04 May How Can I Be More Visible At Work?
Helping Women to Be More Visible At Work
This is the question many women come to me with. They want to get noticed, to raise their profile, to have a voice, to be more visible at work. Yet years of social conditioning are keeping them from doing so. They find themselves in the support role in projects. Even if they are part of the leadership team, they’re the ones putting the guest list together behind the scenes. They find themselves waiting for the moment to speak up in board meetings, careful not to interrupt anyone…and then the conversation has moved on and the moment has gone. They can’t understand when someone less talented, less experienced and less able than them gets the promotion, the much-desired work trip abroad or the project that’s going to make their career.
These women have been to assertiveness seminars, to confidence classes and read the books on standing up and standing out. They’ve attended the right networks and, once the have their moment and can speak, have masses of good stuff to offer. So, why aren’t the assertiveness seminars and the confidence classes working?
Visibility is Deep Stuff
It’s because the issue goes far deeper than behaviour. Visibility stems from a sense of self-worth. If we don’t truly believe that we have a right to be visible, that we have something of value to offer, then we can’t truly be visible. It can go hand in hand with Imposter Syndrome, We’re being afraid of being called out, of someone saying “Well, actually you’re wrong there.”
My approach to helping women become more visible at work has changed over the years. For a long while I was a proponent of the tips and tactics approach. Do this and it will push you into the spotlight. Start offering to take on this and it will raise your profile. Connect with those people and you’ll really stand out as a mover and shaker. Some women were able to use this advice to really propel themselves forward. Others floundered. They accepted that it was all good in theory but somehow they just couldn’t throw themselves into it.
Now that I’ve more of an understanding of psychology I get where they were coming from. To be honest, I should know. I, myself, have struggled with visibility at times. That’s probably why I’m so fascinated by the subject. It has personal resonance for me. I have recognised that visibility at work is not just about cultivating relationships or speaking up at the right moments. It’s far more profound.
How I Now Help Women Become More Visible At Work
Recognising that, my work helping women become more visible at work now goes much deeper than before. We look at the influences not only our parents have on us, but also our grandparents, or significant carers. The exercises we do can be profound. Sometimes there are tears, more often smiles of recognition as you suddenly realise where a certain behaviour or belief has come from. Bringing these behaviours and beliefs to the surface is the first step to working on them. It’s only when you realise why you have them, that you are truly able to address them.
We look at situations where you might be triggering the inner child in you, rather than the adult. From this, we can create a process that allows you to bring your adult out just in time for that board meeting or important conference call. It’s a method that is hugely fun and goes far further than standing in superwoman pose – although that’s still an effective thing to have in your toolbox.
Take Comfort in Your Comfort Zone
We also look at your Visibility Comfort Zone – where are you happy and what’s the stretch for you? Rather than battling with your comfort zone, we learn to use it as a tool that can help you grow your reputation and raise your profile.
Only then do we go onto actual steps – the plan. We can then craft something that often looks very different for every person. There is no set route to visibility at work. It’s about creating your own road map, your own plan. That way, you stay authentic and, most importantly, have fun with it. Creating some elaborate plan that’s going to suck up every moment of you working time will do more harm that good. And if you don’t have fun, then you’re never going to be able to keep it up.
I take women out, singly and in groups, to Italy on my della Scala leadership experience which is designed to cultivate leadership skills and visibility at work. If you’d like to be one of them, or have some women in your organisation that could benefit, Contact me to find out more.