I heard an agency leader recently advising a young person they were mentoring that they should just tell their boss that they were thinking about having kids in the next few years and work together on that.
WHOA THERE NEDDY!! What are you talking about?! Who is her boss?? I've been privy to conversation where people were blatantly passed over for payrises or promotions because they 'were probably going to have kids soon'. Let's just think about this...
You have to know your audience before you do too much leaning in.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Sandberg and Huffington’s books. They did a huge amount for women’s self-esteem and focus in the workplace, and really helped kickstart the gender diversity movement we see happening now.
My concern is that 'leaning in' is so expected now, that women are feeling another kind of pressure in the obligation to ‘lean in’ and take a stand, without realising there are a million ways to do this. I want people to take control of their careers, but in a way that works for them and the situation they're in.
Leaning in and thriving are fantastic, but both these women were already very senior, if not the boss, when they had their revelations. They had a lot of money and very supportive husbands and colleagues.
If you’re a single, 28 year old, account director in Sydney working into a boy’s-club senior management team – this ain’t you!
So my take is to take control. Leaning-in doesn’t mean demanding pay rises, talking loudly in a boardroom, saying no, or pushing back. It means taking control of your own career and with it your satisfaction and happiness, keeping in mind the characters you’re working with.
Maybe asking outright for a payrise is a massive faux pas or will get you nowhere because of the type of person your boss is. Is there another way? Maybe sending a monthly success status to the CEO is better than talking for the sake of talking in a meeting they're in. Maybe going to the group PT sessions are a better opportunity to talk to the senior managers than calling meetings in the office.
If you’re an introvert, extrovert, or anything in between – there are ways to:
* Take control
* Decide what part of your life you want your career to play
* Raise your profile
* Ask for what you need
Only you can decide what you need. Only you can take control and make yourself happy.
Your approach can be quiet or loud depending on your personality and the personality of the person you're talking to - there's a reason why 'team profiling' works!
Find your goal and your direction. Improve your confidence and grow your profile.
If nobody knows what you're doing or what you want, how will they know what you deserve?
But if you're going to lean in, lean in to the right people, in the right way, at the right time.
And, as always, have a plan.
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