Women in Leadership

Women in leadership face many challenges just as men in leadership do, although, there may be some specific challenges due to gender issues.

Women often complain that they are working in a "good ole boy" network where they cannot get ahead. In my own career, I worked in an industry what was traditionally managed by men. Women in leadership there were a rarity although I never felt discriminated against. Here are five potential threats to women and advice for dealing with those threats.

  1. Women often feel a heightened need to prove themselves to their male coworkers so they work harder and longer than everyone else.
    This is sometimes necessary. Often it is not. If women in leadership decide to take this route, it is very important that they don't play the martyr. If it must be done, it must be done as an investment, not as a show.
  2. Women are sometimes viewed as naive.
    And we are sometimes. We entrust ourselves too early to people and spill our guts. Hold back the words...and the tears.
  3. Women are labeled with stereotypical perceptions.
    Don't worry about being perceived as the "b-word." Just be passionate about results and be yourself. Hold your associates accountable without apology. Find out what they want, praise them for what they do well, and help them reach their goals...relentlessly.
  4. Women often feel the need to be the company conscience.
    Because by nature we are caregivers, women often crusade for everything and everyone including softer toilet tissue in the bathrooms. Smart women in leadership will choose their battles carefully.
  5. Women feel they need to play it safe so they won't make a fool of themselves or lose their one-time opportunity to shine.
    Actually playing it safe will get you nowhere. Go out on a limb. Bring proposals. Take risks. But do it with a can-do attitude not a whine. Complaining about how things ought to be will only get you a reputation for being emotional.