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Dependable Evelyn's Overdue Promotion - Connected Conversations

Leadership Blog

My leadership blog is all about helping current and emerging leaders learn how to transform difficult conversations and dysfunctional workplace relationships into positive and productive ones.

Brie Barker

Dependable Evelyn’s Overdue Promotion

by | Leadership Development

Recently, I was working with a client (we’ll call her Evelyn) who felt her career wasn’t advancing quickly enough because of her boss (we’ll call him Dmitri).  The promise of a promotion he gave her 2 years ago has simply never moved beyond that and Evelyn has been feeling increasingly disheartened by this.
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Evelyn is a people person, someone who’s always smiling, quick to laugh and says she works hard to go above and beyond for Dmitri and the rest of the team.  For over 3 years, she said Dmitri has placed a degree of responsibility on her that sits about three levels above what her current job description is.
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Evelyn says she’s been happy in stepping up and meeting the challenge and that Dmitri has always let her know how much he appreciates and values her work — praise that’s important to someone as socially, team and harmony-oriented as Evelyn is.
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Achilles Heel

However, this has also been Evelyn’s Achilles’ heel in terms of her goal of getting her promotion.

 

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Whenever Evelyn has brought up the subject with Dmitri, she says his response has been to good-naturedly side-step the issue, tell her once again how much he values her and her work, tell her not to worry it will come, say something to make her laugh (which is easy to do) and she leaves his office with nothing in hand but the status quo.
/
From Dmitri’s point of view, it’s easy to see why he hasn’t been that motivated to act on this.  In Evelyn, he’s got a happy, highly competent employee that takes a good chunk of the load off his back and he doesn’t have to pay her what she could command elsewhere.  I’m not defending Dmitri, but it seems, in his, eyes, that everything’s just fine as it is.
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Given that it’s been 2 years of no motivation to act on Dmitri’s part, it’s up to Evelyn to awaken some in him if she’s to get what she wants.  She needs to change how she communicates with him.

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Through further descriptions of Dmitri from Evelyn, he’s also somewhat of a macho, confident know-it-all who tends to flex his dominance.
/

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For Evelyn to get Dmitri to act, she needs to do several things:

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  • Keep her objective of getting a firm commitment on the timetable for re-classifying her job front of mind when taking about it with Dmitri,
/
  • Firmly, but respectfully, not to let Dmitri off the hook and deflect the matter; use statements like, “Dmitri, I need you to really hear me on this.”
/
  • Be clear in expressing her dissatisfaction to Dmitri … without laughing.
/
Why this has been difficult for Evelyn to do is because it requires her to be vulnerable and run the risk that Dmitri may not like her or praise her as much; to face her fear of being socially rejected.  This won’t be easy for her — necessary, but not easy.
/
She also needs to understand what motivates Dmitri and then leverage that in her discussions, i.e. what he will gain in getting her the promotion and/or what he could lose if she doesn’t get it.
/

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Evelyn now realizes that developing her ability to adapt how she communicates — to a way that Dmitri will take notice and act — will require her to step out of her comfort zone.
/
In the process, she’ll be developing a deeper level of interpersonal skills that will serve her well as her career progresses.
/

So, whenever you think someone is getting in your way, take a pause and consider how you might be getting in your own way.

/
Have a productive and enjoyable day!
/
— Brie

Blog Post

Dependable Evelyn’s Overdue Promotion

by | Leadership Development

Recently, I was working with a client (we’ll call her Evelyn) who felt her career wasn’t advancing quickly enough because of her boss (we’ll call him Dmitri).  The promise of a promotion he gave her 2 years ago has simply never moved beyond that and Evelyn has been feeling increasingly disheartened by this.
/
Evelyn is a people person, someone who’s always smiling, quick to laugh and says she works hard to go above and beyond for Dmitri and the rest of the team.  For over 3 years, she said Dmitri has placed a degree of responsibility on her that sits about three levels above what her current job description is.
/
Evelyn says she’s been happy in stepping up and meeting the challenge and that Dmitri has always let her know how much he appreciates and values her work — praise that’s important to someone as socially, team and harmony-oriented as Evelyn is.
/

However, this has also been Evelyn’s Achilles’ heel in terms of her goal of getting her promotion.

/

Achilles Heel

/
Whenever Evelyn has brought up the subject with Dmitri, she says his response has been to good-naturedly side-step the issue, tell her once again how much he values her and her work, tell her not to worry it will come, say something to make her laugh (which is easy to do) and she leaves his office with nothing in hand but the status quo.
/
From Dmitri’s point of view, it’s easy to see why he hasn’t been that motivated to act on this.  In Evelyn, he’s got a happy, highly competent employee that takes a good chunk of the load off his back and he doesn’t have to pay her what she could command elsewhere.  I’m not defending Dmitri, but it seems, in his, eyes, that everything’s just fine as it is.
/

Given that it’s been 2 years of no motivation to act on Dmitri’s part, it’s up to Evelyn to awaken some in him if she’s to get what she wants.  She needs to change how she communicates with him.

/
Through further descriptions of Dmitri from Evelyn, he’s also somewhat of a macho, confident know-it-all who tends to flex his dominance.
/

/

For Evelyn to get Dmitri to act, she needs to do several things:

/
  • Keep her objective of getting a firm commitment on the timetable for re-classifying her job front of mind when taking about it with Dmitri,
/
  • Firmly, but respectfully, not to let Dmitri off the hook and deflect the matter; use statements like, “Dmitri, I need you to really hear me on this.”
/
  • Be clear in expressing her dissatisfaction to Dmitri … without laughing.
/
Why this has been difficult for Evelyn to do is because it requires her to be vulnerable and run the risk that Dmitri may not like her or praise her as much; to face her fear of being socially rejected.  This won’t be easy for her — necessary, but not easy.
/
She also needs to understand what motivates Dmitri and then leverage that in her discussions, i.e. what he will gain in getting her the promotion and/or what he could lose if she doesn’t get it.
/

/
Evelyn now realizes that developing her ability to adapt how she communicates — to a way that Dmitri will take notice and act — will require her to step out of her comfort zone.
/
In the process, she’ll be developing a deeper level of interpersonal skills that will serve her well as her career progresses.
/

So, whenever you think someone is getting in your way, take a pause and consider how you might be getting in your own way.

/
Have a productive and enjoyable day!
/
— Brie
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