I hated my annual performance development review, a few hours solely focused on dissecting my performance. It always felt like a battle, I’d need to be armoured up and prepared for. Even with the most supportive boss, it still felt like a fight to be recognised and respected. To be seen ready for the next step. It felt icky to really own my achievements and talk myself up, yet every year I over delivered and was under recognised.
Now I look back I can see a lot of that was with me. I thought that doing a great job and I thought that enough to get me noticed and ready for the next opportunity. It left me frustrated, feeling like I was failing and hating myself when less talented male colleagues got promoted.
I assumed that was enough. It wasn’t.
The truth was I was leaving my reputation to luck, trusting others to speak for me and assumptions about how I was perceived. When I needed to take responsibility for it.
To show up.
To speak up.
To shake things up.
TRUTH: It’s still not enough to leave this to others. It’s something I see my clients struggle with again and again. It’s reflected in the figures that corporate senior leadership is still a man’s world.
That fear of being judged for being arrogant, after a lifetime of being praised for humility and modesty. Which leaves them stuck, in jobs below their capability, less talented peers being promoted above them, not applying for that promotion, or having a conversation about an incredible new opportunity.
I worked with a client, who gave her all to a business for 6 years. Yet it was only when she was forced to take time off that she was invited to join the board.
In this blog I’ll be sharing the real reasons women struggle to self promote, and 5 simple steps to get started.
Why do Women in Senior Leadership Struggle to Self Promote?
If you struggle to self promote and really own your impact. Then you’re not alone at all. It’s epidemic within women in senior leadership, to feel uncomfortable owning their impact and influence.
New research from Wharton and Harvard finds when it comes to self-promotion, women systematically rate themselves lower than men do, even when their work is objectively better.
Through a series of questions, women outperformed men yet when asked to reflect back, men giving themselves an average score of 61, and women rating themselves at 45.
Read the full report here, it’s really insightful and powerful yet shows the work still to do to close the gender pay gap.
And what is behind this. The role modelling we see throughout our lives, women taking a work break to have children, men’s careers coming first and seeing men doing better when less talented.
The childhood beliefs that women still hold, are what is holding many back. Think about what you saw growing up. Applauded for being selfless. Putting others first. Negating our own needs.
I remember one particular time my gran said to me,“Little girls should be seen and not heard.” Not with malice and with a smile but it still hit home. I was being “too much, too loud.”
This is NOT about burning the patriarchy and man hating. We’re all part of the problem and part of the solution.
How Can Female Leaders Start to Self Promote
It all starts with YOU. To role model, self promoting with confidence and clarity. Owning your influence and impact. Without feeling icky. Or shameful.
It’s your responsibility to create your reputation, by what you say, think, feel and do. You are the custodian of your reputation to create the respect and recognition you deserve.
And not owning it leaves the ratio the same, of men just having a higher self perspective even if it’s not a higher level of performance.
Take this NOT as an accusation, there is no shame or blame here, but as a call to arms to own your boldness and brilliance. To role model self promoting your impact and influence, to change the ratio.
Responsibility = (Say + Think + Feel + Do Your Performance) + Self Promoting = Impact and Influence
5 Steps To Self Promote With Success
- Own it
Your performance WILL NOT speak for itself. Hitting your goals, delivering them brilliantly and boldly time after time is NOT enough. Share your success, talk it up and trust that it will take your reputation into your own hands. Start small, with accepting a compliment or acknowledging your role in a recent success.
2. Promote Your Performance
Start to share your wins, a compliment from a client, some great feedback or saved the company money. Share it with the team, your boss, on a company newsletter or on the company intranet. And if it helps, think that your sharing wins will make that path easier for other women. Make it the norm, instead of the never.
3. List of wins
Sit down and write out a list of wins in your life, achievements, challenges you’ve overcome and what you’re proud of. From childhood to now, big to small. That lady is WHO you already are, right here, right now. That’s your value and worth, days you don’t feel it go back and read it, to unlock that inner Beyonce! And keep adding to them as you grow. Dare to be Brave.
Put your hand up more, for the opportunities that scare you a little bit that are a stretch. In doing that you can start to think of all the reasons WHY you are THE person for that big new role. A reminder of your achievements and impact. Take a step at a time and nudge yourself towards it. That fear is simply a growing pain that you’re becoming MORE impactful and influential!
4. Support Crew
Have your support crew ready to cheer you on and promote you in the way that feels good. A mentor, a female peer or a long time friend. Have people that are there and see your impact and influence, the more you can show them your powerful impact the more you’ll build your reputation.
Still not ready to Self Promote .. Think about what is it costing you to stay modest and meek. How is it affecting you and your career? How do you feel?
A Final Nudge with love…
A bit woo but remember you’re a freak of nature for even existing.
You’re a 400 trillion to one freak of nature, that your mum and dad did that thing in that moment to make YOU!
There’s a reason you’re here beautiful, in your existence is hope and light, a difference to the world.
It might just need some work and a little time to find that fire again!
If you’ve found this useful, I’d love you to share? And which from the list above will you start with? Message me here to let me know.
If you want help with your own self promotion, I have just 2 VIP client spaces to work with me. Drop me a message or email me here
If you found this useful please share, and here’s my daily Clarity 10 min Kickstart to help you keep a clear head and that “balance”… just click here to download your FREE copy!