Women Issue in Corporate World: Leadership Behaviors, Strategies to The Top, and Challenges by Hilda Wijaya August, 20 2010 Chapter 1 Introduction The presence of women leaders has proven to be a significant benefit for a corporation competing in the new business era. McKinsey & Company’s study on Women Matter shows the companies perform best, on both organizational and financial performances due to gender diversity and have a higher proportion of women on their management level. (Desvaux & Devillard, 2008)
This research paper begins with discussing on some leadership behaviors, which are more often applied by women than by men in the corporate world. I believe female leadership behaviors will be demanded and valued more by corporations in conjunction with the complexity of business practices in the future. In Chapter 2, I would like to share some strategies for overcoming the obstacles that women face in the corporate world. I hope my research in this chapter can be useful for women whom want to go to the top management level.
In Chapter 3, I discuss the prices and challenges that working women face for success in the corporate world For ages, most of the working women are still struggling to overcome the discrimination in the corporate world Furthermore, women remain having the “double burden” syndrome – the combination of work and domestic responsibilities – on their shoulders. I will close my research paper with some views for creating a well-rounded and finding balance in women’s life. Chapter 2 Female Leadership Behaviors.
The question of whether women and men differ in leadership behaviors has been around for years. There are many researches and studies that have compared the leadership style of women and men. In this chapter, I discuss some leadership behaviors that women apply more frequently than men in the corporate world. a. Participative decision making. Most of the female leaders have a high belief in the participative leadership style. According to Shahani (2008), using this style is not a sign of weakness, in fact, it’s a strength that your team will respect you for.
Due to so many high skilled and intelligent employees in the corporate world today, the participative leadership style which is valued team work and invited other members of the team to contribute to the decision-making process is more suitable in current and future leadership style. According to McKinsey & Company’s Study on Women Matter 2 (2007), they find that the participative decision making style is more often applied by women than by men in the corporate world. This style is also adopted by Janice Frazier-Hampton, a female director in PG&E.
Janice always makes herself available for her team voicing their opinions. Her attitude is encouraged her team to take ownership and as well created a healthy working environment based on trust and mutual respect. Several essential skills for applying the participative leadership style effectively are abilities to: encourage group values, share vision, create a healthy environment, equip the team, organize and energize, take and give feedback, and expect accountability (Shahani, 2008) Study by Caliper also supports the fact that women leaders are more participative in decision making behavior.
According to Caliper (2005), “The women leaders we studied were more interested in hearing all points of view, then making the best possible decision. The final decision did not necessarily have to be their initial point of view. They were able to read situations accurately and take in information from all sides, then make the most informed decision possible. The difference in leadership styles between men and women starts with listening. Not just listening to form your answer, but really listening, learning, reflecting, then implementing a plan that incorporates the best of everyone’s ideas. “Today, so many workers are intelligent, highly skilled professionals. Motivating employees who are knowledge workers is based on making them feel valued. There is simply no better way to make people feel valued than to ask them, genuinely, for their advice” (McCrimmon, 2007, para. 3) b. Women leaders are more persuasive in leadership style In today’s organizations, we often see the team which a combination of baby boomers and Gen-Xers, genders, educations, and cultures.
Having a persuasive leadership skill is essential in today’s corporate world which as a leader, your success depends upon your ability to persuade and move people toward a position they don’t currently hold. You must not only make a rational argument, but also frame your ideas, approaches and solutions in ways that appeal to diverse groups of people with basic human emotions (Krakoff, 2005). Based on Caliper’s study, female leaders scored significantly higher than male leaders in persuasive motivation.
Since female leaders have higher people skills, it makes them more willing to understand and care about where others are coming from, enable them to read situations accurately and take in information from all sides. This willingness to see all sides of a situation enhances their persuasive ability. (Caliper, 2005) c. Women leaders posses stronger interpersonal skills ( empathy, flexibility and sociability) and more assertive than their male counterparts. According to Caliper study (2005), female leaders were found to be more empathic and flexible, as well as stronger in interpersonal skills than their male counterparts.
Assertive behavior gives women the unique ability to learn and bounce back from disappointment, rejection and situations that don’t work out their way. d. Women leaders are more People development in leadership style People development leadership skill is required a leader “actively and continuously develops people through the creation of learning opportunities. It provides coaching, feedback and uses other appropriate techniques to improve productivity and performance of others” (Nobilis, 2009, para. 2).
Study shows that women leaders put more effort to spend more time teaching, mentoring, and listening for their employees. e. Expectation and rewards leadership behavior According to the 2008 study Female leadership, a competitive edge for the future -by McKinsey & Company, female leaders were found to be clearer defining their expectations and responsibilities. Furthermore, women leaders are more often rewarding their employee’s achievements. This expectation and rewards leadership behavior will bring positive impact reinforcing the employee’s accountability.
Above all, I believe that the true benefit of having women presence in management committees is to have a diverse team with the best talents which bring benefit for a corporation competing in the new business era. Chapter 3 Ideas for Leading to the Top Though change is often difficult, frustrating, and uncomfortable, for women to make their mark, they must step out of their comfort zones and make crucial changes to their work styles. Women need to take a hard look at themselves and their corporate cultures, determine the best way to be successful where they are, and make adjustments to their approach.
In this chapter, I will share my research on how women dealing effectively with obstacles that are keeping women sidelined in the corporate world. These include taking risks and getting out from comfort zones by being assertive, visible, and decisive; adjusting the mindset by being focus on the big pictures, promoting your accomplishments, presenting yourself with confidence; developing and maintaining good professional relationships with your organization; and building networking relationships, getting the most out of mentoring from your advisers. A.
Taking risks and getting out from comfort zones According to Gallagher (2000), “So many women try to keep their heads down and avoid taking risks. In reality, success depends on your ability to take significant risks that go beyond your comfort zone. ” In fact, our success may depend on our ability to take significant yet calculated risk and go beyond our comfort zone. This risk will help us advance in our career and mature as a person. Some practical behaviors that women need to learn when deciding to taking risks that go beyond their comfort zone are by being assertive, visible, and decisive. Be Assertive I notice that assertiveness is very hard for women. Women are taught to be agreeable, be polite, be quiet, and be kind. However, assertiveness is an essential behavior that women need to learn and use it in the corporate world. “Assertive behavior is a way of thinking and behaving that allows a person to stand up for his or her rights while respecting the rights of others. ” (Assertiveness Skills, 1995, para. 1) – Be Visible In order to get success in the corporate world, women need to find the best way to become visible.
Two ideas for being visible are: 1) participate in the middle of every discussion, and 2) try not to avoid difficult people and situation. – Be Decisive Women need to show their firmness when it’s required. According to Nancy Hobbs , senior executive of Air Touch Cellular, in Carol Gallagher book, Going to the Top, she said, ” As a leader you’ve got to set the course. There are times when you’re the only person who thinks that this is the right thing to do, and you’ve got to get everybody else on board. And, hopefully, most of the time, you’re right.
But sometimes you’re going to make a mistake too. If you’re not making wrong decisions, you’re probably not making critical decisions, and you’re not learning. ” (Gallagher, 2000, p. 123) B. Adjusting the mindset According to stereotype, women tend to focus on short-term goals, and being a detail oriented person. Moreover, women are known as a hard worker and believe that “If I work hard and do my job well, people will notice. ” In order to be successful in the corporate world, women have to adjust their mindset, even though it might not be what you think or were taught. Seeing the Big Picture For women moving up in an organization, they need to take a broader view. According to Gallagher (2000), “When you step back and look at the big picture, your perspective changes, and your decisions are more reflective of creating a sustainable future for your company and therefore for your career. ” For instance, Janice Frazier-Hampton, a female director at PG, whom I interviewed shared with me that the most important thing that she learns from high-level executives is their thought process, their ability to see the big picture. Promote yourself I know that self-promoting for many women is a thing that does not come naturally. Many women simply reject the concept as bragging. However, we’ve all heard stories about men who have stepped up for jobs and been promoted with half the skills and experience that their women peers have. Men just are not as self-critical as women, who analyze and worry about whether their qualifications fit the job precisely.
Nine ideas to help women promoting her selves: 1) Meet with your boss at least every six months to review accomplishments and assure alignment with his/her goals, 2) Have a list of your major accomplishments, and the skills you used to achieve them, 3) Identify the gaps in your experience and sought opportunities to gain missing skills, 4) Plan your participation in each high-level meeting that you attend by analyzing issues to be discussed in advance and determining where you can add value, 5) Determine what your superiors’ interests are and send them relevant articles or e-mails periodically, 6) Copy your boss on communications to your team so that he or she will know your achievements and be able to observe your leadership style, 7) Try to weave your accomplishments into stories as appropriate, 8) Prepare to promote your accomplishments and take on new opportunities when they arise, 9) Establish the good relationships with your superiors, so they feel comfortable with you and your style. (Shepard & Dean, 2009) c. Develop and maintain good professional relationships within the organization. “Business gets done through relationships.
When women feel excluded and cut off from information in the corporate world, it is often due to their resistance to relationship building at work, because women, more so than men, have been programmed to spend their limited time doing their work well instead of doing what it takes to develop strategic relationships. ” (Shepard & Dean, 2009, p. 39). Develop and maintain good professional relationships within our organization are extremely important to success in the corporate world. These alliances with colleagues, bosses, clients, consultants, and vendors are vital and provide the foundation for our future within our organization. Janice Frazier-Hampton, in her role as Director of Integrated Resource Planning at PG, advised to me about the importance of building good relationships with all levels in your organizations, specially when you’re in a large organization as PG&E.
You never know when your paths will cross or what your next reporting relationship will be. Furthermore, honesty and integrity are a strong foundation to gain trust in every relationship. d. Create alliances who can be our supporter and advisors during our careers. Creating alliances is a key to building authentic connections and furthering career advancement. It is vital to create alliances with our peers, superiors, and also with people who are at lower organizational levels than us. “The goal of these relationships is to have people know and trust us and to develop alliances with those who can help us and vice versa. ” (Gallagher, 2000, p. 76). Chapter 4 Prices and Challenges
Clearly, getting to the top takes courage and determination. No success comes without costs. Personal and professional trade-offs have to be made, because high-level careers require a lot of time, focused attention, and drive. To gain to the top, sometimes women have to through worked long hours, missed vacations, weekends, family events, and through perhaps the failure of a relationship. The female director in PG&E, Janice Frazier-Hampton reminded me that the sacrifices that women might have to make that is not going to be easy. We cannot think that everything can be done in the same time. So, there is something that can’t be done and something can be done. If we can do it good enough is good enough.
According to the 2007 study Women Matter: Gender Diversity, a Corporate Performance Driver, conducted by McKinsey & Company, the significant differences between the men and women for the prices that they need to pay for success: – First, 27% of women, versus 7% of men, admit that they have felt discriminated against during their professional career – The second difference is demographic, revealing a substantial disparity in the situations of the respondents: 54% of women in their sample – vs only 29% of men – were childless, and 33% of the women were single, compared to 18% of the men. (Desvaux & Devillard, 2007, p. 16) For decades career-oriented women have been putting marriage and family behind a career. A lot of successful executive women choose for not having children or have limited the size or their family to avoid a huge commitment that’s required by having children. Chapter 5
Conclusion The presence of women leaders has proven to be a significant benefit for a corporation competing in the new business era because women’s leadership styles can balance men’s leadership styles. According to Nelton (1991), “Men and women managers can work comfortably together at the top and that their differing styles of leadership can be complementary, producing a synergism that gives the company benefits it would not receive if two men or two women were in those jobs. ” Despite all the difficulties that women may encounter in their race to climb the ladder for their career, it is essential for women listening to their internal voices first.
All the choices that you made should be clear that you do it for yourself, your own needs, not necessarily for your loved one nor public society’s perceptions. Women are free to choose their life styles and priorities about marriage, family, and career. The important messages from Carol Gallagher in her article “Having It All and Having a Life: Making Choices About Marriage, Family, and Career,” are: 1) there is no such thing as a precedent when it comes to having a family, 2) the successful executive women made their personal choices for being childless and single, 3) these executive women encountered some tradeoffs on both sides of their career and personal life.
Regardless working women might have to pay a higher price to get to the top management, most of them viewed their work and family choices as a positive personal decision. The modern society accepts the fact that some women have a calling to be a mother, while others don’t. Women need to be realistic, and understand that they could not have it all at once. Moreover, that it’s important for women whom decided to move up in their career and raise a family simultaneously to have a great support from their spouse, family, or someone who provided crucial logistical and emotional support. References Assertiveness Skills (1998). Retrieved August 18, 2010 from http://www. headinjury. com/assertskills. tml Caliper. (2005). The Qualities That Distinguish Women Leaders. Retrieved July 10, 2010, from http://www. caliperonline. com/brochures/ WomenLeaderWhitePaper. pdf Cronin, L. , & Fine, H. (2010). Damned If She Does, Damned If She Doesn’t. New York: Prometheus Books. Desvaux, G. , Devillard, S. , & Baumgarten, P. (2007) Women Matter: Gender Diversity, a Corporate Performance Driver. Retrieved June 15, 2010, from http://www. mckinsey. com/ careers/women/social_sector_impact/ women_matter. aspx Desvaux, G. & Devillard, S. (2008) Women Matter 2: Female leadership, a competitive edge for the future. Retrieved June 10, 2010, from http://www. mckinsey. om/locations/paris/home/womenmatter. asp Gallagher, C. , & Golant, S. K. (2001). Going To The Top: A Road Map for Success from America’s Leading Women Executives. New York: Penguin Books. Hauser, B. R. (1994). Cinderella Can be Tough, John Wayne Can Cry. In Renesch, J. (Ed. ), Leadership in a New Era: Visionary Approaches to the Biggest Crisis of Our Time, (pp. 39-50). San Francisco: New Leaders Press. Heffernan, M. (2004). The Naked Truth: A Working Woman’s Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Krakoff, P. (2005, December 26). Leadership by Persuasion – Four Steps to Success, retrieved August 19, 2010, from http://ezinearticles. com/ Leadership-by-Persuasion—Four-Steps-to-Success&id=118428 McCrimmon, M. (2007, June 13). What is Participative Leadership? The importance of involving employees in making decisions, retrieved August 19, 2010, from http://businessmanagement. suite101. com/article. cfm/what_is_participative_leadership Morrison, A. M. , White, R. P. , Van Velson, E. , and the Center for Creative Leadership (1992). Breaking The Glass Ceiling: Can Women Reach The Top of America’s Largest Corporations? (Updated ed. ). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company Nelton, S. (1996, May). Men, women & leadership – management styles – includes related articles – Cover Story.
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