Women In Consulting

I am a brown female. I keep on getting good feedback but not a manager role with no one really able to pin point why they wouldn’t give me the step up. Do any of the women of color feel it is...

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I agree with posts above that you need to self-assess and ask for specific input on your performance and what it is you are not doing to get to the next level. It should be a detailed and tactical conversation. In my anecdotal experience, many women and people of color share one thing that is maybe holding them back. They do not have the right support structure, specifically mentors and sponsors. Now it’s a two way street, so it’s certainly not just onto you - the other parties have to reciprocate and I suspect it doesn’t always happen for various reasons, some valid and some maybe based on unconscious bias. That said, a lot of it is on you, take a step back and ask yourself these questions: 1. Do I focus on my work and not building relationships? 2. Do I have a diverse network of relationships? Does that network include white men? 3. Do I have mentors and sponsors or just acquaintances? Do I proactively target and build those relationships? 4. Do I manage my brand up, down and across? 5. Do I proactively have conversations about my career? If the answers are no to meh, you need to improve in these areas.

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likeupliftingsmart
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Partner 1 is right on point. You have the technical part down and client relationships. It is the internal support structure and gaining sponsorship that you must nurture.

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Talk to your career coach/advisor/mentor to help you identify and work on areas to perform at next level. Read “Nice Girls don’t get the corner office” - a lot of good coaching tips that can be leveraged. Or just act like a man (sometimes less qualifications get promoted bc of high confidence and all can do attitude).

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Thank you D1. I’ll look into that book.

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Ok ladies I had this happen to me year after year. Clients loved and kept giving us more work and make sure I was on the project team. I realized at one point that I lacked sponsorship. The moment I got that in line it’s been a much easier, smooth sailing journey through bullshit. Working hard is important but playing that game, as I realized the hard way, is even more important

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Everything that P1 said below. It had to b a conscious effort, win seeking people out. Doing firm initiate type work for them. Really showing them that I’m worth it. It did involve working harder than some of my peers. Also, I started to have more of a voice in client meetings. I started proactively owning the client relationship and speak up instead of deferring to a senior

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Difficult for people to see us in leading roles (just an EM in this case)? What do you do to get past that?

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Same position as you! Would be great to connect one on one, let me know :)

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I am in this same position. I am a high performer and get good ratings, but can’t seem to get promoted. Makes me desperate and insecure when I see people with less experience and qualification rise up the ranks even though I slog it out the entire year.

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Same. I am a consistent high performer. I have been asking to be promoted for 2 years now and nothing.

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Hi 👋 — take a really good look at what you’re going versus others, is there really no distinction? I’ve had people performing well at their level who are not ready to be promoted (m/f have both had this) because they are not yet performing at the next level. In my org, being a manager means running the project and being a safe pair of hands from a technical perspective as well as a project manager who doesn’t let anything get lost. I find people are ready when I am not finding any ‘surprise’ errors they didn’t think about - I.e. we talked all the stuff through that they were unsure about or they highlighted areas I needed to dig into because they weren’t as comfortable with the analysis/ findings. Mainly it’s a self awareness on the technical side that I see hold people back from making manager. The other thing is people’s lack of confidence in the candidate owning a project. Not sure if that’s helpful, but where I’ve seen people get a bit stuck trying to get to manager that’s why. Having the convo that you need to be transparent with what you know / don’t and ask questions has helped for me. Nobody knows everything but often promotion candidates don’t want to highlight where they aren’t comfortable which makes things worse. I obviously don’t know your situation, but my firm is pretty through going through promotion candidates and I would hope there is a process to ensure this is a merit based situation alone. Last, can you have a very candid convo with your coach / leader who is responsible for getting you promoted? Ask what you need to be doing differently to get the spot....

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likehelpful
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Arab girl here, and YES! I’m a very high performer operating at M level with a team and client that trusts and appreciates me (have been with them for 2 years) but then I get to YE and get performance feedback from my all white male leadership about likability and softening my presence. So then I adjust and the team’s work inevitably suffers, and then the client gets mad and I end up in a performance conversation again. There’s no winning in this skin.

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Also find WOC mentors and sponsors, work with them and ask for THEIR feedback on your performance

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Doing good work at level doesn’t necessarily translate into having skills needed for next level. Rather than say you’re a high performer you need to be saying how you’re demonstrating xyz next level behaviors at your current level. If you don’t know what those are or how to do it ask for more specific coaching. If you don’t think you have the opportunity to do it in your current project, ask for help making space for you to demonstrate them.

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