Patti Husic: Ask for what you want

You work hard. You’re smart. You have impressive strategic and leadership skills, and the CEO is always complimenting you on your latest project.

Then a C-Suite position that you have been working toward opens up.

You figure it’s just a matter of time before they ask to you to put your hat in the ring: an invitation to the position, a seat at the executive table. 

Think again.  

You need to ask for it. Not only ask but show them you are the next – and only – person for that job.  

For women in particular, “the ask” can be elusive.

But it shouldn’t be.

We got some advice on the topic from Patti Husic, president and CEO of Centric Bank in Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County.

“When you are making the ask, you are making others aware that you want to advance your career path, and that’s important,” Husic said.

Your boss — the leadership team — needs that feedback from you, Husic said.

Doing your job well is not enough

A lot of women think that if they do great work and are recognized for that work, they are going to be tapped for the promotion and asked to take a seat at the executive table,  Husic said.

That rarely happens.

Asking for it is promoting yourself for the position.

Many women have been taught that touting your accomplishments – bragging as some might refer to it – is improper, or impolite.

“There is nothing wrong with letting them know where your career path should be,” she said. “Most people are willing to help. You have to put in the hard work, but in the end, it’s the crux of making the ask and being considered.” 

Don’t get the position? Create visibility

When Husic said she was passed over for a promotion during a past working experience, she didn’t pout, but she didn’t stay in the same position either. 

She pitched her proposal to head another department. At the time it was one of the most challenging, and most criticized of areas in the bank.  

“I did my homework,” she said. She gave the organziation a 30-, 60- and 90-day proposal. The decision makers initially just thought about the idea, but then they gave her the green light.

“We are going to pursue this with you, but you can’t go back,” she remembers them saying.

Husic said she turned around the department and that success gave her visibility.

“It’s what you make out of it,” she said.

Never downplay your work

It’s the polite mode that women tend to take when someone – a boss, for instance – compliments them on their work.

Women don’t want to come across as bragging, so they shy away, play down their accomplishments.

Those actions won’t help further your career, Husic said.

 “Say you worked on a tough project (and your boss, peer, etc.) recognized you for that project and your response was, ‘Oh, it was nothing,’” Husic said.

Say that enough times and your supervisor, unfortunately, will start to believe it, Husic said.

“There is nothing wrong with touting your accomplishment,” she said.

Cathy Hirko
Cathy Hirko is Associate Publisher/Editorial Director for the Central Penn Business Journal and Lehigh Valley Business. Email her at chirko@bridgetowermedia.com.

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