Manbir Kaur – Helping Leaders, Teams & Organizations

Rita is a mid-management level executive with an IT company that she joined 5 years back; she has a total of 15 years of experience. She has done well for herself in all these years and has grown in her career; she has been promoted twice in the last 5 years. She has a 7 years old kid and at home she has a reasonable support of her in-laws.

She is still carrying some frustration that she is not growing fast enough in her career.  She feels that her male colleagues of similar age and experience are senior to her.

Rita heads one of the key projects in the organization. As she is a capable candidate, she has been chosen for a fast track leadership program and she is going through a series of interventions in that regards; as per company mandate for having women in leadership teams.

Rita raises her concerns during a career review discussion with her skip manager. After careful consideration, he proposes another role for her, after she completes the current project. The role requires her to lead a bigger team and be responsible for profitability. She will have to manage teams across multiple locations and handle expectations with multiple stakeholders.

The immediate reaction in her mind was that she cannot take this role. She wants to grow, but how will she manage a senior role where there may be politics, and that she may find it difficult to juggle expectations from multiple stake holders. She does not want to say yes. Although this is more in line with her goals, she is still afraid to take it up.

She said she needs some time to think.

See the Mind game here. She wished this, she has been a good candidate, still does not want to…what do you think?

This is what is stopping her-

  • Undermining her own capabilities, it is her beliefs which are limiting her performance – how can I be successful in a new role? She is looking for other people to acknowledge that she is fit for the role. She thinks she may not be able to handle that role. A few reflection points that may help-
    • What is the profile for an ideal candidate?
    • What are the three points which makes you believe that you are fit for this role?
    • What are the two areas which makes you believe that you are not yet fit for this role?
    • What are the three things you can learn to be good for this job?
    • What is the first quick win you can show on the job?
  • Absence of Role Model – We often look for role models for these kinds of opportunities. If we do not find any role model doing something similar, we often get scared of taking the first step. A few reflection points that may help-
    • Who can support you in the transition- both professionally and personally?
    • With whom can you share your fears?
  • Fear of failure – There is a strong sense of fear of failure here. A few reflection points that may help-
    • What is the fear? Where is the gap?
    • What will define failure & What will define success?
    • What is the worst that can happen if you fail?
    • What is the probability that you can make it a success?
  • Stereotypes/beliefs – When women executives reach this juncture in their career, they sometime believe in certain stereotypes such as “only women without children” can grow and be successful at these positions , People at that position/s may not be able to do justice to their families and so on. A few reflection points that may help here-
    • Write down your beliefs as if no one is watching, no one is reading.
    • Challenge these beliefs
    • And create a road map if it is possible to overcome them
  • Superwoman — How will I make everybody happy everywhere. Many women leaders I coach have Superwomen syndrome. They want to do the best everywhere. It is a little specific to our gender. A few reflection points that may help-
    • List down ten people- professionally and personally who you think should be happy.
    • Prioritize this list in 4 categories-
      • Most Important
      • Important
      • Nice to have
      • Does not matter
    • Chose the people in the first category and see what you can do about it and go on.

There is no single methodology that works for all. Observe your mind game and come out of those beliefs if you really want to be successful in your career. You need to be more aware about your priorities. Once you have decided your priorities, aligning with those priorities is also important. You need to sift through all the challenges in your mind and work out the most acceptable path for yourself, so that you have no regrets later.

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