There are a lot of studies showing that women are not interested in leadership positions.
Just last week, I heard more news about how women don’t want leadership positions from a study on women in project management. Some who had had a leadership position before, didn’t want another one. The reasons mentioned were rather typical: “politics”, “not worth the strain”, “work-life balance”. Some of the comments could be read as the fear of being alone at the top.
Add to that the marketing messages from former corporate executives who found themselves after a burnout and who are now telling everyone to leave corporate before it’s too late. “You can only be truly happy if you start your own business” seems to be the credo. As if all corporations and organizations were full of lemmings who just haven’t woken up yet.
I know a lot of very engaged, intelligent and competent people in large organizations. They are the kind of people who aim to have an impact right where they are now.
How can we expect a system to change if we leave it? By creating a parallel universe, we will not suddenly change the culture. Instead, it gives us a new perspective. And we may point out the wrong-doings and wrong-goings in the existing system from an outsider’s view. But we’ve taken ourselves out of the game. And we all know what people think of the spectators who are not in the arena.
So, if you don’t like the way your organization is treating employees, change it. Show them by example how you can treat your team members and have a more productive unit. Share your observations, and make proposals to improve the way things are handled. Find partners for your cause, network and influence. Be a leader by influencing the system you’re in.
Don’t go it alone, either. By all means, find support on your journey. Both inside your operating theatre, and in your personal environment. You will need friends, supporters, encouragers, mentors and coaches and maybe teachers for some of the situations you will be facing. But there’s plenty of us willing to support you, be it as a networking partner, a friend, or a professional.
Don’t give up. If you’re questioning if it’s worth dealing with your colleagues on the management floor who have never seen a woman in her power and give you sh*t for daring, think of all the girls who are looking for role models. Think of yourself when you were ten years old. What will you tell them if you leave the system because you didn’t like how it was working? What kind of system will they find when you leave it now, unchanged?
In fashion and make-up, we learn to “work with what we’ve got”. Let’s apply this to our work environment and the sub-satisfying conditions we find for women in leadership positions. Let’s change that environment. Let’s change it from within the system.
Let me know what you’re aiming to change in the comments, and if you are on a mission to change the system, let’s have coffee!