Ever heard of the term ‘The broken rung’?
A 2019 McKinsey/LeanIn.org workplace report found that the biggest obstacle keeping women from advancing in their careers is the “broken rung” which is the first step from an entry-level position to manager.
When this promotion is missed, women end up stuck in the entry-level rung of the ladder. This is why women are underrepresented in leadership positions in the workplace. This of course leads to more ripple effects- all of which do nothing but set us back in this fight against gender bias.
Since promotion is fundamentally a result of being recognized for one’s value and contribution at work, it’s, therefore, safe to say that the broken rung can be fixed by ensuring women get the recognition they deserve at work, so no one will be able to gainsay their eligibility for promotion.
This is where YOU come in. It’s becoming increasingly evident that women must continue to take the bull by the horn in order to thrive at the workplace. This means you aren’t expected to wait around for recognition and ultimately promotion to come, you must simply go for it!
Here’s how you can ensure you are recognized for what you bring to the table at work:
Don’t avoid the spotlight: Sheryl Sandberg, in her phenomenal book titled ‘Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead boldly put forward a gender bias theory that many of us (women) will be reluctant to admit. She explained that society isn’t the only culprit in the barriers that have been created to stifle the potential of the female gender- women are sometimes an accomplice. This is because we have internalized limitations to the point that we often find ourselves refraining from going for gold even when no one says we can’t.
On a personal note, I once refused to take on a role simply because no woman had ever occupied the seat. In this case, I was given a chance to do the work, but I told myself I couldn’t; because if no woman had done it before, then it must be because a woman isn’t meant to do it.
As a woman, it’ll be near impossible to get recognized at work if you always avoid the ‘work’. Every challenge thrown at you at work is a stepping stone towards getting recognition. So rather than run away from the spotlight, lean in and embrace every chance you get to shine. After all, you must first be seen before you are recognized.
Don’t downplay your achievements: I believe the saying ‘celebrate small wins’ was created primarily with women in mind. We seem to always need to be nudged in that direction. Are you guilty of downplaying your achievements and minimizing your success? There are a few litmus tests to show this.
Every time you brush off a compliment like ‘that was a great presentation’ by simply replying that it wasn’t a big deal is a sign that you are downplaying your success. If you always compare yourself with co-workers in a way that makes you conclude you aren’t doing as much as they are, hence you aren’t doing enough, you are also guilty.
You need to put a check on this because if you don’t own your success and take credit for it, then no one will recognize you for it.
It’s absolutely OK to accept compliments that come as a result of your hard work. You aren’t being proud if you go on to talk about the effort you put into achieving a great feat for the company. Whatever you do, resist the temptation to reduce your own greatness to nothing. So go on, raise a glass to yourself the next time you meet that target or squash that goal- do away with that imposter syndrome vibe!
Blow your own trumpet sis!: That’s right! Women have been a victim of the culture of silence for much too long, and it’s time to change that. Forget the negativity that’s often associated with blowing one’s trumpet, sometimes it’s the only way to get the recognition you deserve. If you work in an environment where employee commitment, loyalty, dedication, and hard work go unnoticed then this is the path you must take.
However, this must be done strategically in a way that will ensure you don’t portray an inflated opinion of yourself. As a rule of thumb, you can draw attention to your work by emphasizing the results of your efforts and the value you’re adding to the company. It will also help to make the relevant stakeholders understand the positive changes you have brought to the organization. While you are at it, please ensure you acknowledge and give credit to your team members and other contributors.
Also, don’t forget to inform your employers about the progress you are making with regards to self-development. When you add a new feather to your cap, for example, the Jobberman Soft Skills certification, please don’t be quiet about it.
Now is the time to make a commitment towards doing everything in your power to ensure you are recognized at work. Do the job, face challenges head-on, and arm yourself with the skills and knowledge that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Start by taking the FREE Jobberman Soft Skills training. Click here to sign up.
Be the woman that believed she could, and so she did.