Chameleon syndrome: the real reason women get stuck in middle management

Do you know why so many ambitious women get stuck in middle management roles? It’s not because they don’t have the ambition or talent to break through the glass ceiling and reach the highest levels of success. The real reason is a deeply ingrained thinking pattern I call Chameleon Syndrome. There are three key signs you might have Chameleon Syndrome. Explore them in this month’s video.

Have you ever felt like you’re trying to blend in, rather than stand out? This is a major issue among ambitious women and it’s keeping you from achieving your goals. When you try too hard to fit in and be perfect, you become invisible – ironically, wearing camouflage that hides your talent from those who could help you advance.

I’m sure you’ve been there – working hard without any recognition or reward. You might even feel like you’re being overlooked or taken advantage of. But this isn’t an isolated experience; it’s a common pattern among ambitious women seeking career advancement. Here are some quick tips on how to beat this problem.

Stop being too humble to shine

This can be tricky because it’s important to show a reasonable amount of humility in the workplace. But avoid letting it go too far. You don’t need to shy away from talking about your successes and strengths. Learn to do it assertively, not aggressively.


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Aim to be impactful, rather than busy

You might think you’re helping your team by doing operational tasks yourself, but chances are, you’re just taking on too much. Find ways to delegate and outsource so that you can focus on what really matters.

Never be silenced by your desire to be nice

It’s a huge mistake to be so ‘nice’ that you never speak out. Yes. It’s important to be kind and courteous, but it’s important to be courageous, too. Don’t hold back on expressing your opinions. You can’t make your mark as a leader if you don’t have an authentic voice!

Chameleon Syndrome can prevent even the most ambitious woman from reaching her potential. But with these tips, you can start breaking free from this pattern of thinking. Take charge of your career path and keep pushing for success!

This article was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer and success coach. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference.  Since discovering her passion for training and development, Eleanor has trained more than 60,000 people. She delivers face-to-face workshops for corporates, online masterclasses for leaders and Positive Psychology retreats for trainers, HR practitioners and leaders.