A client of mine called me to ask for some advice. She’s young and has done very well in her career, but she’s starting to feel that she’s plateaued.
She was looking for some ideas and any help I could provide on how to be perceived as more senior, more “executive” by the people above her in the organization. I asked her to be honest with herself about a few things. How would you answer these questions?
- I enter a room without making eye contact
- I sit in an inconspicuous seat, such as in a corner or in the back row
- I take up as little space as possible with my body (crossed arms, head down)
- I take on the note taking responsibility for others
- I tend to ask questions and seldom assert my point of view
- I never speak first or last on an issue
- I am consistently friendly and supportive of others’ ideas (without critical thought)
- I defer to those who are more senior than me
- I talk only with people of my level during breaks or on the way in/out of a meeting
- My clothing is more/less formal than that of my superiors
- I use wiggle words: maybe, sort of, possibly, might
- I use too many words and speak too quickly
How many of these were true for you? If you agreed with a few of these statements, it’s no wonder people aren’t seeing your potential. You’re giving off many signals that you’re not promotion material.