Looking to bridge the gender gap in the workplace? Here are powerful tips to help women in leadership succeed.
Many big businesses love to boast about increased diversity on their teams or inside their workplaces, but seeing as only 6% of Fortune 500 CEO positions are held by women, there’s clearly a lot of work left to be done. This disparity in female-to-male-led positions is astounding, but not surprising. Though women have long-since been ascending the stairs to shatter the glass ceiling, inequality in the workplace isn’t just chalked up to societal constructs.
Changing the Way We Think
There are many variables that keep women from positions of power and influence, many of which can be addressed by transforming the lens through which we view these women in their professional sense. We must start by first empowering them to strive for power, and then watch them shine. What resources or tips will help more women strive for more? Here are a few tips to help women in leadership actually succeed:
Don’t Glorify Perfect
It is a fact universally acknowledged that women are held to different standards than their male counterparts. And this dynamic is even more pronounced in the workplace where effort, ownership, and assertiveness are all metrics on which our value to a team is being measured. Because women are held to different standards, women feel as though they have to work harder in order to gain the same notoriety as their male coworkers. This drives many women to perfectionism.
Though many leaders see perfectionism as a strong attribute for a valuable team player, it can have negative repercussions. Being obsessed with the outcome of any project or idea leads us to a perfectionist mindset, which increases our chances of burnout exponentially. To avoid the ‘Big B’, establishing a healthy work-life balance is essential and can also help relieve the pressure that comes with perfectionism.
The Trick is Confidence
Another effect of uneven standards between men and women in the workplace is that women feel as though they have to prove their self-worth. They spend much of their time and energy focusing on the pesky gap, and this leads to an internalized lack of self-confidence. Not having enough women in important leadership positions to luck up to or to serve as mentors doesn’t help much either.
Shift the Focus.
As we noted earlier, there has been a push for more women in the workplace. Though companies are attempting to diversify their teams by hiring more women, the investment is mainly being focused on hard professional skills and not on the internal issues that are also key factors as to why women feel out of place in business.
Internal issues such as lack of self-confidence, not feeling courageous enough, or feeding self-doubt are common among women in the workplace. Though they’re common outside the workplace as well, these are things that need to be addressed and nurtured in order for women to feel empowered enough to ascend into leadership positions.
Build Courageous Leaders.
Moving away from the traditional leadership styles of yesteryear, encouraging courageous leadership will help build empowerment across the board. Courageous leaders know that nothing truly innovative can be done alone. They foster a supportive team by ensuring that everyone has an equally essential seat at the table, making sure that every member is valued. Everyone – not just women – could benefit from this type of encouraging atmosphere at work.
Courageous leaders are also great risk-takers. They are given safe space and free reign to speak their minds, allowing an open flow of ideas to germinate and come to fruition. They are also born from workplaces that encourage originality and being themselves. There is no bell curve gradient here, only the ability to express yourself freely regardless of gender.
Building the Tools to Do it.
As an Executive Coach, my programs are tailored for women leaders. Our Round Table Discussions address each of the pivotal issues laid out above, and much more. These in-person or virtual gatherings can help take female entrepreneurs into the world of leadership by helping them master their inner game, amplify their strengths, catalyze their leadership power, and carving out their dream jobs and roles. For more information on an upcoming Round Table Discussion, click here.
To drastically close the gap in numbers between male and female profession leaders, we must first develop an unshakable mindset in those women looking to succeed. We must push women leaders to lead from the inside out, breaking habits such as perfectionism that lead to lack of confidence and negative self-talk–all things that keep them from taking those positions of power in the first place. The time has come to make deep-rooted changes, so let’s get to work.
If you want to strengthen your leadership skills or those of your team, book a call. I would love to talk with you.
The original version of this publication appeared in Brainz Magazine