Business Sense

Five Ways to Create an Environment Where Women Can Lead

Working envirinment with womennew report takes a look at why women hesitate when it comes to competing for top jobs. The researchers found that a woman’s desire to reach the top ranks has less to do with family responsibilities and more to do with her working environment.
The data shows that existing gender diversity had a big impact on how workers felt about pursuing more senior roles. In environments where men and women believed that progress was being made towards gender diversity, women were more likely to aspire to a leadership position. At such companies, 85 percent of women were seeking top spots. At companies that weren’t seen as making progress in gender diversity, just 66 percent of women reported such ambitions.
The stereotypical explanation says that while many women begin their careers eager to climb the corporate ladder, this ambition diminishes due to family obligations or feeling that they’re unfairly held to higher standards. A more nuanced view notes those issues can definitely be a factor, but the researchers argue ambitious women are also rational and respond to the realities of their work environments. This environmental effect can stall women in our communities too.
Why is it so important to get closer to a 50-50 blend of women and men in leadership? Research has proven repeatedly that having more women leaders actually creates better results. In one of the most recent and comprehensive of these studies, companies in the top 20 percent of financial performance have nearly 30 percent female leaders, while the poorest financial performers have under 20 percent women in leadership roles.
We need more women in leadership for so many reasons. The question is, how do we create an environment in which they want to pursue those positions. Here are five ways that we can create a culture that fosters equality and make leadership more appealing to women in the workplace and community.
Make me a mentor. A good mentor provides career advice, counsel during stressful times, and unwavering support. And you don’t have to be a member of the C-suite already to provide guidance to another woman. We can all build strong support systems, encourage and mentor one another every day. The benefits of mentoring flow both ways and both mentor and mentoree learn from each other. Successful women are guiding others through the ranks and sharing their experiences. Mentoring relationships can provide the boost to propel mid-career into top management positions.
Actively sponsor other women. Women with senior positions should keep an eye out for promising younger female talent and actively seek to cultivate them as protégés. It can be hard for younger female employees to break into a company, so senior women should make the workplace friendlier for advancement and help mentorees find a place. Younger females may hope to get noticed for doing good work, but they also need to find opportunities to network with women at the top, asking them to lunch or for a meeting to seek career advice.
Flourish with feedback.  Feedback is critical for improving performance, but despite asking for informal feedback as often as men do, a 2015 study found women receive it less frequently. In fact, women are 20% less likely than men to receive critical feedback that improves their performance. Following established criteria and clearly identifying key issues and potential for growth will lead women to invest more fully in the workplace and move forward.
Opt for diversity and inclusion. Recruiting and retaining a diverse, inclusive group of employees makes an organization reflect the outer world. It also enables a team to develop fresh ideas and solutions to meet customer and  community needs. True gender and cultural diversity requires promoting as many diverse, smart, talented, passionate women as possible.
Cultivate powerful confidence.  When something goes wrong professionally, women blame themselves. When things go right, they credit others. Women are also more likely to be perfectionists who wait until they’re 100% sure of their desired outcome. This limiting self-programming, along with a lack of confidence, makes it unlikely women will apply or re-apply for an executive job or other leadership position. Being passed over doesn’t have to be a defining negative event in your life. See it for what it is – a moment in time. Rejection and success go hand in hand, and all successful women have received their share of rejections.  How they handle that rejection is what defines them.
If you’re in a workplace or community situation that doesn’t feel female friendly, it’s not your fault. Just recognize it for what it is and keep moving forward. We achieve parity one woman at a time, so whether you have to work on your confidence or find a woman to mentor, remember that working together is the only way we will accomplish gender equality in leadership.
When women don’t try for promotions, they move us further away from parity and reinforce the idea that women don’t belong in leadership roles. Women must rise into top positions in order to achieve career goals and advance gender equality. It’s the only way to create leadership environments that support both women and men.

Leadership Lessons from Horses

Executive Coach, Author

Evelyn McKelvie

The transformation of her life and career as took place during her first experience with a horse, recalls Evelyn McKelvie, Executive Coach, author and founder of Equine Coach. She describes its effect on her as both physical and spiritual, to the degree that she felt her emotional body had been given a deep tissue massage. At the time she was working in Information Technology, which she calls a knowledge-based abstract intellectual pursuit, while learning all she could about horses and searching for a trainer. She found her perfect trainer in western Canada, named Chris Irwin, who opened her eyes to the secret world of horses, their language and the way they behave with each other. Erwin taught her how to communicate with horses so they understand her.
Evelyn began comparing the socialization of horses to that of humans in the workplace. Both species are mammals that perceive the world in terms of threats or safety. In fact, technology has recently shown that people react to potential threats much faster than possible rewards. Horses also perceive threats most of the time, but because of the difference in their brains and social patterns, their response is much different. In fact, the stability of the herd lies with everyone knowing their roles in the hierarchy and behaving within those roles.

First Respect, Then Trust, Finally Love.

Evelyn wrote a book about her experience and how she incorporates it into coaching called, The Executive Horse: 21st Century Leadership Lessons from Horses. She Executive Horse Book Coversays that the idea of the stallion as the leader came from the Victorians and is not how the herd actually works. The lead mare is acknowledged by the herd when she has proven that she can care for the herd and keep it safe. Horses don’t love until they know they can trust you. She describes the stallion as the doorman or bouncer who keeps other stallions from mating with the mares. But the leader is chosen by and earns her place within the herd. If humans chose their workplace leaders in the same way — based on behavior and character, instead of by power or money — Evelyn says our workplace leadership would be much more authentic, and our work more productive and positive.

Awareness of the Present Moment

Both Evelyn and Dr. Nancy talk about how you have to remain in the present when working with horses. Dr. Nancy laughs about what happens if you let your attention stray. Because of horses’ size and strength, self-awareness becomes absolutely imperative. Evelyn became comfortable with living in the now while riding. This present-focus kept her acutely aware of the interaction dynamic and how she could create a greater sense of ease and calm with the horse. If we would apply that to other humans, our relationships would be much more rewarding for both parties.
Evelyn invites everyone to check out her website. She has a 7-minute self-assessment there that only takes around seven minutes called “The 8-Fold Path of Equis,” which is based on the principles from her horse trainer. She also has a blog and offers to sign her book if you order it from her website. Also attend her monthly webinar in which she interviews women leaders with executive coach Carrie Galant at “Alpha Mare Leadership.”
Be sure to listen to this interview for more comparisons and contrasts from Dr. Nancy and Evelyn between horses and humans. Learn how very much they have to teach us about creating relationships that work.

Flex Time Isn’t the Same for Men and Women

Female Employee are Unlikely to be Granted a RequestFlexibility is making the news again, and while many people feel that flex time should be a given, two recent studies suggest flex time programs could be costly to those who use them, especially women. In fact, one study found that the penalty begins before any scheduling adjustments are made. Furman University’s Christin Munsch studied over 600 working age individuals and learned that the reactions that men and women receive when requesting flexible work requests are quite different — and quite favorable to men.
Munsch found that when male employees requested flexible schedules to accommodate child care requests, almost 70% of participants were either likely or very likely to grant the request. When female employees made the same request, that number dropped to around 57%. In addition, participants were much more likely to evaluate the men as likable and committed than the women.
If Munsch’s study is indicative of the workplace culture at large, women still have a problem being viewed as responsible for domestic and childcare duties, rather than being the breadwinners of the family. The need to make it all work is something that employers must consider to maintain high-performing women employees. Many women who started out with all the ambition in the world find themselves in a place they never expected to be. They do not choose to leave their jobs and they are shut out of advancement by the refusal of their bosses to make it possible for them to fit their family life and their work life together. And in this instance, they are being maligned for something men are being applauded for.
Even if flexible scheduling can be granted without bias, the second study, conducted by researchers in Germany, suggests that it might be exacerbating the gender wage gap. In a survey of over 30,000 people, researchers Yvonne Lott and Heejung Chung examined the impact of flexible scheduling on hours worked – particularly overtime – and found that men and women who switched to flexible scheduling all worked more overtime than those who worked a fixed schedule. However, men used the extra time to earn significantly more than women in the same program.
The researchers speculated that men are more likely to gain schedule control because of increased productivity or a promotion and use that control to set an even more productive schedule. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to use their control to better accommodate their family schedule. Even if they use their flex time to be more productive, their peers may perceive them as still focusing on family tasks first.
Flexibility needs to work for men and women equally, and both of these studies take frustrating looks at a much-needed workplace benefit. Bottom line, people with adaptable work environments – both men and women – tend to have healthier habits with time for both self-improvement and family and friends, which makes them more productive and efficient when they work. Flexibility doesn’t just benefit women’s work performance. Research has looked at more subjective areas affected by schedule flexibility, including people’s happiness and satisfaction. Studies show that when people can choose to do things, like take their kids to school, sleep in or help their spouse that they’ll enjoy better relationships, a better quality of life, and be happier with their employment. The Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College cites additional benefits of flexible work environments, which include less stress and burnout, improved work-life and work-family balance, and less negative spillover from work to home and from home to work.
This issue affects every company through potential loss of top talent. As my Leading Women co-author Gloria Feldt points out in her book, No Excuses, many women are opting out of the very career paths that could shift them to the highest clout positions and lead to gender parity. We need women to step into leadership roles, which means we need every CEO and business owner to keep in mind the fact that everyone wins with an open and flexible path to leadership, a path that maximizes the desire to lead with the environment that supports it for both genders. Removing double standards and improving flex time options would make the greatest move toward improving the lives of every man and woman in the workplace, and strengthening the company’s almighty bottom line.

Leading Women Believe and Achieve Their Goals

Woman working hard to achieve goalYou may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it. — Maya Angelou
You know the old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Many women have taken that message to heart. Take the case of Oprah Winfrey, who started out as a television reporter, and was fired from one of her early jobs because producers thought she was “unfit for TV.” She persevered and not only proved she was fit for TV, she redefined it.  Nora Ephron recalled an article returned from Glamour, “with a note that just about said never submit anything to us again … it will be fine if we never hear from you again.” Yet years later her words continue to inspire and entertain. J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter novels, was waitressing and on public assistance when she wrote the first installment of what would become one of the best-selling series in history–a book that was rejected by a dozen publishers before it was finally picked up. And Sallie Krawcheck, often called one of Wall Street’s most powerful women, was fired from Bank of America in 2011 before acquiring the influential women’s networking group, 85 Broads, and renaming it Ellevate Network. The list goes on and on of powerful, and successful women who have refused to give up and ultimately achieved their goals.
However, new research finds that when it comes to the workplace, many women are NOT trying again, and are letting rejection stand in their way.  A study by researchers at Harvard Business School found that there is no gender gap when women think a promotion is within reach, it’s how women handle rejection that may contribute to the gap. The new research showed that women are less likely than men to apply for an executive job if they had been rejected from a similar job in the past. More specifically, they are less likely to apply to the same firm that had previously rejected them. Forbes reports that while men were also less likely to apply if they had been rejected, the effect was 1.5 times stronger for women.
So, the million-dollar question is why does workplace rejection impact women more than men? Are women less likely to take risks? Do women lack the confidence that men have to get back on track and try again? The study suggests that a woman’s past experience with inequality may explain her reaction to being denied a promotion or new position.  Since childhood, it has been ingrained in women that executive jobs are primarily for men. Rejection further sends home the message that women don’t belong in the executive suite, and reinforces the notion that the odds are stacked against women, especially when it comes to senior positions.
While past experiences and conditioning may play a part, they key could be confidence. Fast Company reports that The Confidence Code authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman found women tend to struggle with a lack of confidence disproportionately. When something goes wrong professionally, women blame themselves while crediting others when things go right. In their research, they also found that women are more likely to be perfectionists and hold themselves back from asking for a raise or even answering a question until they’re 100% sure the outcome will be as they predicted. With this limiting self-programing, it is unlikely that women lacking confidence will apply or re-apply for an executive job.
Don’t let being passed over for a promotion or denied an executive position be a defining negative event in your life. See it for what it is – a moment in time. Rejection and success go hand in hand, and all successful women have received their share of rejections.  How they handle that rejection is what defines them. Women who can accept momentary rejection and use the experience to alter their course build resiliency to be better leaders when they do get promoted or land a new executive position.
One of the 9 Leadership Power Tools created by Leading Women co-author Gloria Feldt, co-founder and president of Take The Lead Women, Inc., is to “Carpe the Chaos.” Gloria tells women to embrace the reality and then forge a new plan. Regardless of the setback, it’s important that we get back in the game quickly. When women quit trying for the promotions, it impacts us all by moving us further away from parity and further ingraining the idea that women don’t belong in the C-suite. Women need to get to the top positions in order to make a greater impact. That requires working with our colleagues to create leadership environments throughout our organizations that are supportive to both women and men, and especially to provide women the support we need to keep our eye on the prize.

When Women Lead, We All Win

Wage Equality in workplacesNew research, conducted by Mario Macis at Johns Hopkins University found that although women in many developed countries have comparable education and jobs to those of their male counterparts, earnings disparities between the genders are greater in wealthier countries. Macis set out to examine the reasons for the persistence of wage and leadership gender gaps and their consequences.
Gender wage gaps and women’s underrepresentation in leadership positions exist at remarkably similar magnitudes across countries at all levels of income per capita, Macis found. Women’s earnings are:

  • 80% of men’s earnings in countries with a GDP per capita below $10,000
  • 82% of men’s earnings in countries with GDP per capita between $10,000 and $30,000
  • 76% of men’s earnings in countries with GDP per capita above $30,000

One great way to close this gap is to get more women into leadership positions. First of all, numerous studies have found a positive correlation between female leadership and firm performance. Macis’ paper also emphasized the beneficial role female leaders play in reducing gender inequality, and reports that interactions between female leaders and other women in firms  have been shown to contribute to greater gender equality and to have a positive effect on female promotion in the lower ranks.
Macis’ findings are just the latest in a growing body of research showing that companies with more diverse workforces have better financial returns, which benefits everyone:

  • A recently published study from the Peterson Institute reports that companies with at least 30% female leaders—specifically in senior management—had net profit margins up to 6 points higher than companies with no women in senior management. That is a 15% increase in profitability.
  • In 2015, McKinsey & Co. found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to financially outperform their counterparts in the lower quartile.
  • McKinsey also found that companies with more balanced leadership do a better job recruiting and retaining talented workers, leading to cost reductions associated with replacing top executives.
  • In 2014, MIT researchers found that a more even gender split not only leads to happier, more productive employees, it can increase revenue by 41%.

Ultimately, we find through these studies and many more that when women lead we all win. It is critically important that senior leaders commit to gender diversity. Although 74 percent of companies report that gender diversity is a top CEO priority, less than half of employees surveyed believe that to be true. To make headway, companies need to invest time and money in gender diversity. This makes for a happier workplace, and a more profitable one.
We need to use the power of our voices, keep the conversation going, point out injustices in our communities and in the workplace, and support legislation. And most importantly we need to join hands with our sisters and unite our voices, our actions, and our strength. That’s how change happens, and how together we can achieve full workplace and wage equality.

Say Yes and Find Your Destiny for Good

The Profit Accellerator

Allyson Bird

Founder of Money Movers International, LLC, Allyson Byrd, echoes Mother Teresa’s advice, “Say yes” and be open to possibilities; use your gifts and talents to create a world you can love and enjoy, where you can thrive in goodness and where miracles rise to meet you over and over again. Nothing is too big or too impossible for Allyson Byrd. She is known as The Profit Accelerator, because that is exactly what she does for clients.  In the past 18 months, Allyson and her team have coached over 485 entrepreneurial leaders to create over 16.9 million dollars in NEW revenue.

Reason for Success is Love

Allyson says that every statistic would have charted her to fail in life. A black girl in the South, raised by a single mother, dropped out of school at 15, and whose last image of her father at the age of four was in handcuffs as they put him in prison. When she looks around at the life she is living now, she says that all they had was love. It was the one constant in her life. She didn’t know how to make money, save money, or grow money. Attaining wealth was unimaginable.
The etymological root of love is to believe and find value. Through her reading and her work, Allyson learned to find value in purpose and began the business, The Purpose Within, to help people find value in their work. Allyson says that 66% of people in our society feel invisible, undervalued, unnecessary and like their voice isn’t being heard. After that basic beginning, she moved on to helping people become tremendous leaders in their field. She helps them amplify their voices, many on a global scale.

Money is a Tool to Make Things Better

Allyson and Dr. Nancy agree that women have issues getting  past the “money thing.” Allyson says 80% of her audience are women leaders who haven’t figured out how to be brave enough to be paid handsomely for what they do. Allyson urges people to accept the money – even if you just give it away – take it, don’t waste it. Her company has built schools in Africa, founded sports camps in third world countries, worked to stop the hunger crisis in North America, provided funding to fight human trafficking, and much more. She never knew she could create so much wealth, so she encourages everyone to be unapologetic and unleash their talents to be a power for good.

Allyson hopes this year will be the year everyone says yes. Check out her website and go to to find out more about how others have benefited from Allyson’s wisdom. Listen to this conversation for more insights to help women learn how empowering it is when they say yes to a life that’s high on contribution and low on fear. Then go on up to the next level and sign up for Allyson’s next Unconference wait list. Click here to pre-register.

Women Must Align with Their Power

Sarah Acer

Sarah Acer

When encouraged by her parents to pursue something in her life  to contribute to the betterment of society, Sarah Acer decided to connect in the most meaningful way. An award-winning global communications and development strategist, she founded and serves as managing partner for Align Communications and Creative, headquartered in New York City.
Align is a collective of six women who see themselves as industry disrupters and who left their respective big-brand careers to build a new kind of agency. Their full-service strategy and development firm works exclusively with government agencies, nonprofits, and socially conscious organizations looking to deliver social change and a positive impact to the world.

What Does Profit Really Mean?

Sarah sees a change in the way the world views profit. The United States is still focused on financial applications, but worldwide the perception is expanding to view it in terms of gains, such as increased longevity, decreased mortality rates, reduced HIV cases, etc. She says these gains for the good of society are more aligned with “outcomes” than the traditional view of profit. However, she expresses her wonder that investors will gamble on ten “for profit” businesses at $50,000 each and be happy if one of them makes a profit, while they see investing in a “non-profit/social profit” organization as a loss.
When Align works with a corporation, they make sure their community goals align with their business goals and unlike many businesses, they don’t create a foundation for foundation’s sake. They support the “triple-bottom line model” from the 90’s in which companies are concerned with people, profit and planet.

There is Power in Numbers.

Align has become the agency of record to help Take the Lead reach its goal of achieving parity for women by 2025. Sarah says that now is the time for women to join together and help each other. The US is far behind other countries in leadership. While over 60% of college graduates are women, only 20% occupy upper management and we rank 95th in the world in Congress. However, things are beginning to change.
Sarah cites an article in The Washington Post that talked about what happens when women really support other women. When the Obama took office, two-thirds of his top administration was male, made up of those who had worked for him during the campaign.  The women banded together and created an “amplification strategy” in which they repeated each other’s ideas and credited the woman who came up with the idea. More and more aids and staff joined in this sort of cabinet of leadership and got more women appointed through demonstrating and emphasizing women’s contribution.

Take the Lead’s Strategy

It’s a different take on how Leading Women co-author Gloria Feldt, founder of Take the Lead, is working to create an even bigger outcome for women supporting women. Gloria believes in the infinite pie: the more there is, the more there is. Create more women leaders at the top and we create more women leaders at every level and in every sector.
Sarah invites everyone to check out Take the Lead website for the many programs that are offered to women of all ages and at all states in their careers. There are many free resources, such as Virtual Happy Hours and online courses. Check it out also for how you can contribute in your own way to their efforts to bring women into a place where parity and equality is achieved. Sarah says that ultimately the goal of Align is to work themselves out of a job and there’s no longer a need to talk about women reaching equality any more.
Listen to this conversation for more intriguing insights into how feminine leadership is more profitable for both the companies and the communities they serve. And look at Align’s website for the impressive outcomes of organizations they have served.

Women in the Workplace Lack Promotion Opportunities

pexels-photo-57825-largeTaking a further look at Women in the Workplace 2016, it seems that women on the path to leadership tend to get less access to the people, input, and opportunities that accelerate careers. As a result, you see few women advancing to the top of the corporate ladder. This disparity is especially pronounced for women of color, who face the most barriers to advancement and experience the steepest drop-offs with seniority.
The new report from McKinsey & Company and finds that for every 100 women promoted to manager, 130 men are promoted. Another statistic that is disheartening is compared to women, almost twice as many men are hired from the outside as directors—and more than three times as many are hired as senior VPs.
A recent article in Fortune Magazine reports that one inequity that seems to jump out more than any other is women being passed over for promotion. A recent survey released by career site Fairygodboss asked 1,613 women whether they think their employer treats men and women equally. While a slight majority said yes, 44% reported that they believe that some gender discrimination does go on at their company. And when those women were asked about the source of the inequity, nearly 80% said the biggest problem is the way promotions are doled out.
Sure, we’ve come a long way since the time women first entered the workforce. Today, women are represented in every industry and continue to hold prominent positions in a variety of fields. We currently have a women running for President, and many other women are heads of state and hold some of the highest positions in government. However, even as more women enter the board room and take on leadership roles, others are being left behind and passed over for promotions because of their gender. Bottom line, women see the climb to the top as steep, and those who want to reach the C-suite are less likely to think they’ll get there than men with the same aspiration.
However, while some women are being passed, other women aren’t vying for the promotions at all. Women in the Workplace finds that only 40 percent of women are interested in becoming top executives, compared to 56 percent of men. Women and men worry equally about balancing work and family, but that isn’t the only reason women aren’t stepping in line for the next promotion – women with and without children are far more likely to say they don’t want the pressure. An earlier study by researchers at Harvard Business School takes this a step further by reporting that women listed more life goals than men, but only a small number of those goals pertained to achieving power at work.
Whether being skipped because of gender or not trying for the promotion at all, we have a problem that affects every company’s bottom line. How can we level the playing field and get more women in the pipeline for leadership positions? First, companies must create a more inclusive workplace for women and men.  They need to look for ways to make leadership positions more appealing to women, so that women will perceive the benefits of leadership positions. Second, women also need to make a positive impact, and claim our right to have balance in our lives. We need to work with our colleagues (both women and men) to create leadership environments that are supportive and equal. Women must be able to see workplace advancement as rewarding as other accomplishments in life and stereotypical corporate leadership needs to acknowledge and pursue a course that opens advancement and promotes more women to the executive ranks. It’s only by recognizing the problem and working together that we can create positive and lasting change.

Diversity Means All of Us

diversity-woman-conference-3I recently attended my second Diversity Woman Business Leadership Conference, this year in Baltimore. Once again I welcomed the feeling of inclusion; we are all women coming together to support one another. If I were ever to feel set apart, I might expect this to be the place, where three quarters of the attendees were women of color, and where I was the only white woman on  a panel of four. But that was not the case. I discovered again that when we share our stories we are more similar than different and we all want to make the world a better place.
This was the 11th year for the Diversity Woman Conference, although I just learned about it last year. My friend and co-author Kristin Andress, not only suggested I attend, but signed me up to speak on a panel. What an experience! I had never been among so many women (and men) working to help one another and it inspired me to reach out, sponsor this year’s conference and join a panel once again.  This year’s panel, which included a millennial, baby boomers and women in charge of diversity in major organizations, answered probing questions aimed at getting all of us to work together to create more diverse executive leadership and cooperation in the workplace.
Millennials are the toughest women entering leadership today. If interviewed by a stereotypical white male businessman, they will walk out. They insist on working in companies that have management that looks like them and they have enough talent and persistence to persevere and follow their dreams. They are accustomed to obstacles of race and gender and have the determination to overcome them to reach their goals. The talent they bring to a company makes, not only a more collaborative place to work, but brings in new ideas, a fresh perspective and synergy that directly impacts the bottom line. Study after study supports this. If corporations want to make more money and succeed in today’s economy they must welcome diversity of all kinds within their management ranks. Companies and governments around the world are waking up to that fact. We can no longer limit the dynamic input from diverse genders, races and cultures and expect to succeed in any enterprise.

Lisa Lutoff Perlo, CEO Celebrity Cruise Line

Lisa Lutoff Perlo, CEO Celebrity Cruise Line

However, achieving this transformation will take all of us. No one person can change the world. We must realize that when we share our stories, we make connections. Women want to solve the problems of the world. We all want better places for our families to live, better communities, and a more secure future. We know when women serve on boards, in public office and in upper management, the conversation changes to include what will benefit people. Women nurture by nature and that makes us bring others together. Excluding others is actually against our feminine inclinations. When we authentically welcome the feminine leadership model, we become inclusive and understand fully how no one group can do it all. I’ll say it again: it will take ALL of us working together and welcoming everyone’s insight and effort to make the world a better place.
Kristin said it simply in my recent interview about her new book, “Why can’t we all just get along?” No reason at all that I can see.  Yes, I know, there are all those issues of money and power and control, competing interests and different ideas about the best ways to accomplish goals we may share. But when I’m surrounded by all the energy, vitality, skills and creativity of diverse women and men, I’m inspired to do more. I feel optimistic that we can do it. We are so alike it’s just crazy not to be inclusive! We must help one another to nourish our own lives and the lives of others. It’s the only way we are going to create a world we can all live in and sustain for our sons and daughters, one in which all races and all cultures honor our diversity and the best of our humanity.

Happy 80th Birthday Dr. Johnetta Cole

~ Dr. Nancy

Women in the Workplace Finds Lack of Feedback Blocks Advancement

feedbackWhen it comes to advancing in the workplace, it turns out women may be “leaning in” without getting very far, according Women in the Workplace 2016, a new report from McKinsey & Company and The report finds that women are less likely than men to receive the first critical promotion to manager—so far fewer end up on the path to leadership—and they are less likely to be hired into more senior positions. Women also get less access to the people, input, and opportunities that accelerate careers. As a result, the higher you look in companies, the fewer women you see. This disparity is especially pronounced for women of color, who face the most barriers to advancement and experience the steepest drop-offs with seniority. While some of these findings aren’t exactly new, the report provides a fuller look at women in corporate America.
The findings are based on data (as of the end of last year) from 132 companies that employ more than 4.6 million people. Building on the Women in the Workplace 2015 report, as well as similar research conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2012, the study included a survey of 34,000 employees that assessed issues like job satisfaction, work-life issues, and attitudes on gender.
One area where women are struggling is with lack of feedback. Feedback is critical for improving performance, but despite asking for informal feedback as often as men do, the 2015 study found women receive it less frequently. In fact, women are more than 20% less likely than men to say their manager often gives them difficult feedback that improves their performance. Moreover, there appears to be a disconnect in the way managers convey difficult feedback. Most managers say they rarely hesitate to give difficult feedback to both women and men, but women report they receive it less frequently. Women in the Workplace authors write that this may be driven by differences in how feedback is delivered: managers who hesitate to give difficult feedback appear to be concerned about triggering an emotional response from women.
That concern could be due in part to findings from another recent study that reports that men and women deal differently with the emotional fallout associated with receiving feedback or criticism. A group of researchers led by Margarita Mayo, a professor of leadership at IE Business School in Madrid, found that women are far more sensitive to feedback than men are. The study, published in the Harvard Business Review, examined Mayo’s assumption that receiving feedback involves some emotional consequences that may block the very same learning processes it is intended to boost. Researchers looked at how MBA students react to feedback they received about their leadership competence from their peers.
Bottom line, direct feedback is critical because it helps employees take the steps they need to improve their performance and advance. And we all know that without clear, actionable advice and performance feedback, women aren’t able to see a clear possibility for change or a way to reach the next level in the workplace, which can be very frustrating. Following established criteria and clearly identifying key issues and potential for growth will lead women to invest more fully in the workplace, not to mention the fact that providing specific feedback can help us close the gap and create a path forward for all women.
Women in the Workplace finds that many companies’ commitment to gender diversity is at an all-time high, they are struggling to put their commitment into practice, and find that many employees are not on board. To level the playing field, companies need to treat gender diversity like the business imperative it is, and that starts with better communication, more training, and a clearer focus on results. As women, when we can learn how to build one another up and become comfortable with the process of giving and taking feedback, we will stop disrespecting ourselves and others and build the positive sisterhood that will help us all achieve the success we all deserve.

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