Female success - women at the very top
It is a reality in the corporate world: Successful women, for example on a board often convince their bosses by practicing a life model where the traditional roles are reversed – with a husband who does the family work and lightens their burdens. Certainly this is a good option for a transition period. But is it really enough?
From my experience in Corporates since 1998, I have developed a concept for empowering women. It enables the development of personal clarity instead of only good advice and recipes. And it helps against the typical effects that occur when women are hampered:
Coined in the 1980s in the USA; it means that highly qualified women get stuck in the middle management and never reach the top executive level, even if they perform just as well as their male colleagues, who are favoured.
100% men's quota
That means: implicit promotion of men by men. We must understand that not the possible implementation of a women’s quota is the problem but the fact that the boards consist only of men, often 100%.
Implicit: family leave
Often, it is still assumed by implication that women will take family leave. Also, the following biologism is often implied: when women have become mothers, they want to stay home with their children. However, we do not define ourselves by biology, but by our culture.
That means: Competition between the genders, with women copying the behaviour of men.
What are the solution strategies? Most women want to find a different attitude, but also strive to
- acknowledge the reality of prejudices
- anticipate the problems when they return to their careers after their parental leave
- master the balancing act between being “too bossy” and “too weak”
- establish a blend between cooperative leadership and giving clear messages
- And: a successful mentor – of either gender – is always helpful!
Coaching for women on their career path can easily be begun with an initial workshop and continue with regular meetings for review and reflection.
Find a PDF here: Women_Feb2015_en
The industry of industriousnesstop
Why women end up on a treadmill and men on the board
10 theses (of my book, only available in German):
Have you ever come across an industrious man who had a top job? No surprise then that women fail miserably in their traditional roles as princess and queen bee because that is exactly what they rely on: industriousness.
1. Women want to achieve success with the same virtues as their mothers and grand-mothers displayed in the home. But professional life is a game with its own rules, which are frequently unobserved and unknown.
2. Women are traditionally successful only through industriousness or beauty. Both are easy to measure and demonstrate.
3. Industriousness leads directly to top marks and a place in middle management, right up to and as far as the glass ceiling. But no further.
4. An alternative perspective: on parental leave men are collide with the same glass ceiling. “Does he really know what he’s doing on my home turf?”
5. The glass ceiling is not an invention of the world of business. It rather guarantees mutual dependency and prevents men and women from seeing things eye to eye in all areas of life.
6. In business, strategy or power prevails over content every time – women concern themselves with content, men with strategy and power.
7. In consequence, men adjust their strategies and swap content, together with the industrious women who deliver it. Content-driven women revenge themselves by denigrating strategic managers.
8. In private life it’s the same: women have to deliver here and now – like princesses – as for princes, potential is enough.
9. However women, in the role of princess and queen bee, can explore heroic possibilities and, as queen, deal with the full range of opportunities the power game offers: influence, strategy, politics.
10. Tomorrow’s world requires this active approach. It has to be designed by both men and women who reject hierarchy and find their way to their own identity.
Print this theses: Theses_Industriousness_2015okt
One smart day // Workshop inhousetop
The power game: Why women end up on the treadmill and men on the Board
Diversity is our reality and inclusion is a choice which urgently asks for more awareness, a new repertoire and insights in the power game at work. All genders have their stakes in this game but the losers nowadays are mostly women. Clichees and stereotypes hinder their success and an effortless development in the same dynamic and power as the success of their male col-leagues. Let’s start with our contribution to the game and the blockades which keep us away from our power!
Read more: Women power day
From Princess to Queentop
I find the following perspective helpful as a concept for the analysis of women’s personal behaviour: In which situation exactly do I act as a princess? The role contains the social coding of centuries of patriarchal domination. For princesses, it meant that they
- perceive themselves as isolated, as unique
- have no supporters or comrades-in-arms
- wait to be chosen.
It can happen to each and every one of us that we show such a behaviour – regardless of our age, maturity and experience – as long as we do not reflect and transform it. The counter-model I find useful for a period of transition is the role of the queen. The queen accepts responsibility for her life:
- she makes sure that she is visible,
- she professionalises her family life, and
- she meets kings at eye-level.
If women not only want to be active in management but aspire to transform the system, it means that they find ways to develop their own strength and not “simply” conform. Easier said than done, at least at the beginning; yes, I know. But while the path is walked, the light on the horizon gets brighter. To act in a queens way means to enrich your repertoire – to increase your personal development of a sophisticated identity, free to shape the world in a responsible way. In a female way – my dream: liberated from hierarchies, liberated from exerting pressure and power, free for cooperation, clarity and new options!
A German self-learning class “From Princess to Queen” is available online at diplomero.com. Of course, all these reflections are also part of my personal coaching and can be very helpful for individual work.
PDF here: Queen_Feb2015_en