By Nancy Fredericks


Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.

Becoming the leader you desire is a YES… AND journey. Unfortunately, employees often find themselves leaning heavily on just one side of the success equation and then wonder why promotions remain elusive despite all their hard work and efforts.

The path to leadership is undeniably shrouded in misconceptions.

Are you prepared to unpack a bit of the ambiguity as we delve into four attitudes that might be hindering your progress?

First: YES… you’ve undoubtedly earned your initial position and subsequent promotions by evidencing the expertise your company sought.

AND… research reveals a surprising finding—confidence matters just as much, if not more, than your skills when it comes to obtaining a promotion. Moreover—higher self-confidence is closely tied to greater happiness. So, have you deliberately taken steps to nurture your self-confidence to achieve your future career aspirations?

Second: YES… we all recognize that the foundation of our professional promotions began by demonstrating our expertise in delivering results, whether through customer service interactions or product excellence.

AND… frankly, when you observe the role of the C-suite and senior executives, you’ll notice they are rarely the detailed specialists in the organization. No. They’ve cultivated a broader range of capabilities. These higher-ranking positions demand dynamic communicators, visionary thinkers, adept negotiators, future- oriented strategists, talent scouts and developers, corporate PR aficionados, and profit maximizers. All of this is intertwined with high levels of emotional intelligence. Sounds a lot different than what you bring to your job now, correct? So, what do you need to begin working on for your future career aspirations?

Third: YES…  executives rely on their expertise and industry mastery for job security, especially as companies expect more from their employees in an era where human knowledge is doubling every 12 minutes.

AND… let’s address the elephant in the discussion. With the surge of AIs and their rapid information retrieval capabilities, a formidable knowledge base no longer guarantees success. Moreover, it's anticipated that generative AIs will evolve to create new business models and augment human capacities. So, what mid-career adjustments are necessary for you to adapt the path for realizing your professional aspirations?

Reflecting on these YES’S, it’s evident why executives believe their education andexpertise win them their promotion.

But there’s another facet of YES’S that warrants exploration… It’s your interpersonal skills.

Fourth: YES… a leader’s sustained success hinges, in part, on their ability to engage their employees. You’re well aware of this because your company likely administers annual assessments to gauge employee happiness, satisfaction, and engagement. This factor often underscores the importance of your people-management skills in your journey to success. 

AND… it’s a nuanced balancing act. As you aspire to a more prominent role within the organization, it’s not solely about being rated as the “best boss ever” by your team. Despite what companies proclaim regarding developing a trusting, healthy culture, they ultimately value executives who hold employees accountable for driving the business’s strategic mission forward. If you don’t recognize this, your promotion might remain out of reach. Are you evaluating your leadership style based on likeability, or are you focused on the outcomes your people generate?

Perhaps, it’s time to reconsider how you measure yourself to achieve your career aspirations? 

Today’s marketplace is everchanging at a velocity we’ve never experienced before. To succeed, you need to have a “working on the balls of your feet attitude conditioned to pivot” at any moment to meet the challenges you face today and today and today and on into the future.

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