Not a Mind Reader

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Okay, team, we need to talk.

I just got off the phone with one of my clients, who had just had a meeting with her boss after recently returning from maternity leave (second kid, bloody gorgeous boy).

“He was SO surprised to hear I want to go up for that big role in the next 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 didn’t lose my ambitions when I got pregnant, that I am totally ready for the role, and welcome the travel, when the world opens up properly, post-corona, again.”

Here’s the thing. We can collectively sigh and role our eyes at the pale, male, stale view that her boss clearly has of her. Or we can ask ourselves who is responsible for his lack of knowledge.

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.

And… we all know what it’s like. Her boss is busy. He (unfortunately, but realistically) doesn’t spend his days contemplating and explicitly discussing her next career move. And as a result, 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. Your boss is not a mind reader, after all.

If my client hadn’t pushed for today’s meeting, then a colleague of hers would have likely gone up for the promotion. If she hadn’t shared with her boss – the WIN Way – that she was more than ready and more than willing to take on the challenge, someone else would have gotten this big step up, instead of her.

Fortunately, her story has a happy ending. Because she explicitly stated her intention to get that role, and once he was over his surprise, her boss got behind the idea. And he promised to push for that promotion with his superiors. According to my client, that 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. And as girls we have been taught that great work automatically gets rewarded (after all, it does at school) and we shouldn’t (have to) speak up about it.

So again: I get it. 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, hit me up. There are few things my team and I are better at than strategising these moves.

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