What Do You Have in Common with “Dorothy” from the Wizard of Oz?

Posted March 21, 2013 by Bobbie LaPorte in On the Ladder

Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.  She’s probably not the first person to come to mind if I asked you to name a female leader. Yet, think about it: Dorothy was a true leader. She identified the tasks at hand, formulated a plan and overcame obstacles to reach her goals: a brain for the scarecrow, a heart for the tin man, and courage for the cowardly lion.

But what did Dorothy ultimately ask for herself from the Wizard? Nothing.

You might say Dorothy’s behavior represents the stereotypical female leader. She builds teams. She encourages collaboration and consensus. She reaches resolution efficiently. And, at the end of the day, she asks for no credit, no reward, no recognition. And so no one knows what she has done, and no one thinks of her as a leader.

Sound like you? So many of us think first of the needs of others before we think of ourselves: the company, our team, a colleague in need. We tend to focus more on the communal vs. personal aspects of our work: how we are working together, our relationships, our customers. Men, on the other hand, are more driven by what’s a stake for them personally for their career advancement.

So how do you become more focused on you, on your career and how you invest your time?

Here are three tips to get you started:

1. Shift your thinking to you: when a project or assignment comes up, think about how you could benefit; what does it mean to your personally?

2. Think of yourself as “self-employed”: with all potential job changes we may make in today’s marketplace you need to think about your current position as “short term”, and be positioning yourself for that next job

3. Look back to look forward: take the time to inventory your most significant 3 – 5 accomplishments – your “Personal Highlight Reel” – and the skills and traits you used to achieve them and how they relate to your current challenges at work

By taking these steps you will be more prepared to ask for what you need and communicate your value, you will begin to feel more comfortable with self-promotion, and you will have an important reminder of your achievements and value during challenging times in your career.

About the Author

Bobbie LaPorte

Bobbie LaPorte, is Founder and Principal of RAL & Associates, a consulting firm providing career and leadership development services to technology, financial services and healthcare organizations. RAL & Associates produces the “When She Speaks” – Women in Leadership Series in San Francisco, sponsored by blue chip Bay Area companies. Before founding RAL & Associates, Bobbie served in GM, COO and CMO roles in several Fortune 50 companies, including IBM, GE and United Healthcare, as well as two healthcare technology start-ups. A certified career coach, she has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from Harvard. She is a nationally-recognized expert on the powerful relationship between physical fitness and career success, and an accomplished triathlete and multi-sport coach. Bobbie is currently training for her fifth Ironman triathlon. When she is not coaching executives or Ironman triathletes she proudly serves on a number of Bay Area non-profit boards and happily rescues senior Golden Retriever dogs