The greatest challenge that my male clients face is about building their emotional intelligence, and being more influential and effective with all levels and their direct reports. It's around just being a better leader overall. Equally it is about juggling prioritization and figuring out how not to have to do it alone, how to fight the challenge to want to do things by themselves because they've gotten to these positions because they've been such great individual contributors and they know how to do it.
On the other hand my female clients who are in positions of leadership always have this theme that they want to be perceived as strong. "I want to be perceived as healthily strong so that people don't dismiss me, don't take advantage of me." They also don't want to be seen as this this nag, this person who is the the mother figure that's telling people what to do. Finding this balance between strength and a maternal approach is really important bcause the same behaviors that a man could be doing in in a boardroom, if a woman does it is perceived totally differently.
If you have an organizational culture that has values that support equity, equality, diversity, and inclusion, and it really looks to integrate all perspectives regardless of anything that the person brings to the table, that's an important first part to staying yourself in top leadership. You need to have that corporate support. The culture needs to support it. If the culture doesn't support it, it's not gonna happen.
When we look at effective leadership, one of the key factors is emotional intelligence. Whenever we see assessments on emotional intelligence and effective leadership, women do better in that arena than men do traditionally. You see that in the Leadership Circle, you see that in Hogan, you see that in all these different areas, and it's an area that men need more help with usually than women do.
The key to success for women leaders and for any leaders is staying true to yourself. For that you need to find an organization that is supportive, open, inclusive, and that wants you to be there. You definitely want to be somewhere where you're wanted, because if you're not wanted and you're constantly trying to break down barriers, break down walls, trying to get into the meeting, trying to to to be effective and influential - all and everything is stacked against you, then you're not going to be successful no matter how persevering and intelligent you are. It's just not gonna happen. This is why I am going back to the concept of readiness. The organization has to be ready and supportive of you, and you have to be ready for that as well.
The culture of an organization has to be supportive of diversity and dialogue. The leaders who are in current leadership roles, we need to make sure that they have an open minded, that they are understanding, that they realize the need for the diversity in the organization, and it can't be all men. They just can't because that's just not representative of who their client base is. It's very rare to have an organization whose clients are all men. There are some, but it's not the norm. There are some organizations whose clients or customers are all women, but, again, that's not the norm. So it is really the culture, as the stakeholders have to have that same mindset of their client base if we want to make a difference.
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