Just because you’ve made it to the top doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. A new study released last week reveals that senior women executives still struggle with some of the career advancement challenges that women in middle management do. The research conducted in November 2013 by Barbara Annis and Associates in partnership with Thomson Reuters and Women of Influence was the result of a survey of 326 senior women leaders across North America.
Some of the top career advancement challenges cited were “in both navigating the system and accessing informal networks. The challenge is in self-promotion, advocating for themselves, and expressing their talents.”
One might surmise that these women made it to the top of their organizations because they understood the politics and learned how to work the system to their benefit. It would also be an obvious assumption that they are good at promoting their accomplishments and selling their ideas across the organization. But in the general area of self-initiation, women leaders still reported a high level of difficulty advocating for themselves. They acknowledge that maintaining their leadership position necessitates ongoing self-promotion as well as political savvy.
Promotion is the tool for competition; to gain access to the networks and information that impact your career. It is necessary to master the art of promotion to both get to the top and stay on top. You can’t build the relationships you need without it. You can’t get visibility across the organization without it. Access to the informal networks in the workplace that have power and influence is best achieved through effective self-promotion.
“The net effect is that there are fewer opportunities for women in their career advancement if they are not outspoken and explicit about what they have achieved and can achieve.”