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. 



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