‘Career progression often depends on taking risks and advocating for oneself – traits that girls are discouraged from exhibiting.’ ~ Sheryl Sandberg
Taking ownership and acknowledging your own part in results is crucial to your visibility, confidence and others’ confidence in you. Along the lines of receiving rewards and putting yourself forward for financial recognition, taking ownership and staking your claim to results is key to your own personal expansion.
Women tend to be very generous to everyone else when talking about and demonstrating the results and levels of success in their team. “The team were amazing on the ABC Project and their commitment to get the job done never waivered” or “Bob really stepped up and made it happen.” Yet, if someone actually tries to acknowledge a woman as the successful contributor, she often brushes it off or accredits the success to someone or something else – a boss, a colleague, team, market conditions, timing or luck.
Do you do this? If so, it is so unfair on you. It is part of our expansion to allow our own success to shine through. You don’t have to be a selfish show-off. Let’s be honest, we all know one or two of those who takes credit for themselves.
However, we can include our input into the feedback, updates and lessons about work we’re involved in without being a show-off. In Principle 3 of my new book ‘It’s Always Your Move’, I’m going to give you structures to be able to say things in a way that is both comfortable and allows your part to shine. For now, just think about how comfortable you are with owning your own success, input and contribution.
I believe a factor which comes into play in owning your own success is the natural tendency women have for collaboration and collaborative relationships. It’s primal, and I love that we’re like this. However, for the purposes of your own career success, you need to be able to toot your own horn without blowing your own trumpet. If you don’t, others will question your ability to operate on your own instincts, produce results and own your skills, experience and wisdom. We want you to be brilliant – not shy away but to show us what you’re capable of doing. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being real. Sometimes the best lessons are when things ‘hit the fan’ …
It can sound like this: “Yes, Project ABC was tough. One of my biggest lessons when we hit a wall on the budgets was to go back to the drawing board. I pulled in a few favours from the finance team to check all our numbers and spending levels and then made the decision to reduce the amount of overtime authorised. It focussed our minds and I’m proud that we brought the project in under budget. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to constantly check the numbers rather than let the excitement of the project run away with us.” See what I mean. You’re showing up without showing off.
Of course, the paragraph above is fictitious, but you can sense there’s a level of me and us in there which is comfortable, informative and truthful as far as how you own your part in the success and outcome of something. There’s a level of risk, naturally, of putting yourself squarely in the frame. But I believe the risk is far greater by undervaluing or underplaying your part in things. Your sense of yourself and how rooted you feel in your experience comes from acknowledging you actually have the experience. A lot of it, in fact.
(Extracted from Principle 1 – Embrace Your Expansion from my forthcoming book ‘It’s Always Your Move’ Purposeful Progress for Corporate Career Women, featuring The 8 Principles of Your Career Success CycleTM available from 4th October 2018)