Learning to advocate for ourselves and ask for a promotion can be intimidating. The following is a story about Claire who shares how she asked for a very big promotion.
The Feedback Loop
Claire rose through the ranks of a male-dominated tech industry to land a position four years ago as Chief Information Officer for a prominent housewares line. She is warm and welcoming, asking those around her for input in a continuous feedback loop that she keeps open. This means that she touches base with every employee in IT nearly every day. Some days and even some weeks, she tells me, she’s the only one in the company who her staff have contact with because she wants to make sure she’s listening to their needs and being responsive, especially during remote working situations.
However, Claire hasn’t always been receptive to feedback. She started her professional career with a large consulting firm and she wanted to impress those around her. When assigned to prepare presentations for high-level partners in the firm, she wouldn’t consult anyone because she thought she was smart enough to know what was supposed to be in the presentation. Ahead of her presentation, her boss would give her feedback and a lot of her work would be heavily edited. “I would get really offended when my work would get ripped to shreds. I had a lot of humble moments learning to accept input from those on all sides of me.”
Coaching To Confidence
I wanted to know what the biggest challenge Claire faced in her career. She shared, “At different points in time, it’s been helping the person responsible for promoting me to the next level see the value of why I should be promoted. For instance, there was a company reorganization and they promoted a man to a new position, leaving his vacant vice president position, which would be my next career step. I wanted that position and I knew I was ready for it. I went to my boss to ask if I could have that position. He said, ‘why is this title so important to you?’ I immediately asked him what his title is and if it was important to him. I made my point and he gave me the job.” Claire admitted that she wasn’t always so confident and that it was challenging to stick up for opportunities that were right for her. Through coaching, she has been able to find her confidence to advocate for herself. She’s also used coaching to help her develop and hone her leadership skills so that she could be ready for the next promotion.
Sometimes Claire thinks about how she would be further along in her career if she was a man. She says she would have been promoted sooner, like her male counterparts; however, that fairness argument isn’t what she likes to focus on. Instead, she likes to acknowledge that the many growth opportunities along the way made her into a confident leader and she is proud of the way she leads. I asked her whether women should speak up and ask for promotions throughout their careers and she said, “Absolutely have the conversation. Put together clear goals to work on and work proactively to improve yourself. Don’t let things fall through the cracks in work or as a leader. Grow professionally by listening collectively from others about your performance. There’s no wrong time to stick up for yourself and ask for a raise.”
Work With Me
Are you ready to be a more confident leader? Do you want to know how to create a feedback loop where you’re receptive to the input of those around you and can use it for your benefit? I am passionate about my work helping women become confident leaders. Here’s a link to schedule a time so we can chat about how I can help you.