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From doing it all … to not!

From doing it all … to not!

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.   

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader.  It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity.  

So much of what we ‘do’ is tied up in how we see ourselves.   

Making the shift to seeing ourselves as a valuable leader can sometimes be difficult for women who’ve held the busy label for many years. However, in leadership, and in life in general, busy is the highway to burnout. No thanks!   

The shift in activity that comes with a leadership role, from doing to leading, can feel seismic, especially for those women who have made a career out of being known as the woman who gets things done. This reminds me of that infuriating quote/meme:  

‘If you want something done, ask a busy woman.’  

It’s such a patronising, manipulative ethos designed to simultaneously stroke a woman’s ego and leave her in the lurch of taking on the heavy lifting. At the risk of repeating myself, no thanks times infinity!  

While it’s not necessarily easy for a woman to step away from doing it all, it’s not impossible.  

In fact, it’s one of the most remarked upon outcomes of my work with mid-career women. Once they stop doing the busy, out of leadership scope work, women have the space and the capacity to tackle – and embrace – their leadership role of thinking, driving, leading and (depending on their leadership style) serving aspects. They can be visionary and strategic. They can guide rather than do.  

By definition, leadership is about thinking. The traits of good leadership are almost all conceptual rather than activity based. It’s analysis, facilitative thinking, enabling, communicating and decision making, generating and bringing to life opportunities. Deep, strategic, critical thinking, not (necessarily) the execution or the doing. A big picture perspective becomes essential to this process.  

In ‘busy’ doing work we can’t see the big picture. We’re stuck in getting sh*t done mode, ticking through the list. The result is a disproportionate workload that makes us feel like rubbish. It also leads to disengagement, stress and potentially even burnout.  

Getting caught up in the busy work often means we’re doing work that’s not taking advantage of our capabilities nor our potential. It’s often soul destroying and erodes self confidence.  

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should!  

When we spend time after hours and on weekends doing the ‘stuff’ that didn’t get completed in business hours we erode our boundaries which are designed to protect us.  

A side note: so many times I see ‘taking one for the team’ accompanying this ‘doing’ mode of operandi. This does us no favours and is a massive breach of our boundaries.  

Want an example?  

Picture a meeting room, and someone says ‘who wants to take the minutes?’ Of course, no-one wants to take the minutes. Who would? There’s a few moments of uncomfortable silence and then a woman raises her hand. So instead of contributing her expertise, experience and smarts to the discussion as a leader, she’s recording it.  

I think it’s important to note that this type of behaviour, ie not having allocated roles for meetings ahead of time, is really symptomatic of a poor organisational culture, but it doesn’t change the fact that rather than step into her leadership, a woman has relegated herself down the ladder. Sadly, this isn’t an isolated incident across the many, many women I’ve worked with.  

On this – as a leader you have an obligation to be a good role model. We all know that there’s gender inequality in the workplace. Statistically, women are more likely to put their hand up to volunteer for work that won’t progress their career.  What message are you sending the young women sitting around the table?  

When you don’t automatically volunteer to take on the “housekeeping” jobs you are role modeling for the young women at the table that they don’t always have to either.  And you never know…  you may just allow space for a bloke to put his hand up. 

So, how to make this transition from doing it all to not? 

We could ask the workplace to step up – ha!   

Change is always more embedded with long term stickiness when it’s self-directed.  

I’m a big proponent of what gets measured gets managed. Have you ever tried time tracking? It’s illuminating. You can’t argue with data that tells you exactly how much of your working day is spent involved in tasks that have no bearing on your leadership.  

Start with building better boundaries  

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. These are not flippy floppy boundaries – but boundaries protected with barbed wire!  Without barbed wire boundaries, there’s simply no time or space to effectively lead. Enough said.  

Boundaries in place? Great! Now we enforce them.  

Don’t be the first to ‘just get on with it’ or volunteer to do something just because nobody else is stepping up. Either delegate if that’s within your remit or politely decline.  

This applies to your personal life too. I was recently chatting to someone who was having a mini-grumble about a friend cancelling a lunch because they had to dole out basketball uniforms for their local community club. Here’s the kicker – the uniform coordinator’s kids had long stopped playing yet she was still stuck in that role! 

And now for a word on delegation.  

It’s an art and a science in itself, or it could be. Allocate the task, check understanding and then let people do their jobs! Clear communication of your expectations is key. Clarity will get the best and the most out of your team and will help them stay on track and focused on delivering your strategy or vision. 

This brings me to the concept of trust.  

Trust your team, allow people to get on with it, scaffolded by your clearly communicated expectations.  

Being helpful, useful and reliable – focused on doing the do may have supported your career progression up to this point.  But sadly, from this point forward it’s going to hold you back.   

As a leader you need to move from the role of do-er/implementer and shift your focus to be one of leading others to do that execution.  

Leadership is about enabling, and at the core? It’s a conscious decision on how you want to show up as a leader. This is not something you need to explore alone – let’s have a conversation about how I can be of support as you transition from a reliable doer to an exceptional leader.  

 

 

 

 

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What the Queen taught me about unconscious bias

What The Queen Taught Me About Unconscious Bias

 

As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all.  There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.  

Here we were, witnessing history.   

This is going to be one of those moments we will talk about in years to come and ask, “where were you when you heard the Queen had died?”   

I will always remember the gorgeous Airbnb in Brunswick Heads in Northern NSW – because just like when the twin towers came down… I was on holidays. 

How about you?  Where were you when you learnt the Queen had died?  

I will also remember my surprise at the degree of sadness and loss I’ve felt. 

Not just for the 70 years of this amazing woman’s life of leadership and service – but also for the pure fact that here was a woman ahead of her time, excelling in her leadership role long before it was common for women to have a place at the leadership table.   

She came to leadership not by choice but through duty.  At just 21 she was thrust into a role so few of us would want, let alone excel in. Yes, she has made mistakes – but haven’t we all.   

What struck me most while I watched her funeral, was my disappointment as I realised we are unlikely to have another female monarch for at least the next 3 generations.  Our new King and the next 2 in line were all on display for us to see. All men. 

And here’s the lesson for me.   

My own unconscious bias… towards a preference for a Queen rather than a King as the head of the monarchy.   

We’ve got so accustomed to the style of leadership the Queen brought to the role. For 70 years we’ve seen no other leadership style.  We’re become comfortable and familiar with having a woman in the role.   

Is it possible the new King – a man – will do a great job too?   

Probably.  

However right now, I’m having a hard time seeing Charles as the head of the monarchy.  Not only because I don’t warm to him.  I don’t see him having the same caring touch, poise, grace or sparkle of the queen – all qualities I’ve come to expect from the Crown.   

But we are going to have to let go of what we’ve come to expect and allow him to Lead His Way.  His leadership style will be different.  He will bring not only his own strengths, passions and quirks – but also the male perspective.   

Just like any new leader – we need to give him a chance to find his way.   

Which brings me back to unconscious bias. 

As we strive to bring more women to the leadership table – we need to be aware of the unconscious bias that is undoubtedly playing out each and every day in workplaces across the globe.  Until recently, senior leadership roles were almost exclusively held by men.  We became comfortable and accustomed to the style of leadership they brought to the table – just like we became accustomed to the style of leadership Queen Elizabeth demonstrated over such a prolonged period.   

Today, as I’ve pondered the Queens final farewell as she was finally laid to rest, I’ve been shocked by my own unconscious bias, and it’s left me wondering about the degree of impact unconscious bias continues to have on hiring managers around the world.   

I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

 

 

Image source:Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP

 

 

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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.

What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

Every day I speak to women who are waiting.

They are waiting to feel smart enough, good enough, old enough or for someone to notice their talent or how hard they are working.  

It shouldn’t surprise me… because I remember a time when I was waiting to feel ready for the next step in my career.  I had no idea why I was waiting or what being ready would look like or feel like… but I was waiting.

Career progress is only achieved when we stop waiting and become proactive in our development.

If you are waiting to step up to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition… it’s time to stop waiting.  

Here are the 7 top reasons I hear from women about why they are waiting.

  1.  Waiting to feel worthy or good enough.   If this is you – it’s likely you see yourself with less potential or skill than others do!  Imposter Syndrome is often part of the story where you allow your inner critic to influence your confidence and self-belief. 

One talented leader I worked with was waiting to “feel” like a leader before speaking up in a leadership team meeting.  Another was waiting to feel more confident before agreeing to present her ideas to the board – even though she was passionate and expert in her field. 

  1.  Waiting to be old enough. Do you have a belief that you need to be of a certain age to be considered for a particular level of leadership or to be taken seriously? 

I have worked with high achieving young women who have rocketed into positions of influence at a young age but then feel they have to wait for their age to catch up, to take the next step.  

  1.  Waiting to be ready.  Ready for what?  Who knows?  But still you wait! Perhaps this is linked to feeling good enough or worthy enough.  It is certainly linked to the fear of failure and the need to protect yourself from risk.  

And sometimes it’s got nothing at all to do with professional capabilities.  One woman told me she was waiting to lose weight and buy a new corporate wardrobe before she started looking for a new job.

  1.  Waiting to be knowledgeable enough.  Do you think you need more knowledge, skill or training to be able to take the next step?  Perhaps you do!  But it’s highly likely you don’t.  

If you don’t believe me… seek advice from someone who knows you well and understands the requirements of the types of opportunities you want to be considered for.  My guess is that the quickest and most effective way to get the knowledge and experience you think you need, is by saying YES and taking the next step.   

  1.  Waiting until it is your turn.  Getting promoted because you have done your time went out of vogue years ago!  Career progression is now all about taking opportunities and going after what you want.  You will be given opportunities based on the value you can offer and being the best fit for the role not because of your years of tenure within the organisation.
  2.  Waiting until you are tapped on the shoulder. This strategy may have worked well for you in your early career – but at this level of leadership, hard work and results isn’t enough to get you noticed.  I know it should be but it’s not! 

Progressing your career is up to you.  It is about raising your profile, creating opportunities and taking steps to make it clear that you are the obvious choice for promotion or consideration for inclusion on an exciting project.

  1.  Waiting until your circumstances change.  Most of us have a lot going on outside of work which at times can impact what we are capable of or prepared to take on at work. Kids, holidays, moving home, weddings, illness, COVID!  These are all good reasons to take a step back but are you using your circumstances as an elegant excuse?

Stop waiting and take action!

If you recognise yourself in any of these, perhaps it is time to take your foot off the brake, lift your finger off the pause button and get into action.  

You are already good enough and experienced enough and you already know enough. If you are waiting for someone to notice your brilliance and hand you your perfect job, you could be waiting a very long time!

Your professional fulfilment and growth is up to you.  Go out and grab it with both hands… NOW!

And know … you are already enough!

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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Jane Benston

My guiding word for 2023

One little fact about me that you probably already know is that I love creating space and time to set goals and build a plan. Setting aside specific time to create an annual, high level plan, and a more specific 90 day plan is non-negotiable with me and I’m completely lost and unproductive if I don’t create my weekly success plan

Jane Benston

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

Is your self criticism getting in the way of your professional growth?

Is your self criticism getting in the way of your professional growth?

Many mid-career professional women are overly critical and hard on themselves.  I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that!

They’re great at identifying what they could improve on, but not-so-great at identifying what they’re already exceptional at.

They’re skilled at setting high goals for themselves and ticking things off their to-do lists, but not-so-skilled at celebrating their wins along the way.

They’re phenomenal at seeing everyone else’s gifts, but not-so-phenomenal at recognising their own talents.

The most terrible thing about self criticism, is that it tends to hold women back in their careers – they question the worthiness of their contributions, keep quiet and stay small.

Because of this, they don’t get the recognition and promotions they deserve …

WHICH JUST PERPETUATES THE CYCLE OF SELF CRITICISM! 

But don’t despair.  If you’ve struggled with being overly self critical, I have some tried and tested tips to help you.

One – Get clear on how your self criticism looks.

Everyone’s self criticism shows up in different ways. Recognising how yours is presenting itself is crucial if you want to put a kink in the cycle and choose a different path for yourself.

Is your self criticism leading you to speak unkindly to yourself?

Is it leading you to say ‘YES’ to anything and everything that is asked of you (even if your calendar is already full to the brim or the request is out of the scope of your role?)

Is it holding you back from sharing your innovative ideas in meetings?

ASK YOURSELF: How does my self criticism show up at work or in the way I lead? How is it influencing my actions and behaviours?

2 – Identify the impact your self criticism is having on your career.

We can sometimes be fooled into thinking that our self criticism is serving our careers …

“It keeps me focussed and drives me to take action!”

“It stops me from growing too big for my boots! I don’t ever want to be a leader with an ego!”

“It makes me likeable – my team loves me!”

But while all of this may be well and true, self criticism also has a way of hindering our career growth …

It can keep you stuck in doing mode, rather than being a strategic visionary.

It can lead to you not chasing new opportunities.

It can result in you staying hidden and therefore not being recognised for promotions.

And all these things get in the way of you being seen as the amazing leader you are. 

ASK YOURSELF: How has my self criticism fooled me into thinking it’s helping me? How does it hold me back from stepping into all I am capable of? 

3 – Get support

Having a community of like-minded women around you who understand the challenges of being a mid-career professional, who help you see when your self criticism is rearing its ugly head and who celebrate your gifts, makes a real difference.

Knowing you are not alone in this struggle is game changing!

Self criticism amongst talented mid career women is common, so let’s not beat ourselves up about it.  But at the same time – let’s agree to do something about it.  

Be reassured that with a little focused attention we can shift our habitual patterns of thinking away from being  self critical to focus on our achievements, talents and self worth.  

And simply having people around us who ‘get it’ and who cheer us on, can have the most profound impact on how we perceive ourselves.

In fact, it’s possibly the most profound module that has the biggest impact for the participants of IGNITE, my 8 week group coaching program for mid-career professional women! 

Interested in exploring this topic more?

Explore my group coaching program, IGNITE.

Have a read of these helpful articles – ‘If You’re Beating Yourself Up – Stop It!’ andDo you need to share the load?’.

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

Cool young designer talking in phone in office

The danger of the shoulder tap

From the time we enter the workforce, we’re programmed to believe that being headhunted is a good thing. We work hard for our talent to be recognised by the powers that be, in the hope that they simply can’t help but throw opportunities our way!

Jane Benston

My guiding word for 2023

One little fact about me that you probably already know is that I love creating space and time to set goals and build a plan. Setting aside specific time to create an annual, high level plan, and a more specific 90 day plan is non-negotiable with me and I’m completely lost and unproductive if I don’t create my weekly success plan

Jane Benston

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

Plan for success with a 90-day plan

Plan for success with a 90-day plan

Do you have a tangible plan in place to support you to get your career from where it is, to where you want it to be? 

Something that outlines your key priorities, guides your actions and keeps you focussed and on track?

If you don’t, know that you’re not alone … many mid-level professional women I meet don’t have a plan in place for their success.  They often tell me they know what they don’t want – but are unable to articulate for themselves or others what they do want.  

Which usually means, they aren’t quite where they want to be in their careers because of it.

Why are 90 day plans so important?

When we don’t have a clear vision or a plan, we tend to ‘float about’ doing bits and pieces of everything.

Our days and actions lack intention and direction and while we are still being busy, we’re not being as effective as we could be, nor are we working to our full potential.

A 90 day plan helps you get clear about where you do and do not want to be adding value in your workplace.

Rather than being everything to everyone and the ‘Jack (Jill) of all trades’, your plan helps you stay focussed, in your lane and moving in the direction of the growth, impact and recognition you crave and are more than capable of.

90 day plans really do have the potential to be the stepping stone to your success – I’ve seen it happen time and time again!

How to create your 90 day plan

1 – Start with the end in mind

In order to get to where you want to be, you first need to know where you want to go!

Consider for yourself – what would you like to be doing/working on/experiencing/have completed in your workplace in 90 days?

Be aspirational and innovative, but also be realistic (there is only so much you can get done in 90 days after all!)

Is there a project you want to initiate and get off the ground?

Is there something you want to have finalised and signed off?

Is there a new way of showing up in meetings you want to aspire to?

2 – Let go of the less important

Many of us waste many hours in our week doing things that don’t ultimately support us to move forward in our careers …

Being available to everyone – all of the time, micro-managing others, being a ‘YES’ woman, constantly doubting ourselves – the list goes on and on.

Make a note of all the things that are standing between you and where you want to be in your career so you can recognise them when they arise, and choose a different path for yourself.

3 – Create an environment for success

Now that you’re clear on the things that are standing between you and where you want to be, you can create an environment for success.

This could include doing external things like shutting your door when you’re in deep work mode, being focussed and intentional in meetings, or encouraging your team to independently problem solve …

Or internal things like seeking out professional supervision for support, working on your self belief and confidence, or connecting with a community of fellow mid-level career women who understand you and the unique challenges you face in your workplace. (Join my FREE online community for mid career professional women here!)

4 – Write it down

It’s one thing to know where you want to focus your time and energy, but ambition is fruitless without a plan. 

Write down your goals, schedule time to work on them in your calendar, and then commit!

5 – Review

At the end of the 90 days, set time aside to review your progress. 

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get all your goals ticked off – learn from it!

Did your commitment waiver, and do you need support to stay on track?

Did you get inundated with other work, and do you need to share the load?

Did you put too many goals on your plate, and set yourself up to fail?

From there, you can create another plan for your next 90 days!

6 – Celebrate

Goal setting quickly becomes a chore if we’re not celebrating our progress along the way. 

Don’t just celebrate your big wins – celebrate your small ones too!

You spoke up in a meeting, even when you felt scared to? AMAZING!

You got a project off the ground? EXCELLENT!

You said ‘no’ and honoured your boundaries, when you’d normally say ‘yes’? GO YOU!

These are all incredible achievements that deserve to be celebrated.

____________________________________________________________________

Need 1:1 help getting clear on where you want to take your career and how to create a 90 day plan that gets you from A to B?

Book in for a Leadership Support Session here, and together we’ll create a plan for your success!

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

Cool young designer talking in phone in office

The danger of the shoulder tap

From the time we enter the workforce, we’re programmed to believe that being headhunted is a good thing. We work hard for our talent to be recognised by the powers that be, in the hope that they simply can’t help but throw opportunities our way!

Jane Benston

My guiding word for 2023

One little fact about me that you probably already know is that I love creating space and time to set goals and build a plan. Setting aside specific time to create an annual, high level plan, and a more specific 90 day plan is non-negotiable with me and I’m completely lost and unproductive if I don’t create my weekly success plan

Jane Benston

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

The hidden cost of the Open Door Policy

The hidden cost of the Open Door Policy

Regardless of whether you are working from the office or from home, operating with an open door policy may seem like a good idea… but is it really?

Being available may have been drummed into you as the right thing to do, but there’s a hidden cost.

When you have lots of people demanding your attention, or relying on you for direction, the day’s and weeks can easily slip by without achieving much at all.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of being busy without being effective when you are at everyone’s beck and call.

Many mid-career professional women tell me that being responsive, available and having an ‘open door policy’, is what they think they need to do to get recognised as a leader.

But this isn’t true.

In fact, working in this way can harm your career progression.

In order to be seen as an effective leader, you need to focus your time and attention on those activities that have the biggest impact.

Effective leaders don’t just buzz around helping everyone else meet their goals. They have strong boundaries around their time, protective of their energy and intentional about their outputs. 

While effective leaders still support their team, they do so in a way that is structured and on their terms.

I want you to know that it’s okay to not jump to respond to people’s requests and queries. 

When you work reactively like this you:

  • Open your focus and creativity up to constant interruption
  • Get caught up in the day-to day doing in your workplace (as opposed to the bigger picture strategic and innovative thinking that leaders do)
  • Work extra hard, putting in long hours without always achieving the results required.
  • Keep yourself and your career stuck, and put roadblocks in the way of your progression.

Here’s some ways you can continue to support your team while also staying focused and getting seen as the leader you truly are.

1. Carve out time to respond

In most instances, nothing is so urgent that it can’t wait. I suggest carving out a pocket of time each workday to respond to people’s requests and queries. 

With a few hours passed you may even find that many of them have been resolved, without even needing your input. 

It’s amazing how time and space can encourage independent critical thinking!

2. Be okay with saying “no”

Just because someone asks you to respond to a question or support them with something, doesn’t mean you have to.

Sure, your role may mean that certain responsibilities lie with you, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t say “no” to things that lie outside of this, or, where appropriate, first encourage your team, peers or stakeholders to come up with a solution themselves.

Very often, we teach people how to treat us. If you are always available, you can rest assured that people will take the pathway of least resistance and get you to do the heavy lifting! 

3. Keep your eye on the prize 

When you’re a helpful person who prides themselves on being a team player, it can be easy to press pause on your work to support others. 

And while this is admirable, it’s not always serving your career.

To help you uphold your boundaries, say “no” and stay in your lane, I encourage you to keep your eye on the prize.  The prize really is about doing the work that matters most to you, your team and the organisation.  By doing this you will ultimately get recognised as a leader and receive the promotion you deserve!

I know it’s hard to turn down people’s requests for help, or tell them they have to wait.

But remembering why you’re doing it and how your career will thank you for it, can really help!

You can still have boundaries and be a respected and much loved teammate or manager. In fact, these boundaries will make you an even greater role model!

Want to learn more about how to reclaim your time and energy so you can focus on the bigger, more strategic elements of your role? My 8-week group coaching program for mid-career professional women – IGNITE – could be just the thing for you. Click here to find out more

 

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

Cool young designer talking in phone in office

The danger of the shoulder tap

From the time we enter the workforce, we’re programmed to believe that being headhunted is a good thing. We work hard for our talent to be recognised by the powers that be, in the hope that they simply can’t help but throw opportunities our way!

Jane Benston

My guiding word for 2023

One little fact about me that you probably already know is that I love creating space and time to set goals and build a plan. Setting aside specific time to create an annual, high level plan, and a more specific 90 day plan is non-negotiable with me and I’m completely lost and unproductive if I don’t create my weekly success plan

Jane Benston

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

Embracing Your Unique Leadership Style

Embracing Your Unique Leadership Style

What springs to your mind when I say the word ‘leader’?

Extroverted? Charismatic? Assertive? Driven? Experienced? 

It’s easy to think that in order to be recognised as a leader, you need to have a certain set of skills, or act and do things in a particular way.

For many mid-career professional women I know, the (outdated!) stereotypes of what it means to be a great leader don’t resonate with them. 

In fact, they feel deterred by the boxes they think they have to tick in order to step into a leadership role, and they stay small and stuck in their careers because of it.

If this resonates with you, I have good news …

The easiest way for you to become an effective, respected and successful leader is to simply, BE YOU!

In this day and age there is no one set of characteristics that define a great leader and you no longer have to contort yourself to try and fit a square peg (you!) into a round hole (who you think you need to be!)

What was once considered a great leader is morphing at a rapid pace and I’m happy to say that there’s now room for all personalities, skills and styles at the leadership table. 

Some of the most incredible leaders I know are compassionate, vulnerable, introverted, quirky, playful and gentle …

All traits that, a decade ago, wouldn’t have been celebrated in a leader but thankfully, now are.

These women are the ones who are shifting workplace cultures.

Expanding the boundaries of what’s possible.

Creating enormous organisational growth.

Getting seen and being promoted.

I want you to press pause and consider …

How do you feel about being a leader? What thoughts and emotions come up for you?

What would make you a great leader? (Don’t be modest – shout your praises from the rooftop!)

What’s holding you back from stepping into a leadership role (or growing into your next level of leadership) in your workplace? 

As women, we have a tendency to be critical of ourselves. I want you to know that simply, because you are you, you are worthy and capable of being a great leader.

You don’t need to tick any boxes, or change who you are – you are enough.

If you’d love some support honing in on what makes you a great leader and the steps you can start taking to get the recognition you deserve, I invite you to join IGNITE.

Ignite is our 8 week group online group coaching program for mid-career women who are ready to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition. 

Click here to find out more.

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

Cool young designer talking in phone in office

The danger of the shoulder tap

From the time we enter the workforce, we’re programmed to believe that being headhunted is a good thing. We work hard for our talent to be recognised by the powers that be, in the hope that they simply can’t help but throw opportunities our way!

Jane Benston

My guiding word for 2023

One little fact about me that you probably already know is that I love creating space and time to set goals and build a plan. Setting aside specific time to create an annual, high level plan, and a more specific 90 day plan is non-negotiable with me and I’m completely lost and unproductive if I don’t create my weekly success plan

Jane Benston

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

Quit being busy and get more strategic!

Quit being busy and get more strategic!

If you want to be seen as a leader you must be strategic and work towards the bigger goals of your organisation.

Being busy does not make you a good leader.

Being stuck in the weeds of the day-to-day does not make you a leader.

Great leaders create time and space to be strategic, solve the big problems and focus on projects that impact the goals of the organisation.

Sadly, many of the super talented mid-career professional women I speak with are failing to truly lead.

They have the capacity and capability to be exceptional leaders – but they are too bogged down in the busy work to focus on the work that matters.

They’re tied up doing Busy Bee work when what they really want and need to be doing is Queen Bee work (you can read more about this here) – and they’re exhausted and frustrated because of it.

They are being overlooked for the best opportunities, feel overwhelmed by their huge workload, and have no idea how to break free of their massive to-do list.

Can you relate?

The truth is – working harder will not get you out of this pickle. In fact, being hardworking, helpful, reliable, and good at your JOB is in part what got you into this situation. Now it’s time to let go of those habits and find some new ways of working.

The habits that supported you to excel as a valued team member are not the habits that will get you seen as an exceptional leader.

As I like to say – what got you to this stage in your career, will not take you to the next level.

It’s now time to install some new habits. The habits of a great leader.

Quit being busy and start being strategic.

Here’s where I’d suggest you start….

Put aside 90 minutes in your calendar, one day a week, to focus on the big picture strategic work.

Pop it in your calendar and guard it with barbed wire (that would be the farm girl in me coming out!) Commit to showing up, week in and week out. No excuses and no exceptions.

This appointment with yourself is as important as every other appointment in your calendar. Or even more important. Value this time. Value the work you’ll get done in this time.

You have to create time.

It will not miraculously turn up in your calendar.

There will always be tasks to complete and to-do’s vying for your attention.

True leaders understand the importance of stepping away from Busy Bee tasks and intentionally creating space to put on their strategic hat.

Can this feel uncomfortable or achievable when your to-do list is lengthy?

Of course!

BUT you will soon see that just 90 short minutes a week will not only move the dial on your most important projects, it will also have a positive impact on your career growth. (read this for some practical pointers on how to find more time in your days!)

So, my question today is – will you commit to making this change?

This one small tweak to your week will create massive change to the way you show up as a leader.

Like some more simple strategies to help you quit being busy and start being more strategic? Our 8-week group coaching program for mid-career professional women – IGNITE – could be just the thing for you. Click  to find out more.

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

Cool young designer talking in phone in office

The danger of the shoulder tap

From the time we enter the workforce, we’re programmed to believe that being headhunted is a good thing. We work hard for our talent to be recognised by the powers that be, in the hope that they simply can’t help but throw opportunities our way!

Jane Benston

My guiding word for 2023

One little fact about me that you probably already know is that I love creating space and time to set goals and build a plan. Setting aside specific time to create an annual, high level plan, and a more specific 90 day plan is non-negotiable with me and I’m completely lost and unproductive if I don’t create my weekly success plan

Jane Benston

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

You are already capable

You are already capable

Have you noticed that many women underestimate their abilities and fail to shine a light on their performance? 

Are you one of those women?

Perhaps, at times, you have thought you needed to know more, learn more or have more experience to be taken seriously, seek promotion or allow your true value to be seen.

If you are … you are absolutely not alone.

No doubt you’ve heard about the studies that have repeatedly found that men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women underestimate both…. while their performance is of equal quality.

A study by HP found that women only applied for a promotion when they believed they met 100% of the qualifications listed for the job. Men were happy to apply when they thought they could meet 60% of the job requirements.

Ladies, if we want to have more of an impact at the leadership table, it is time for us to shift our thinking.

You do not need to learn more. You do not need to be more experienced. You do not need to wait for permission or to be tapped on the shoulder. And, most importantly, you do not need to wait until you feel more comfortable and confident in your abilities.

What you really need is to get out there and get the experience by doing the do. 

You need to apply for that next promotion… even when your experience does not meet 100% of the criteria. You need to step up and tackle that high profile project that will get the attention of those that matter.

Next time you catch yourself thinking you need that next level of expertise before taking a step … STOP IT. You already have enough, know enough and are enough to take action from exactly where you are right now.

We women will never break through the glass ceiling or truly settle into our place at the leadership table in the numbers that will really make a difference while we allow ourselves to think we need everything to be perfect before we make the next move.

It is time to break the long held patterns of thinking and to create some new rules to live and work by. No more waiting, perfecting and pondering.   It is about taking action, surrounding yourself with great people and learning as you go.

Here’s how to build the courage to step into all you are capable of –

  1. Notice your wins. Each week there are things to be proud of.  Sometimes they will be big things that are hard to ignore – but more often than not they will be small, almost insignificant, but wins all the same.  The more you focus on the things you do well – the more you’ll notice all that you are capable of.

  2.  Stop listening to your inner critic. Your inner critic is there to keep you safe and free from danger. But don’t believe everything it’s telling you is true. Look for evidence that you can rather than listening to all the reasons why you can’t.

  3.  Don’t do it alone. Surround yourself with a network of other advancing people who will lift you up, challenge you and support your growth. This may mean finding some new people to hang with.

Looking for a positive community of women to lift you higher.  Join us in Leading Ladies – a free group for mid-career professional women.

  1. Know you’ve got this. It is time to be brave and take action in spite of your fear and uncertainty. You are already smart enough, talented enough, experienced enough!  All that’s missing is you believing that you can.  It is only through putting yourself out there that you will prove that to be true. 

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

Cool young designer talking in phone in office

The danger of the shoulder tap

From the time we enter the workforce, we’re programmed to believe that being headhunted is a good thing. We work hard for our talent to be recognised by the powers that be, in the hope that they simply can’t help but throw opportunities our way!

Jane Benston

My guiding word for 2023

One little fact about me that you probably already know is that I love creating space and time to set goals and build a plan. Setting aside specific time to create an annual, high level plan, and a more specific 90 day plan is non-negotiable with me and I’m completely lost and unproductive if I don’t create my weekly success plan

Jane Benston

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

7 common mistakes women make that leave them overlooked for promotions

7 common mistakes women make that leave them overlooked for promotions

Being overlooked for a promotion, pay rise or being excluded on a high profile project can be devastating.  I’ve seen it rock women to their core, put a dent in their self-belief and knock their confidence for a six. 

And … I’ve seen it be the wake-up call they so desperately needed.  It’s shaken them out of a place of complacency and provided them with an opportunity to reassess how they are going about building a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Here are 7 common mistakes I see mid-career professional women make that leave them overlooked for promotion.

Regardless of whether you are looking for a promotion now or in a couple of years time, ask yourself – “Am I making any of these mistakes?” 

Mistake # 1: They fly under the radar

You cannot and will not be promoted if no one knows who you are and the value you bring to the team.  If you want to be seen as a leader you must get comfortable with raising your profile, getting seen and allowing your voice to be heard.  Flying under the radar might feel safe – but it’s not what quality organisations are looking for in their leaders.

Mistake # 2: They expect their hard work will be rewarded

You may be proud of your “strong work ethic” and it’s possible that you’ve even been promoted because of it in the past – but at this level of leadership, hard work is not enough. 

Stepping up to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition requires you to work smarter.  It’s time to double down on prioritising your time to focus on the tasks that will have the biggest impact.  Sometimes that means slowing down and taking time out to think.  Leaders are employed to think – not just do.

Mistake #3: They wait too long

Positioning yourself for promotion needs to begin well before the opportunities present themselves.  It takes time, focus and strategic intent.  Sadly, women often wait until they have out-grown the role they are in before they start thinking about what’s next.  It’s never too early to position for your next ideal role.

Mistake #4: They leave it up to chance

Wishing, waiting and hoping you’ll be considered for the best career opportunities is not a suitable plan. At this level of leadership, you need to step into the driving seat and direct your own career path.  

Mistake #5: They fail to ask

As a fiercely independent woman who has achieved a lot on your own, asking for help is not necessarily in your DNA.  So, let me make this abundantly clear – asking for support, guidance and direction is not a weakness.  It’s a smart, effective strategy that if you choose to embrace, will open many doors.

So, let’s start with the obvious question.  Have you spoken with anyone within your organisation or your network about your desire to progress your career?  If they don’t know – they can’t help you.  

Mistake #6 They get distracted by busyness

Taking control of your career pathway takes focus, time and attention.  Many women I speak to have missed out on a promotion because they have allowed the busyness of their role (or their life) get in their way of doing what needs to be done to position themselves for the roles they want. 

Mistake #7 They rely on their manager

Waiting for your manager to drive your professional development and career progression is a recipe for disaster.  Your professional development is up to you.  It’s up to you to get clear on what type of role you want next and what you need to do to get there.  If you want something – new, different, better – it’s time to get strategic and go after it.

Which of these 7 mistakes do you see yourself making?

Whichever it is – there is a solution.  Let’s commit to doing a little work now so when the next opportunity pops up, you are ready.  I would hate for you to miss out on another role that is just perfect for you.

We are currently looking for 7 mid-career women who are ready to breakthrough what’s holding them back and step up to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  If that’s you, I invite you to join us in our next intake of Ignite – our 8 week group coaching program.  Click here to find out more. 

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

Cool young designer talking in phone in office

The danger of the shoulder tap

From the time we enter the workforce, we’re programmed to believe that being headhunted is a good thing. We work hard for our talent to be recognised by the powers that be, in the hope that they simply can’t help but throw opportunities our way!

Jane Benston

My guiding word for 2023

One little fact about me that you probably already know is that I love creating space and time to set goals and build a plan. Setting aside specific time to create an annual, high level plan, and a more specific 90 day plan is non-negotiable with me and I’m completely lost and unproductive if I don’t create my weekly success plan

Jane Benston

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston