There is a new and positive mindset in women in business today and in their approach to their careers, steeped in authenticity and self-assuredness. And they are showing that genuineness in their style of leadership and management.
These women are a role model for women everywhere looking to advance. Their attitudes and actions offer a number of lessons and actions women at all levels of their career can begin practicing today:
Don’t fall prey to viewing yourself as a victim of the system. That automatically puts you in a one-down position and can keep you there throughout your career.
Recognize the business environment for what it is—designed by men for men more than a century ago. Men are very comfortable with the rules, and are often unaware of how their thoughts and actions can cause women to feel excluded and dismissed. There’s no gain for you in blaming them for what they don’t recognize and comes natural to them.
Become more skilled at recognizing the unwritten rules and proactively navigating the system. Network for position as men do. Enlist the support of a male colleague and friend to understand better the thought processes that underlie the male model and how to best navigate the politics and power plays.
Recognize that there are blind spotsembedded throughout the recruiting and interviewing process. The model of the perfect candidate for the position is also based on the male model of leadership behaviour. Speaking to the details of your experiences and the team effort and not your contribution can be interpreted as a sign of uncertainty and self-doubt. Speak to your potential, strategic value, and leadership abilities.
Dispel the notion that the only way to succeed is to act like men. Yes, learn from them and frame your conversations so the men you work for and with can better understand and act on your needs, but never relinquish your authenticity. Women are just as purposeful, driven, and strategic as men are, yet bring with them a powerfully different perspective for performance, people development, and business improvement.
Women are just as purposeful, driven, and strategic as men are, yet bring with them a powerfully different perspective for performance, people development, and business improvement.
It’s heartening to see that the clear majority of the women in our survey do not even entertain the notion of giving up. Rather, their focus is on looking for ways to pursue their careers the way they want it. They acknowledge the challenges, yet are finding ways to work within male cultures, maintaining their focus on the objectives of the organization, and practicing their own sense of leadership.
They do represent the leading edge of a transformation in women’s attitudes and aspirations. They’re displaying the natural leadership tendencies inherent in women, what is now emerging as the new model for the future of leadership in business and governance. Given their sense of self and purpose, we feel there will be no stopping the women who participated in this study or the multitude of women who will embrace them as role models for their own career success.