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/ Nov 20, 2017

Finding Success in the Workplace as a Woman

Posted by The Coaching Room

We need more women leaders.

Leaders who are more aligned with the elements of compassion and collaboration,  leaders who care about people, lead the highest and best in people, and who are enlightened enough to be effective and transformative to step out, up and lead, going beyond equality. 

Our experience is that for too long, the core support mechanisms for women in leadership have been absent in the world.

My current perspective from coaching and leading people, a somewhat controversial one, is a woman’s in-built capacity for care and relating, one of her core strengths, is what typically undermines and holds her back in being able to take the lead; Free yourself from this in voice, and in action, and have the confidence to care about everyone wholly, and let go of the ‘personal’ and partial’ care/s. - Jay Hedley

 

This article was based on the TED Talk, “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders,”: by Sheryl Sandberg:

 

Why we have too few women leaders | Sheryl Sandberg

 

Men Versus Women in Top Professions

In today’s world, women have seemingly unlimited career options. The problem is that despite the choices women have, they are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world.  Sheryl Sandberg cites some startling statistics:

  • Out of 190 heads of state, nine are women.
  • Of all the people in parliament in the world, 13 percent are women.
  • In the corporate sector, the number of women in the top positions is barely 16 percent.
  • Only 20 percent of the top positions within the non-profit sector are held by women.

There is yet another problem, which is that women face harder choices between professional success and personal fulfillment. A recent study in the U.S. showed that of married senior managers, two-thirds of the married men had children and only one-third of the married women had children.

 

Keep Women in the Workforce

The best way to change these numbers is to begin working on keeping women in the workforce. When you look at the high-income part of our workforce, the problem is that women are dropping out. Although companies offer a variety of programs to help train women, Sandberg feels that the real solution lies within the messages we tell the women that work with and for us.

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Three Messages Women Need to Know

There are three messages women need to understand if they want to stay in the workforce:

  1. Sit at the table.
  2. Make your partner a real partner.
  3. Don't leave before you leave.

Sitting at the table means putting yourself out there to get what you want and taking credit for what you have. Women systematically underestimate their own abilities. If you test men and women, asking them questions on objective criteria like GPAs, men get it wrong slightly high, and women get it wrong slightly low. Women do not negotiate for themselves in the workforce. A study of people entering the workforce out of college showed that 57 percent of men negotiate their first salary compared to only seven percent of women. Most importantly, men typically attribute their success to themselves, while women attribute it to external factors.

When it comes to partners, Sandberg is convinced that we have made more progress in the workforce than we have in the home. As a society, we put more pressure on our boys to succeed than we do on our girls. The data shows that if a woman and a man work full-time and have a child, the woman does twice the amount of housework the man does, and the woman does three times the amount of childcare the man does. We have to make raising children an important a job for people of both genders if we are going to even things out and let women stay in the workforce.

The final message is to stop quietly leaning back.  Although women enter the workforce with the objective of staying, the moment they start thinking about starting a family, they begin to withdraw.  In order for a woman to want to return to a job after having a child, it needs to be challenging and rewarding. Women need to feel like they are making a difference.

 

Equal Choices and Opportunities for All

If women pay attention to these three messages, we may be able to tip the scales to see a world where half of our countries and our companies are run by women.  Our sons should have a choice to contribute fully in the workforce or at home, and our daughters should have not just career choices, but also the opportunity to succeed in any career.

 

Click here to learn about The Coaching Room’s Women In Leadership Training Program. It is a Leadership Transition and Actualisation training program for women to unleash their professional leadership potential and personal vitality. 

 

FURTHER READING
Empathy Versus Sympathy