zone … knowing that your confidence will only grow through taking courageous action.

As a mentor has said to me often, say yes and then work out how.  And you know what … It is through saying yes and working out how that my skills, knowledge and confidence have grown.

4.  Identify your strengths and capitalise on them. One of the best ways to build confidence is to get clear on what you are good at and find ways of integrating more of those into the work you do every day.  When you focus on your strengths, you will notice that you are more energised, engaged, motivated and self assured.

5.  Enjoy Your Job.  Look around any workplace and you will notice those who enjoy their job stand out.  They are engaged, positive, happy to contribute, proactive and cheerful. They are good to be around and have on the team.  When we enjoy our job we give more, contribute more and take more courageous action.  And with it our confidence grows.

6.  Don’t Undermine Yourself.  So often when we feel a crisis of confidence it is obvious to others, in our body language, in our words and in our actions.

When you shift how you hold yourself physically (head up, standing tall, shoulders back and relaxed) it can have an immediate impact on how you feel about yourself.  So step forward and hold yourself powerfully.  Find your power pose and go after what you want.

Similarly, choose your words wisely.  Never talk yourself down.  (Ladies… this is one we are particularly bad with when we doubt our abilities.)

7.  Look the part.  Dress for success.  The way we present ourselves impacts how we feel and how others perceive us. When we feel great about the image we are projecting, we automatically give off a sense of confidence in who we are and what we do.

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businessman having stress in the office

Leading through and beyond burnout

Imagine this….

You’re sitting in the car park at work with a splitting headache and with that sinking feeling of here we go again. The 3 coffees you’ve downed already to give you a bit of an energetic lift haven’t helped; in fact, you feel more than a little shaky. Your phone has lit up like a Christmas tree with fires you’re expected to put out, yet all you want to do is book a room at the nearest hotel, close the blinds and sleep for days.

Jane Benston

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

Why we must talk about menopause…

Let’s talk menopause

Yes! I’m going there.

Why? Because your ability to lead effectively and confidently relies on you being at your best – both physically and mentally.

Jane Benston

Are You Settling For Less?

Are You Settling For Less?

Have you ever found yourself going through the motions at work, where one year rolls into the next and you find yourself settling for less than you are capable of… just getting through the day, month or even the year?

Some years ago this was my lot in life.  I was settling for much less than I was capable of or deserved in my life.  I had found myself in a job I no longer enjoyed.  I was not being challenged or fulfilled and I knew with certainty that I had so much more to give. 

So why did I stay?  Like so many of us, I was lured by the desire to feel comfortable.  To stay with the devil I knew rather than taking the leap of faith into the unknown. The comfort and certainty of the role that was making me miserable somehow had a hold over me.

Fear was holding me back.  Fear of the unknown, fear of not being good enough, fear of being disconnected from people with who I really enjoyed working.  I had been firmly planted well within my comfort zone for too long and just couldn’t see my way out. 

Ok … so I knew I needed to do something different.  I had talked about it.  I had complained to friends and family that I was bored and unmotivated.  I had toyed with the idea of all sorts of different options… but I had done nothing.  Procrastination was my friend. 

Until enough was enough!

It dawned on me that my life was slipping by and I was just a passenger being taken for a ride.  I was living in the land of mediocre and if I wanted that to change … it was up to me.  So change I did and, as they say, the rest is history. 

The number one thing I learnt was that to truly experience life in all its glory, we need to consistently step outside our comfort zone.  

Yes – it is scary. Yes – it is uncomfortable. But the best things in life happen outside your comfort zone. 

The benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone

1. Experience More Happiness:  We seem to be on a constant mission to experience happiness. When we do something new, unfamiliar or achieve something for the first time, we are flooded with feelings of joy and happiness.  Psychologist Tim Pychyl saysWe experience the strongest positive emotional response when we make progress on our most difficult goals.” 

2. Experience More Growth: The people who grow the most are those who consistently put themselves in situations where they are outside their comfort zone. Growth happens when we step outside what is familiar.  When we fail to grow we find ourselves stuck, spinning our wheels, feeling uninspired and unexcited about life.

3. Conquer Fear:  Fear holds us back.  It is as simple as that. It stops us from achieving our potential, from doing what we really want in life and keeps us small.  By consistently stepping outside our comfort zone we become stronger, more resilient and more willing to try new things. 

4. Inspire Others:  To lead, inspire and influence others takes courageous action outside our comfort zone.  People want to follow where others have already been, to model their success and achievement.  Your action outside of your comfort zone will undoubtably influence or inspire others. 

If you want to experience a year that is different from the last, then you will need to do something different, step outside your comfort zone and build your capacity to act with courage.  Are you willing to do that?

“There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” (Nelson Mandela)

Ask yourself:

  • Are you settling for less?
  • Are you “settling” and living well within your comfort zone?
  • What would it feel like to achieve what you know you are capable of?

Isn’t it time to stop settling for less?  You are good enough, capable enough and you do have what it takes.  Life is too short to settle. Go out and step beyond your comfort zone.  I can assure you it will be worth the initial discomfort

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businessman having stress in the office

Leading through and beyond burnout

Imagine this….

You’re sitting in the car park at work with a splitting headache and with that sinking feeling of here we go again. The 3 coffees you’ve downed already to give you a bit of an energetic lift haven’t helped; in fact, you feel more than a little shaky. Your phone has lit up like a Christmas tree with fires you’re expected to put out, yet all you want to do is book a room at the nearest hotel, close the blinds and sleep for days.

Jane Benston

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

Why we must talk about menopause…

Let’s talk menopause

Yes! I’m going there.

Why? Because your ability to lead effectively and confidently relies on you being at your best – both physically and mentally.

Jane Benston