“I just got passed over for a promotion – again. I get good performance reviews and my boss says I’m doing a good job, but that doesn’t seem to matter. And the worst of it that the woman who got the promotion doesn’t even know as much as I do. What gives?” Sheila
Cheez, Sheila, I know exactly how you feel. I remember when something like this happened to me – and was I ticked off! And when it happened, I didn’t have nice things to say about the woman or the boss. But when I decided to become more strategic, I realized why she got it and I didn’t. Once I saw the situation differently, I changed a couple things. I left that company and took my new skills with me – and it made a big difference.
Here are three things you can do so you don’t miss the next promotion:
1 – Be proactive rather than reactive. Many of us learned that if we did a good job, we’d get noticed and be promoted. That happens sometimes, but not usually. You have to do things that make you and your skills visible to those who count.
Volunteer for key assignments. Look for the ones that involve several departments so more people can get to know you. You want to do this because (1) you are more visible and (2) more people know what you are capable of and how good you are at what you do.
2 – Develop your leadership skills. If you have a woman’s leadership/affinity group, don’t just join, get involved in the decision-making. Start with a small job as a committee chair and, as you get more comfortable, volunteer for bigger roles. If you don’t have something at work, get involved in a community organization – like Home and School and Toastmasters.
3 – Get help. Seek out mentors and sponsors and choose ones who understand and support your goals.
When you do this, you will gradually and easily develop relationships with the people who have influence within the company. That’ll boost your confidence.
Little by little, you’ll get more comfortable having regular conversations with people of influence and build solid professional relationships. In time you’ll also start seeing yourself as being at the same level of your bosses…and that promotion will be an easier get.
It’s like a story I tell in Victorious Woman! about Jean Otte. She was a woman who pushed through a lot of personal challenges to become the first woman executive in her company. She tells women, “it’s not who you know and it’s not what you know that matters. What matters is who knows what you know.”
When you develop greater visibility and credibility, Sheila, you’ll start getting the promotions you want.
One more thing…Like everything there is a price to pay for breaking through, and the price is getting out of your comfort zone and pushing beyond it. BUT that’s where you’ll find victory.