Research Paper By Natacha Sommer Carvalho
(Executive Women in Leadership Coach, SWITZERLAND)
Women in the workplace
Representation of Women in Senior Leadership in Corporate America has increased, but women continue to be underrepresented at each level.
The biggest obstacle women face is the first step to management.
- Men hold 62% of manager-level positions while women hold just 38%.
- There is a lack of awareness of this issue within the organizations so looking at the promotion criteria and making sure that women are receiving constructive feedback is essential.
Bias regarding Women in the Workplace
Prove it Again
Women have to prove themselves over and over again.
Women are either seen as:
- Liked - too feminine and not taken seriously; or
- Respected – too masculine and aggressive.
Once you become a mother there are negative assumptions about your level of commitment.
Thug of War
Women judging other women.
* Source: “What works for Women at Work” – by Joan C. Williams
Strategies to gain more visibility, recognition, and confidence
Besides the bias (external obstacles which we have no control over), there are behaviors that we can implement to accelerate our careers (that are under our control).
We need to develop the willingness to make a consistent effort over time to get long term results.
Focus on the larger long-term goal rather than the task at hand
- Focus on more on your career and not on your job.
- Make time to connect and build relationships to gain visibility to reach your next level.
- Focus on the big picture and not on details. Done is better than perfect.
- Communicate your professional goals.
Is this serving your interests?
- Before taking a new project make sure it is aligned with your long term career goals.
Leverage your Relationships
- Leverage on your network to achieve your career goals.
- Enlisting allies. Think about who you need to connect with to gain more visibility. Get exposure within the Organization.
- Find a mentor or a sponsor.
Develop more confidence
- Take credit for your own achievements
- Draw attention to your contributions, do not expect others to spontaneously notice them.
- Be assertive, confident and effective in your interactions
- Focus on your future
- Focus on your goal
- Enquire about leadership training
- Develop the capability to know yourself
- Develop the capability to sustain self-development
- Take up space, speak with intention and clarity. Communicate your vision and strategy effectively.
- Be professional and reliable.
Connecting to your Purpose, Mission and Vision
Knowing your purpose, defining it, sharing it and being intentional in its pursuit can be a powerful asset as you address behaviors that will benefit your career growth.
Articulate what you hope to achieve – clearly state the goal or purpose that most inspires you. Simple and clear.
Look upon your professional life as something that you are creating.
- Write a purpose statement. A purpose is something that provides energy and direction to achieve your goal.
- What inspires you as a leader?
- What impact do you want to create?
- Write a mission statement. A mission describes your goal for your professional life.
- What would be your ideal professional life if you had all the support and resources you needed?
- What would it take for you to feel fulfilled in your professional life?
- Write the vision sentence. A vision is a compelling description of a future you want to create. Describe a detailed version of what you would like to have.
- How does your professional life look like?
The importance of Authenticity in Leadership
Female leadership has to be a combination of two factors:
- Authoritative: If women are only authoritative, their leadership will not be effective because they are violating the gender
- Approachable: Women need to be nurturing and approachable. Using emotional intelligence as a tool to leverage on career advancement.
When we are authentic we create an environment where trust is built and developing partnerships that you can leverage your career on becomes much more natural.
Do your self-assessment in these areas from 1-10 (where you are now and wish to see yourself):
- Self-Awareness: Developing the capability to know yourself and to sustain your self-development
- Networking: Building effective relationships and discussing how to leverage those to achieve your goals
- Influencing: Leading with authenticity and communicating your vision and strategy effectively
- Communicating: Being assertive, confident and effective in your interactions
Role of Coaching in Leadership
In coaching, we start with Awareness to create solutions and then create Action. A combination of Commitment and Action will lead you to Success!
You will develop:
- Greater Awareness – the capability to know yourself and sustain self-development
- Greater Confidence in your Strengths
- Commitment to Achieve your Goal
- New Behaviours in line with your Goal
- Accountability to achieve your Goal
- What kind of Leader do you want to be?
- What have you learned?
- With this awareness, what would you like to do next?
- How will you celebrate your success?