In Nick Kristof’s article, She’s (Rarely) the Boss, New York Times this past weekend, as well as New York Magazine’s, “Want More Women in Leadership? Help New Moms” by Stella Bugbee an overriding consensus is being drawn:
1) The research reflects and most agree that having more women in leadership and senior level roles is good for business and well overdue societally.
2) That doesn’t mean that all women are driven to be CEO’s—meaning we need to stop polarizing our role models so that they aren’t just the approximate 15% of women who are currently holding C-level or board positions.
3) More importantly, in order to create an even playing field, structural and community changes must be made so that young moms and parents, of all socio-economic backgrounds, have more childcare options than is available today.
4) Just because you don’t have children, doesn’t mean that you too don’t yearn for more joie de vivre (a.k.a ‘balance’) in your life outside of work.
The point I most want to make today to broaden this now growing discussion is that in my experience, supporting mid-career women both in the small business and the corporate sector is that what women most want from their work is:
FLEXIBILITY & INTRINSIC SATISFACTION
These are the values that drive women’s decisions to either start their own business and/or opt out of an inflexible and unfulfilling big business job.
The third piece to this puzzle however, is that there are skills and strategies that we all must learn and practice, both men and women, in order to tackle the leadership challenges that come with needing to run your business or ascend your corporate ladder or just to simply find greater satisfaction in the job that you are tasked with today. And this is where we all must take responsibility to clarify what we need to work on to help up get to where we so desire. Some of these skills are:
- Career clarity so that you can set you career planning sails accordingly
- Building your own specific network to support you and your career aspirations
- Confidence to ask for what you need and go after what you want and deserve
- Embracing change and risk taking with a optimistic and innovative approach
- De-personalizing the art of business and business relationships, just enough
- Developing organizational and industry influence
- Effectively delegating and letting go of always being the “doer”
- Continually integrating visioning and strategic planning into your business process
- Negotiating and/or bypassing office politics
- Knowing how best to negotiate and manage what is most important to us
This is an exciting time for everyone involved. The world is changing dramatically and we will all benefit as a result. But we all have a responsibility to uncover what it is we want, what we need to do make the necessary shifts to get there and then understanding how to sustain our lives personally and professionally.
Where are you in this process? What do you need more support or clarity around?