“So, how can we get leadership to get behind us, if we just assume they know how much work we’re doing? Because even if we sit with our manager to go through a status report. One-on-one, every single week, they still don’t really know,” said Alli Young, Entrepreneur and Career Growth Expert.
Do you feel confident about your professional growth? Most employers are a bit more flexible now. But our children’s schools, doctors, and activities aren’t. And steering our careers, involves more than just getting work done. But doing the work, especially in the current climate, is all consuming. And in the new hybrid world, increasing your social capital, can be tricky.
Whether it’s a bad boss, toxic culture or economic downturn, your professional outlook can change. Often without any notice. So, becoming proactive about career growth can lead to greater choice and financial stability. But we’re always in demand. So, how can you spend your energy and time wisely, to advance?
Make Your Work Visible
Alli explained, “Often, our work is not visible to our managers. And the reason I know they don’t know, is because when we have our own performance reviews, we have to look at our calendars. And go back through emails, to remind ourselves of our own work.”
Okay, so the idea of taking on anything extra right now may be exhausting. But to overcome this challenge, she recommends being intentional about recording your work. It’s something you’re probably already doing. And whether it’s for your manager, client or board, it doesn’t need to be complicated.
Document What You Do
Alli said, “If we don’t remember our own work after two months, how in God’s name is someone else going to? So, put in a little more time, to get that better reward.” Not only does she advocate for this, her company sends reminders to people in their programs. She added, “We send a text every two to three weeks. ‘Hey, is there something you’re working on that you’re proud of?’ That’s it. Keep it dead simple. You can write one word just to remind yourself.” Brilliant!
Including Work That’s Often Overlooked
The gendered divide for invisible labor, isn’t just a home thing. McKinsey’s* women in the workplace report states what many experience. Female leaders carry “roughly twice as much of the employee mentorship and sponsorship burden, as their male peers.” And women are more likely to do that important, yet overlooked, culture building activity. Like helping employees manage burnout and their wellbeing. So, it’s possible your herculean efforts to plan, problem solve and wrangle people, aren’t recognized. The good news? It can be addressed.
To Enlist Your Manager’s Support
Most leaders are also burned out. And many are under resourced. So, helping those who influence your career, stay current, is usually well received. Alli said, “Every quarter, send that list of accomplishments to your manager. For example, ‘Hi, this is the work I’ve been doing over the past quarter. I wanted to make sure you have it for your files’ that’s it.”
But there are challenges to managing up. Including an abundance of inexperienced people leaders. Many of whom, don’t know how to support you. And bias* is still rampant for historically overlooked groups. So it remains a quiet source of career sabotage for many, including Mothers and people of color.
Which means, the psychological safety may not be there, for you to get results you deserve. So how can you disrupt systemic barriers to advancement?
And Find Your People
You can reach to your community for support. Whether it’s within your employee resource groups, circle of friends or colleagues. Alli is passionate about the power of networking to expand our opportunities.
Her company creates small cohorts, within large organizations, to help people learn from and support each other. She said, “We connect people and teach them to be highly collaborative. You can have a group of peers who are opening doors for you. And that’s why we believe in community-based training.”
Whether it’s your career or business, the growth feels effortless when relationships you’ve fostered, lead to connections. She added, “helping people and opening doors is what’s most important. People often think because it’s the softest skill, it’s the least important. But it’s actually the one that yields the highest return.”
Then Build Momentum Where you Shine
Okay, so the perfect workplace may not exist. But the perfect assignment does! Projects are not created equal. An hour spent doing something you dread, versus working in your zone of genius, feels different. “So, how do you shift to the work that’s aligned with your passion and energy? So, it doesn’t feel as bad? You can go back to your documentation and look at where you’re spending your professional time. Then, you can say, ‘out of the 10 things that I’ve done, it’s these two things, that I love to do.’ Find what lights you up.” Alli explained.
And Get More Support
Okay, when you’re doing work you’re meant to do, it’s also easier to get support to do more of it. Alli said, “And by documenting the work, even if that great work becomes overwhelming, then you can start figuring out a recipe.” Yes! Ask your leadership how to scale it.
She added, “For example, ‘what is the plan? Here are my ideas, about who else can do this.’ You can’t just say I’m overwhelmed. Help find the solution. Because in most cases, someone’s got to do it.”
Because That’s How you Grow
Do you want your career to stay still? Most likely not. Stepping into what’s next, often involves being seen. And supported as the star that you are.
Once that happens as Alli explains, “Then you can just do what you do. And it becomes a flywheel for your career. Because if your manager and people around you, know the stuff that lights you up and excites you, you’re going to get more projects based on what you love. And then you operate at a higher level, have more energy and you’re more excited.” Amen!
* We have cited McKinsey’s research for years but please note, McKinsey is now a partner.
Many thanks to the talented Alli Young!
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About Alli Young:
After a successful 20-year career in technology, Alli founded The Forem to unlock opportunities for women across disruptive brands and Fortune 1000 organizations. As CEO, Alli oversees all aspects of The Forem, including corporate training and Executive Coaching.
In her last role, Alli led Americas at Turn, a tech company in the middle of a challenging transition and exit. In her most prominent role, Alli led various sales teams over an 11-year tenure at Google, where she focused on strategic partnerships and aligning customer goals with emerging tech solutions, including the development of a global programmatic strategy which drove several billion in revenue. Alli began her career at Yahoo! and went on to lead creative and marketing strategy at both Deutsch and Mediacom.
Throughout Alli’s career, she noticed a pattern — there are unwritten rules that men and corporations have been using for decades that women have not implemented due to lack of exposure and sponsorship, among other things.
Alli spent a year researching career advancement and launched a new curriculum that unlocks upward mobility for women, called the 5 Critical Skills.
These skills are not gender specific, but they are often underutilized by women, and they are critical to navigating leadership within corporate culture. Alli’s unique curriculum is based on her experience at Google and can reach a wide audience via her platform at The Forem. These skills apply to young women starting their careers, all the way up to CEOs seeking board seats. Alli’s personal mission is to move 1M women into leadership by 2030.
The Forem’s Five Critical Skills are taught through talks, live workshops and a career advancement platform, which enhances ongoing learning. These skills can be leveraged at any stage of a career.Tags: Achieving Goals, Career development, Career Development for Moms, Moms Personal Growth, professional development, professional development for moms