The Dangers of being known as a Safe Pair of Hands

Women tend to over-index on Competency, by which I mean their focus is on doing the best job possible, always, erring towards perfectionism and beating themselves up if something, no matter how small, goes wrong 

And what’s wrong with being good at your job I hear you ask? Well in terms of your Personal Brand development, it can hinder your progression depending on your ambitions. 

The issue with being super-competent, is it sticks you to the floor. There are very few bosses who are sufficiently enlightened and benevolent to let a valuable asset move to another team or up the ladder. 

I often speak about the curse of being known as a ‘safe pair of hands’; reliable, dependable. These descriptors describe a Manager, not a Leader. Yet so many women think executing and delivering will get them noticed and rewarded and when that doesn’t happen they simply work harder……..

Women are often a victim of their own success in this context, being given more and more projects to the point where they are so busy they have no time to develop any other skills. And the fact remains, if you want to move beyond middle-management, you need to demonstrate skills which go beyond competency and that takes time and head space

So here are the options: 

Be great at your job achieve a level of reward whilst doing someone else’s bidding and fail to reach your full potential, eventually becoming demoralised and resentful 


Say no to projects which won’t advance your career, be clear on your boundaries and be lasered focus on your career as oppose to the job you have now. 

Dan Shawbel is quoted as saying ‘Brand for the career you want. not the job you have” and this is absolutely the way forward. 


Discover how to


Download your free copy of ‘How to Start building your Personal Brand for Visibility & Impact’