Regina Barr, President, Red Ladder Inc., Founder, Women at the Top®, Moneyweave® Academy Board Member
In part one we talked about how to start out earning equal pay, and how over time, salaries start to shift. We also discussed how and why this happens. Now we’ll look at what you can do to level the “paying” field. Three things to consider are:
#1: Keep Your Eye on the Prize
In my experience, women in the workplace work hard. They put their head down and focus on doing a great job. Then one day they pick their head up, look around, and realize that all the people they were surrounded by have somehow bypassed them and moved on. This goes to show that you can’t just work hard; you have to let others know what you’re doing.
Likewise, you need to focus on adding value to the company’s bottom line. According to Inc.com, a study found that women leave half a million dollars on the table over the course of their careers. Why? Because they don’t ask for the money they deserve.
It’s important for women to figure out what they can do to gain more visibility. They can then spend their time and energy focusing on those things. I have helped several of my Executive Coaching clients to first understand what their winning qualities are and then identify areas where they might need a “spruce up”. Instead of having women rate themselves, which almost always has a lower score than what it should be, I prefer to use unbiased assessments. When you’re armed with accurate information, it puts you in a better position to negotiate what you’re worth.
I’ve observed that women often don’t know what questions to ask to get the answers that will make a difference in their success. It’s imperative that they know their role in the company, how to up-level it, and finally, how to get paid what they’re worth. Once they learn the strategy, everything else falls into place.
#2: Women Are Terrific Promoters
Women are wonderful at talking people up. They promote their spouses, children, siblings, and friends. They even rave about the great jobs their coworkers and teams have done. The shift comes when it’s time to promote themselves.
One of my biggest pet peeves with women is that they self-demote. That’s the root of the problem. While promoting would be great, I would settle for neutral. Unfortunately, women tend to self-demote which can be detrimental to their careers.
Let’s be honest here. When someone gives you a compliment, how do you respond? Is your first response to say something negative about yourself? I see this happen all the time—women come down hard on themselves and it costs them clout, promotions, and money!
Another issue is that women aren’t using the positive aspect of office politics to get ahead. Women can be relational yet they don’t use that asset to their benefit. When trying to promote themselves and talk about their successes, it would be beneficial to share the credit without diminishing their own value. But women tend to be more comfortable over-emphasizing the team and underplaying their input.
Here’s an eye-opening question I ask, “What would your results be if you promoted yourself like you promote your best friend?” Imagine the power and impact it would have on your career! I help my clients find ways to promote themselves and get the money and benefits they deserve while still supporting others.
#3: Reframe Childhood Messages
Women grow up in a culture that teaches them not to promote themselves. It’s not uncommon to hear messages like, “Children should be seen and not heard.” Women take that to heart. Another dreadful one is, “Be a good girl. Don’t overshadow your brother.” These types of messages make women unsure about how to act.
Another issue is that women don’t like to boast. They’re wired to not brag about themselves. I have often re-trained clients to think about their successes in a different way, stressing that, “If it’s a fact, it’s not bragging.” Look at it from the perspective of if you’re stating facts about yourself, it’s not bragging. Women don’t usually go around high-fiving each other about things they’ve accomplished. That’s because it tends to put them in a different light, one that’s not nearly as glowing.
Stay tuned for Part Three—Earn What You’re Worth: Six Strategies to Level the “Paying” Field where we pull it all together and offer solutions and strategies so you can get the money you deserve and level the “paying” field.
Want to learn more about how you can earn what you’re worth? Visit ReginaBarr.com to learn more about Regina Barr and her events, blogs, videos, and other resources on this subject and more.
Speaker. Coach. Consultant.
“Dream Big. Take Action. Make It Happen.”
President, Red Ladder Inc.
Founder, Women at the Top®
Moneyweave® Academy Board Member