Showing posts from November, 2014

No More Glass Ceiling for Women

Although it's 7 years old, I'm reading a powerful book called "Through the Labyrinth" by Eagly and Carli.  In the book they dispel the idea that there now exists a glass ceiling for women leaders, as in the last decade, women made large advances in leadership roles.  Yet, they recognize the challenge most face, replacing the "glass ceiling" metaphor (coined in 1986) for a "labyrinth," a complex maze for gaining influence.   Here are 7 reasons they offer of why the glass ceiling metaphor is misleading* 1. It implies women have equ al access to entry-level positions (they don't always; it's not just a top issue) 2. It assumes an absolute barrier at a specific high level, whereas it varies in organizations 3. It suggests barriers to women are difficult to detect and unforeseen (quite often you can identify them) 4. It assumes a single, homogeneous barrier, ignoring the complexity and variety of obstacles women leaders face 5. It fails

Female Leaders & the Human Economy

As Bob Dylan sang, "The times, they are a changin'." So how does that resonate with new economies?  During the industrial age, it was commerce based on resources, widgets, factories and raw materials.  Then dawned the information age, where knowledge became the trump card for what drove the economy, jobs, and demand.  But according to Harvard, we may be moving into a new realm where research shows women hold an edge on us guys... the human economy.  While I'm not prone to quote long passages from others, following is an excerpt from a robust HBR blog you might enjoy, followed by a link of the article. The management community knows on some deep level that humanity is important to enterprise success. In hiring, a   recent study   of over 1,000 CEOs indicates that above all they seek candidates who are “collaborative, communicative, creative, and flexible.” (Contrast this with the Knowledge Economy’s premium on sheer intellect.) A recent study entitled “ Only Huma

Bossy Girls Often Become Great Bosses

Lieutenant Commander Krysten J. Ellis was among an elite group of women, selected to be the first to serve on US Naval submarines.  She combines a unique blend of smarts, emotional intelligence, and strong leadership.  While her leadership abilities are paying off now in her military career, she didn't always receive that kind of affirmation.  Here's another example of a female leader who was mislabeled as a child, in her own words: As a young girl, I was frequently told, "You're too bossy!" The characteristic has served me well in many respects, but could have transformed into what it really meant: a valuable leadership skill. With a program like SheLead, vice years of muddling through it on my own, this trait could have been well-honed much earlier, without negative connotation or the second guessing I put myself through. Let young women be known for what they are, not bossy, but assertive leaders. Krysten Ellis, LCDR, SC, USN (LCDR Ellis meets POTUS, p

Training Leader Kids Improves Adult Leaders

Most adults know that when you have to teach something, you actually learn that skill or content at a higher level yourself.  The same is true in the area of leadership.  I just got off the phone with Nina Lewis, a KidLead Trainer in Eaton, CO, thanking me for introducing her to KidLead. "The irony (or not), is that I've learned so much more about leadership myself, while teaching our students," she said.  "I've applied the nuances of working as a team, recognizing the differences of team members, and organizing toward a task, that I'm a better leader myself."  Obviously she is, because Eaton, a small town east of Fort Collins, just passed a local bill to fund a $25,000,000 community center.  Nina was 1 of 5 board members on a committee of 30.  The bill passed first time on the public ballot.  While KidLead was originally designed to identify and develop young executives ages 10 and up, the other benefits continue to surprise us, including how teac

Why Girls Schools Develop Leaders Better (Without Even Trying)

I recently met with progressive all-girls schools in the DC area, such as Georgetown Visitation Prep, National Cathedral, and Connelly School of the Holy Child.  While these schools are genuinely interested in developing female student leaders, even those that aren't tend to do a better job than co-ed schools; here's why.  During teen years, both females and males begin the biological mating ritual.  While most hope the culmination of this process postpones til marriage, ultimately the social behaviors of flirting, gaining attention of the opposite gender, and attraction, impact the leadership development of many teen women in that they tend to defer to the males, especially leader-type males.  Thus, just when female leaders are gaining confidence to unveil true leader prowess, they pull back so as not to intimidate males or compete with them organizationally.  Thus, those in all-girl environs tend to see higher leadership aptitude students emerge more naturally, where they