So in the wake of ‘BBC-gate’ and the challenge of equal pay amongst tv presenters, I thought I’d be topical and write about women leaders.
I was inspired and amused in equal measures by a book that I read a while ago called Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel
The author argues that women have in some ways broken the glass ceiling, only to find a ‘glass tree house’ where senior executives and directors reside (her words not mine)
She identifies 12 critical success factor women in leadership need to follow that women sometimes feel culturally uncomfortable with:
- Making decisions without being overly concerned what others will say;
- Creating a unique personal brand, distinguishing you from others;
- Using social networking cautiously and appropriately;
- Negotiating effectively for what you want or need;
- Exhibiting the courage to speak to the unspoken;
- Leveraging workplace relationships to your advantage;
- Being recognised by others as being articulate and persuasive;
- Being in the ‘game’ of workplace politics;
- Having a middle name that is self-confident;
- Marketing yourself effectively;
- Competing to win;
- Actively advocating other women.
I was following this far…. Then it all got a bit amusing (maybe it is just me) …but she talked about
- Not viewing men in authority as father figures;
- Not flirting with co-workers;
- Not feeding your co-workers with cake or making the tea;
and my personal favourite,
- Don’t decorate your office like your living room!
Over zealous feminism or sound advice?
So back to the BBC ….I’m inclined to say why haven’t these women negotiated with their management for a better rate as outlined in number 4 of the critical success factors. I assume they already knew the disparity? Perhaps it is because of gender stereotypes? Sheryl Sandberg in her highly acclaimed book Lean in describes female socialism as lacking the ‘professional ambitions expected of men’ arguing that women are socially taught that being ambitious is ‘optional or worse sometimes even a negative for women’.
So ladies as AA Milne once said ‘There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.’ See you in the tree house one day.
Article by Michelle Harte – Head of HR, West Midlands Employers