Women, Are You Too Modest?

I was working in a London recently with a group of very talented female managers. They were an amazing group of women, professional and inspirational. Yet when it came to the exercise in Women Ahead where they are asked to look at their strengths and attributes, the room fell unusually silent and I could hear mutterings of:

I could list all my faults but this is too flippin’ hard!”

Needless to say with encouragement we uncovered multiple talents once we got over the modesty forbids hurdle… Yet if we women are to succeed in the world of business we have to overcome this disinclination to blow our own trumpets!

Men Can Do It

Generally speaking, (and inevitably I am generalising here) men don’t have this problem. I have interviewed both men and women; at times I could have torn my hair out as I tried to get the nuggets of gold I knew were there from female applicants. 

No one will know how good you are if you don’t tell them.

It’s not enough to be good at your job, beavering quietly away in the dark. If you want to get ahead, people need to know about you and the quality of your work.

Coleman’s Research

Harvey Coleman, who now runs a high profile diversity company in the U.S., has estimated that doing your job really well accounts for about 10% of what you need to get ahead.  30% is the image you project, how well you fit the company profile, with the remaining 60% being how well you put yourself out there! Yes, that’s right, a mere 10% equates to doing your job well!

It makes sense really. You may be doing a great job, head down, quietly and with no fuss, never straying from your remit, not speaking up in meetings, not volunteering to help with new projects, etc. Potentially the ideal worker for a manager who doesn’t have an inclination to develop staff. They will be happy to keep you just where you are!

Take a few minutes to think about your organisation. Are there opportunities to raise your profile? Do people know about you? Are you in the right networks? Are those networks open to you? (In the case of women, or minority groups, it’s often difficult to break into these).

Blow Your Horn!

Once you get to a certain level it’s no good expecting people to just notice how good you are. Sometimes you just have to stand up and give them a good long blast on your horn and let ’em know!

When did you last blow your own horn? Do you find it easy or difficult? Do share!


Posted on November 4th, 2010 by

One Response to “Women, Are You Too Modest?”

  1. Wow, did I need to hear that! Now I need to figure out how to do it!

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