27 September 2023

Are you the ‘go-to girl’?

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Jane Benston* discusses how being the ‘got-to-girl’ can stunt women’s careers.

I’ve had a number of conversations this week with smart, mid-career professional women who have fallen into the trap of being the “go-to girl.”

Perhaps you too are the go-to girl.

Or you might be known as the Jack of all trades, the fix-it woman or have earned the label of “reliable”. Eek!

I get it. I was this woman for a long time. And I wore the label like a badge of honour!

I liked the fact that people would seek me out, knowing that I was the only one in the team to really take the time to help them.

It fuelled my ego to be needed!

But I had no clue how much it was holding me back.

On reflection now, I realise that I was seen as a doer not as the leader I wanted to be seen as.

A comment from the HR director about “over mothering” the team now makes sense.

At the time, it was nothing but insulting and hurtful.

Now I realise he was providing guidance on how I could step up to lead more effectively.

So what’s the problem with being the go-to girl?

  1. Your plate becomes over full.

I don’t need to tell you this. You know it already.

You are super busy.

You’re working long hours without making any real progress.

You’re exhausted.

And at times it’s overwhelming.

You have no bandwidth for creativity or strategic thinking.

  1. You are so busy doing – there is no time to truly lead

You may have the title of leader, but who has the time or headspace to really lead?

Finding the time to sit quietly to think, plan and strategise is for many go-to girls … well … pie in the sky.

And building and nurturing a high-performing team takes your consistent time, energy and focus, which you have so little of.

  1. It’s killing your career progression

    You don’t get seen, heard, valued or promoted for doing the busy work.

It’s as simple as that!

When was the last time you did something that truly moved the dial on a personal career goal or a business goal?

Being the go-to girl will inevitably keep you stuck in the weeds – doing what I call busy work.

And you don’t get promoted for doing the busy work! Someone has to do it, but it’s time to pass it onto someone else.

So what now…

If you are the go-to girl, stuck in the weeds of doing rather than leading, then it’s time for change.

Your career goals will not be met while you stay stuck in this place.

*Jane Benston helps mid-career professional women design their career, activate their authentic leadership style and accelerate their success. She can be contacted at janebenston.com.

This article first appeared at janebenston.com.

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