Being overlooked? Here’s why

Ever wonder to yourself “why am I being overlooked?” You are working hard. No… you are working really hard. You know you are good at want you do and you are getting great results. Your team members are engaged, love you and you know you are doing a great job building talent.

But yet…

You don’t feel valued.  You are not getting promoted.  And you suspect you are being paid less than your peers.

But why?

I blame The Good Girl Syndrome. It’s not the entire answer but it definitely plays a part for many women.

From an early age we learnt that being “good” got us recognition, praise and attention. I know this is my story.

As a little girl I was praised for being “good” when visiting friends. As I got older I spent hours perfecting my assignments and studying for long hours to get recognition for good grades. Then as I entered the workforce, working hard brought me promotions and opportunities without even looking for them.

So sticking to the model of working hard and following the system, structure and rules worked for a time… but then the interesting opportunities ran dry.

There is no doubt that working hard is a great strategy in our early career but it’s not enough as we step into the more senior leadership roles.

Relying on hard work alone, will only lead to resentment, frustration and ultimately burnout.

You are way too smart and have way too much to offer to remain overlooked and under appreciated. And, right now more than ever, organisations NEED what you have to offer.

It’s time to focus on what will get you a valued position at the leadership table.

If you are being overlooked… here’s what to do

1. Stop The Busy Bee Work.

For many women, it’s as simple as… they are working on the wrong things.

They are focused on the details rather than the big picture. They get trapped in the day to day implementation rather than being seen to be strategic thinkers who can move the business forward.

Don’t get me wrong. These tasks are important. But the question must be; are you the best person to be doing them or could you support one of your team members to take on this responsibility?

And when you focus on these tasks, what aren’t you getting around to doing? What big ticket projects or strategic pieces of work are you failing to complete in timely fashion?

Put it another way – you are a Busy Worker Bee when, to be truly seen, heard and valued, you need to be operating more like the Queen Bee.

Worker Bee work does not get you the recognition or access to the best roles or a seat at the leadership table. Queen Bee work does.

2. Get Visible.

Putting your head down and working hard usually means that you are too busy to be building strategic relationships and networking. If you want to stop being overlooked… you need to get visible.

You need to get known.  And you need to build relationships with the key decision makers in your business and in your industry. And like any relationships, business relationships take time and energy.

It’s time to get out from behind your desk and connect in person. Make time for coffee.  The people I have the best business relationships with are with those people who I’ve made time to meet in person in a more relaxed social setting.

And make sure that those that matter know what you do, what your career aspirations are and what value you add.

Career aspirations will never be realised if you keep them a secret!

3. Discover what part you play.

It’s now time for some soul searching. If you are being overlooked… there is usually a reason. We are usually doing something to contribute to the situations we find ourselves in.

I know. This is pretty hard to face up to at times. It would be so much easier if we could blame the boys club or the funding cuts or the leader who is blind to the talent they have right in front of them.

But the honest truth… there is always something we are doing that results in us being overlooked.

What is it for you? Let’s be honest.

Progress and change all starts with self awareness.

Is it that you’re focused on the Busy Worker Bee work? Is it that you are not blowing your own trumpet and letting people know about the results you and your team are getting? Is it that you are seen as difficult or unapproachable?

Is it that you are focused on driving the results at the expense of the team or is it that you are focusing on developing the team at the expense of delivering on the big picture business strategy?

Whatever it is… it’s very likely that it’s within your control to change.

Being overlooked is frustrating and can impact your confidence. But let’s see it as a sign that something needs to change.

The good news is… big change is usually not required. Tiny tweaks is all it takes.

Don’t stay stuck where you are…. being overlooked for the best roles.


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