A Strong Leader Can Be of Any Gender in the Workplace

27 Oct A Strong Leader Can Be of Any Gender in the Workplace

A Strong Leader Can Be of Any Gender in the Workplace
Valerie Martinelli, MPA


Women have been leaning in and are still not getting the results that they deserve. The latest study conducted by McKinsey & Co. in coordination with Leanin.Org examined data from 132 organizations that employ 4.6 million and surveyed employees and management. For every 100 women that are promoted to management, 130 men receive promotions.


The Key Findings:


• Very few women are in line to become CEOs: Women are missing the first promotion to even get them in line for upper-level positions. Within the senior levels, more women are in line for staff positions, which cut them off for the path for executive positions. According to the survey, 46 percent of women were listed at entry level positions, solely 29 percent were found within in the VP level, and only 19 percent occupied the C-Suite.

• Women do negotiate as often as men- but are faced with pushback when they do: Women who bargain for raise and/or promotion are 30 percent more likely to be labeled “bossy”, “overly aggressive”, or “too intimidating”. It is the fear of being labeled and/or the lack of negotiating skills that keep women back. We need to continue to break down the stereotypes for women to keep moving forward and seeking what they deserve. This is a gap that my business serves to fill. Women need a voice; someone who will speak up for them and teach them the skills that they need to ask for what they want and go after the promotions and raises that they have earned. Men and women lobby for promotions at similar rates but women are less likely to receive them. By coaching women, I can teach them how to ask for these things and help build their confidence so they won’t shy away when the time comes either.

• Women are less likely to receive feedback: Men and women request informal feedback equally, however, they receive it much less frequently. Women need to request feedback formally and more often. Without doing so, they are getting lost in the shuffle. Management will not know that women are interested if they do not inquire therefore they will not receive it. Management also is fearful of being hurtful, which is a bias. There is no need to be hurtful within giving constructive criticism, however, the assumption should not be that women are fragile and cannot handle it.

• Women are less interested in becoming top executives – and see the pros and cons of senior leadership differently: Only 40 percent of women are interested in becoming top executives, in comparison to 56 percent of men. Men and women equally worry about work-life organizational politics and work-life balance. Women with and without children are more likely to say that they do not want to deal with the pressure. Those who want a top job anticipate a steeper path than their male counterparts. Without that first promotion and consistent feedback, women are getting lost. Women more coaching, guidance, and assistance to achieve their goals.





The Take-Away:


The organizational commitment to gender diversity remains at an all-time high but there is still difficulty putting it into practice and many employees are not on board. Without everyone on board, it is difficult for a practice, program, or procedure to be truly effective. More training, improved communication, and a better vision and focus on results are all necessary for women to be equal, productive, and successful within the workplace. The results are worth the hard work. Studies have time and time again directly linked diversity to better business results and all employees benefit from a workplace that is inclusive and fair.


How Can I Help?


I am a women’s business and leadership coach as well as an HR/ Management Consultant. I work directly with women teaching them the skills that they need to achieve their professional goals, such as negotiating for raises, promotions, or learning how to have the confidence to engage with male senior leaders through various services. As a Consultant, I also work with organizations to develop and manage diversity plans and programs that will benefit their employees and produce results. Diversity is important because it not only delivers fair and equal representation within the workplace but it also provides business results by opening markets that could have been previously filtered or closed. Delivering results takes time and work but we must continue to work together and provide the information necessary to move our society forward. We are stronger by working together. This is my wish.

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