[Myth #6] If I get a promotion, I’ll have to deliver twice the work

My promotion to European Manager for Contract Research was not a coincidence. I wanted to be a people manager and I felt my strengths would be an asset in that position. I discussed the role with my manager several times and she supported the creation of that position.

Something I didn’t realise was that I’d have much less time to do the contract research projects myself, moreover, that I’d have to handle projects to my direct reports that I wanted to do myself.

Why was that a problem? I joined the Contract Research team because I loved to do projects. I hadn’t factored in that I’ll have to let go of some activities I liked to become an effective regional leader.

At the beginning of my career as a manager, I was not conscious of it, so I was overwhelmed all the time. I was doing my “old” job and my “new” job. I wish somebody had coached and mentored me through that process as it took me a long time for me to go from awareness to action. To peel the decision-making onion.

I learned my lesson. Now every time I have the opportunity to progress in my career, I evaluate where the business will get more value from my role and then decide if that’s for me.

I bring up this issue because when I discuss this issue with other women, I’ve noted that a lot of them opt out of promotions because they anticipate the work as doing the two roles – the old and the new. They say, “if I accept, in addition to X tasks, I’ll have to do Y, I don’t’ want to sacrifice my family/mental health/relationship”.

In summary, I see two common problems when people opt themselves out of a promotion for fear of overwork:

1.- They see themselves doing their current job AND the additional managing job. Delegating effectively can be learned.

2.- Resistance – conscious or unconscious - to delegate the part of the job we find “fun”. This is something that cannot be ignored.

Charm for solving myth #6: Have a candid discussion with your manager about what tasks, projects, and activities you’ll delegate to most junior staff – or your direct reports - and which ones you’re expected to keep once you’re promoted. Also, what new tasks you’re expected to own?

Then, ask yourself if you’d still enjoy the new role even if you don’t get to do some of the tasks yourself. Also, could you do some of them by delegating some of the other tasks?

Back to you: What tasks are you still attached to and are hindering your progression?