5 must-have strategies for the previous “good girl” turned leader
by Noomi Natan | 20 Jan, 2017
“I have always been the person who could do my own work AND be there for others. I have always exceeded expectations and now I can’t even get through the basics,” said Mary in tears. After a recent exciting promotion, Mary felt liked she was no longer coping.
If you were always the “good girl” growing up, perhaps even the “over-achieving good girl” you might recognize Mary’s words.
The “good girl” is the girl who, growing up, does what she is told to do. She does her home work, she listens to teachers and parents. She is a delight to have around because she is responsible and can be relied upon.
The “good girl” thrives on being perfect or better than perfect. The perfection-measure keeps moving upwards and she never feels like she has achieved enough.
But when the “good girl” suddenly can’t keep up appearances, the pretty picture crumples. The trigger can be promotions, feelings of too many expectations, increased work load etc. Suddenly the strategy of just-work-harder, sacrifice myself and my needs and please everyone while putting on a smile can no longer be executed. The results? Overflowing emotions, tears before and after work, maybe tears in meetings, defensiveness, depression, disconnection. Basically the shadow side of the “overachieving good girl”.
In its purity the “good girl” personality doesn’t lend itself to sustainable leadership. So although the “good girl” might get promoted, she will likely crack – sometimes very visibly and sometimes slowly on the inside, just beating away at herself as she tries to keep up appearances. Unless she makes some changes…
Thankfully it is possible to shift a few key habits which in turn can make former “good girls” brilliant leaders.
Let’s return to Mary. Her usual survival technique was to just work harder. But she was cracking at the seams. Harder wasn’t possible anymore.
Mary was super scared to let go of her current success strategies, but desperate enough to see that she needed to start making changes.
She could see that the strategies that had gotten her to her current place of success were not going to get her to the next level of leadership. In fact if she kept approaching life and work in the same way as she had until now, she would soon be at her doctor’s office asking for a sick note because of burnout and stress.
Below are the five areas we worked on in the following months.
Exercise: 5 “good girl” habits to shift if you want to become a strong leader, who can add value AND look after yourself
If you want help with working on stepping from out-dated good girl habits to useful power woman strategies, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have an informal chat.
Have you made the shift from good girl to leader? What did you have to change in your habits as you did?