For 14+ years we have been working with leaders whose teams are under-performing, stuck in conflict, or mired in politics. We continue to help them become better leaders, transform their teams, and produce great business results
.Interestingly, 90% of those leaders have been men. Maybe you could make a case that there are just more men leaders out there. We don’t really know. Let’s be clear: we are not making this political, like men vs. women.
We were just curious: Why aren’t WOMEN leaders regularly calling us about their teams?
This summer we decided to find out why. We interviewed executive women, women entrepreneurs, mid-level women managers and new women leaders. We also conducted surveys and focus groups.
Here is what we found.
Women leaders generally have darn good teams, or at least, they do not see their team as their highest pain point.
Women leaders see their work and lives as an integrated whole. Their success is not simply about their own accomplishments. Yes, they are driven, but their success in their professional and personal relationships has equal weight on their happiness.
Where women leaders are most challenged is in their peer-to-peer relationships, or with their boss or next level up.
They are too often considered “the peace keepers” or relational experts, and their collaborative style is seen as a “soft skill,” and isn’t taken as seriously.
Because they aren’t speaking up assertively or aggressively, and are focused on keeping the peace, they often wind up taking on too much responsibility for others, and doing way too much.
A loud chord was, women leaders really don’t believe that they can be successful being themselves. Instead, they believe that they have to lean in or ‘not lean in’, lead like a man, or settle for positions that allow them to maintain a balance between their work relationships and their families.
These smart, successful women are often so focused on serving others. They want to be a “good _____________: i.e., leader, boss, employee, mother, wife” – so much so that they often don’t include themselves. They say yes, when they would rather–and ought to–say no.
This leaves these women leaders feeling frustrated, resentful and doing too much.
Even more interesting, most of these women, who are in positions of leadership, don’t even think of themselves as leaders!
We couldn’t disagree more!
Listen to the words of Nelson Mandela, as written by Marianne Williamson (of course, another leader).
“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine…
”In other words, we are all meant to lead, not in the same way, but each shining our unique bright light!
How We Want To Help Women Leaders Shine!
This is a shout out to all you women leaders out there. Yes, we know you don’t think of yourself as a leader. So let’s be clear, when we say Woman Leader, we mean any women, who is leading a team, a business, or a cause. For example,
A executive or manager in a company
A CEO of a Fortune 500 Company
A Chairman of a Board
We want to support you, to help you be successful in your own way. No, you don’t have to lead like a man, or lead like anyone other than who you really are, despite what you currently believe. You can:
Step into your own unique, personal brand of leadership
Make more of your natural strengths while in the business world
Transform your significant relationships by being you, being real and saying what you really think, feel, and want
Produce phenomenal business, and personal results
Relationships do matter. So make sure you are showing up in them fully. Make You matter!
CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke
Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict
CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.
They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.
Check out their website: www.thriveinc.com. Connect with CrisMarie and Susan on LinkedIn. Watch their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! Find your copy of The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team's Competitive Advantage here.