Attention, Ambitious Woman: Speak Up!

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So this just happened…

I just got off the phone with one of my WINners, who had just had a meeting with her boss after recently returning to work after her maternity leave. 

“He was SO surprised to hear I want to go up for that promotion in the upcoming company re-org!” she said, exasperated. Clearly annoyed her boss was second-guessing her ambitions, she continued “I had to explain to him that I am totally ready for the role and welcome the travel, and that I got it all sorted at home.”

Here’s the thing. We can collectively sigh and role our eyes at the pale, male, stale-ness of her boss. And we totally should. And we should also ask ourselves who is responsible for his lack of knowledge of her ambitions. 

Granted, it’s totally her boss’ job to manage his team members in the best possible way. This obviously includes discussing their ambitions on a regular basis in order to allow them to do their best work at all times. 

And… we all know what it’s like. 

Her boss is busy. He (unfortunately, and realistically) doesn’t spend his days contemplating and explicitly discussing her next career move. And the squeaky wheel gets the grease, as the saying goes. 

So if you fail to speak up about your ambitions, Bob-down-the-corridor (who isn’t as good as you are at his job but does an awful lot of talking about it) gets that promotion, instead of you. 

If my client hadn’t pushed for today’s meeting and spoken up The WIN Way about her ambitions, then a colleague of hers would have likely gone up for the promotion. 

Fortunately, her story has a happy ending. Because she explicitly stated her intention to get that role, and once he got over his surprise, her boss got behind the idea. And he promised to push for that promotion with his superiors. According to my client, his support pretty much makes it a done deal. 

Now if you recognise this situation, where you are not in the habit of openly sharing your dreams and ambitions with the people that have a hand in actually making them happen, then first of all: I get it. 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking they must know your ambitions, based on the level of great work you’re churning out. As girls we have been taught that great work automatically gets rewarded (after all, it does at school), and that we shouldn’t speak up about it. So pro-actively speaking up about what you want to may not feel comfortable.

Again: I understand. And… it’s not working for you, is it? 

So do your current AND your future self a favour, and don’t just dream about your next career move, but get loud about it – with the right people. Don’t wait to be asked; step up and speak up! If you want help in navigating such a move (and then negotiating the heck out of it), then consider joining The WIN program, where I teach exactly how to do this in a way that gets serious results! 


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