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Tip of the Day

How women can close the pay gap & get that promotion

By April 29, 2019October 3rd, 2023No Comments

The pay gap between women and men is improving while in some industries there is still work to do


In my previous career as an Executive Recruitment Consultant, I noticed a huge difference in how women negotiated their salary.

When I asked women what their salary expectations were, they would often answer with what they were currently earning. Men on the other hand would more often state what they expected which included an average at least 10%. Ladies, can I say, we can learn from their skill in doing this.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook discussed this same phenomena in her book “Lean In”. Worth a read.

If I put on my psychologist hat, I would explain this several different ways, but the simplest is that our wiring is just different to men when it comes to self-worth, career and self-belief. My dissertation on CEO wellbeing and performance, illuminated this difference too.


3 Steps for Change

Step 1: Lean In to Fear

What!? Negative self-talk is an automatic response whenever we do something that takes us out of our comfort zone. It is our mind’s way of trying to protect us. For example: “What if they say no?”, “Will they expect 200% out of me instead of 150%”, “Do they think I am worthy? And do I want to find out!?”  I could keep going.

How many of you have been about to have that uncomfortable conversation with a direct report, peer or your your boss and Ms Neggy shows up (Ms Neggy in the negative voice inside your head). Ms Neggy reinforces why not to ask for that raise or promotion so you do nothing. However while you are avoiding the conversation, someone else may be getting your pay rise or your promotion!

Over the next 24 hours write down every time Ms Neggy shows up and what she says. Something like this.

Then notice what you did as a result. Simply notice how Ms Neggy can run the show.

Now, tell yourself 3 positive things about yourself, and why having that uncomfortable conversation is important to you and even linked to one of your values. See if there is a difference.

Step 2:  LET GO

Give Ms Neggy a voice. I always suggest a cartoon character as there is some great research to say this works. Mine is Homer Simpson. Imagine Homer’s voice now saying “What if they say no!….doh doh doh!”

Did you smile or laugh?  Most people do when I do this live at a workshop!  Try this technique with your inner negative voice. Who is your cartoon character? What do they sound like?

This technique is designed to help you notice how silly some of these thoughts are, to allow more positive and logical thoughts to take over. This enables us “to do” what is important to us, and move towards our values.

Step 3: DO IT

If I channel Ms Sandberg…it is time to “Lean in!”.  It is time for you to move towards your values and what is important to you. The fear and negative self-talk, may follow you to that discussion but it doesn’t mean you don’t ask anyway.  “Don’t ask, you don’t get” (thanks Grandma Sykes for that gem).

Remember the times when you did get out of your comfort zone and how good it felt!

Please let me know how you go!

If you would like some 1-1 coaching to take that next step, or clarify your values, your first step towards achieving that is to book an initial discussion (no charge) here. 

I hope this information has been of value. I believe most people desire to reach their potential. My passion is to help as many as I can achieve this, so more of us can have greater prosperity in our work and lives. If you share this belief and passion please spread the word and this post.


Margie Ireland
Leadership Coach | Psychologist


Margie Ireland is the author of The Happy Healthy Leader – how to achieve your potential even during a crisis. Margie is a registered Psychologist, Leadership Coach and Workshop Facilitator, highly sought after to help Leaders and their teams navigate stress and change with healthier coping strategies, leading to happier, healthier and high-performing teams. For more information visit www.margieireland.com

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