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“You are not ready, be patient”

Source | LinkedIn : By Dr. Anju Jain

Another of those lines bestowed on women.

Some of you may refute this statement point blank. Male readers will disagree or say they too have been the targets, so what’s the big deal. On the other hand, a majority of women will be able to relate to this as they have been the first hand targets of this, and not just once or twice, but rather repeatedly at times.

My intent of writing about this and other related topics is manifold. One, I want to share that even though we have progressed or believe we have, archaic mind sets and thinking do exist. These and more conversations do prevail in organizations. Two, these are not necessarily cultural specific, but rather global issues. Three, despite the fact that these conversations are omnipresent, the good news is that they most certainly can be dealt with, effectively. And finally, my intent is to create awareness among men as well so they can take action to put a halt on these and enable a better and a conducive environment for everyone around.

So some context setting on this topic. A woman is performing well, has the skills and is enthused to do well in the future. She is eager to get another challenging role. After thinking through her experience, skills, performance, and seeing what’s happening around her, she approaches her boss and expresses an interest in that recently opened up position. The boss hears her out and says “You are not ready, you got to be patient. It’s just 25 months since you have been in this current role. What’s the hurry?”

The woman concedes with the evaluation and patiently waits, seeing some of her colleagues leapfrog in their careers.  As always, there are instances where this line may be a justified evaluation and at times, not. You may see your male colleagues being promoted much earlier than the 25 month mark. Or for that matter, the ‘not so good’ performers in your eyes are also getting ahead.

What is also noticeable is that the measures of promotion/ leadership inadvertently differ for women and men. Research has shown that men are promoted based on their performance, but women, based on amorphous yardsticks- their potential and future performance. Current or past performance don’t count as much for some odd reason.

Regardless of the reasons, the fact of the matter is that these issues have to be addressed. Here are some ideas I gathered while researching for my book.

1. Very first- ask yourself if you are ready or not. If you believe you are, question yourself why? Have you performed well? Acquired new skills? Taken your current role beyond the expected? Be clear about it yourself.

Talk to yourself and line up the facts. If your facts are on your side, go ask for that next role. You may be called aggressive, but I am sure you know how to tackle that one. And if you believe you are not ready, you know what to do next.

A word of caution here. Don’t be hard on yourself and quickly conclude that you are not ready. Research has shown that women are over critical about themselves. Even when they have everything on their side, they believe they don’t or are not ready yet. So do manage this constraining behavior consciously. Most of the times you will find you have what it takes to get ahead.

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