Have you ever been in a meeting room and you were amazed by this colleague who sells himself so well? You know that he arrives late and leaves early or even sleeps (yep, I had that) at the office and still he is the one being promoted!
Let’s face it, ladies! Sometimes, we are just not the best at promoting ourselves and own our successes. There is nothing to be ashamed of!
Why is it so difficult for us to make our successes visible?
First and foremost, a lot of us seek harmony in our teams and are scared to come across as arrogant. And more importantly, we fear to be judged. Being judged as a woman in the workplace is a day-to-day occurrence. From my own experience, I know that women have to perform 200% more then men and we are always screened with regards to every detail – not only our performance but sadly also the way we interact or even what we wear (yep, also happened to me).
Interestingly, I got judged much more often by other women than men. The judgement of my office clothing was by a fellow female manager (I just want to stress here that I DID NOT come to the office in a mini-skirt, I know office etiquette). Obviously, my colleague used criticizing the outfit of her female colleagues to get ahead. No comment on that strategy…
When I talk to my friends who are also self-accomplished career women, I tend to hear the same. They face a lot of judgement by female colleagues and bosses. Therefore, we as women need to stop judging other women. In the end, we will only harm ourselves.
Another reason why we tend to be overlooked is that from a very early age onwards, we are taught not to brag and be humble. We think that good work will get noticed and that there is no need to put ourselves in the spotlight. I am sorry to tell you that it is not. You have to make yourself visible and get noticed!
TURN ON THAT SPOTLIGHT AND SHINE!!!
The more I progressed in my career and also as a founder, I realized that it is necessary to remind other people – this does not mean that you have to brag and show-off. There are some really good strategies to achieve to get noticed:
I really do not like the expressions “sell yourself” or “promote yourself”. I think they have a really negative connotation and they rather hold me back than encourage me to stand up for myself. I try to tell myself what I need to do is “make my successes visible”, “keep coworkers and bosses up-to-date about my progress” and “inspire others”. Yes, I really mean the last bit. I think if more women speak up for themselves and make their achievements visible, more women will stop feeling bad about it and do the same.
Another good strategy is not to wait to be asked by your boss about what you are working on. When he/she starts asking, it might already be too late and they might think that you are doing nothing at all. In the next team meeting, just present some of the tasks you have accomplished recently. If you feel insecure to just present your work, ask the team for advice. Everybody will feel involved, you can improve your work and you have the chance to show what you are working on and that you are good at it.
If you have no weekly or bi-weekly meeting with your boss as yet, be proactive and ask for it. It will not only give you the chance to update your boss, but they will realize your successes and challenges and you have the chance to ask important questions regarding your work.
Networking is key – and it can boost your ego. Whether you are employed or running your own business, it is crucial to meet like-minded people. I often do not realize myself what I have achieved already, because we tend to only focus on the challenges. If you talk to people who have faced the same struggles, you will start realizing your successes.