A few weeks ago I sat down with Bill Wadell, with WFXR news and discussed what I thought was holding women back at work. Here’s the transcript from the session that will appear as a story on tonight’s 10pm news for the Virginia at Work series.
Bill Wadell to audience: There’s good news and bad news for women in the workplace. The number of female CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies is up 50% this year. It sounds like a lot, but it’s really not. The jump? From 21 to 32.
Technology, trends, relationships and even attire; a lot has changed in the modern workplace. But one thing has not. Men almost always outnumber women in leadership positions.
Bill to audience: Lynda McNutt Foster, CEO of Cortex Leadership Consulting, says most women juggle a lot. Sometimes they hold themselves back from big opportunities.
Lynda: “What women tend to not do that I’ve seen is that they don’t negotiate authority. I think they understand how much responsibility comes with authority and so they’re concerned about stepping into that space when they have so many other responsibilities already”
Bill to audience: In many cases, Lynda says, landing that leadership role or more responsibilities boils down to timing and confidence.
Lynda: “Women will not take a promotion because they don’t feel competent yet. Men will take a promotion feeling confident that they will build the competency to be able to do the job well.”
Bill to audience: Lynda’s advice if you’re the boss? Listen more – show appreciation for a job well done.
Lynda: “I think they need to understand that if they have an extremely competent woman working for them and they really see her potential in the workplace and a promotion comes up, he may need to have a little longer conversation and let her know how valuable she is and how competent she is to help her build the confidence to take on that job”.
Bill to audience: Lynda’s advice for women wanting to move up in the workplace… be prepared and be brave.
Lynda: “From the very beginning think 5 moves ahead and try to determine what authority they’re going to need to execute effectively whatever assignment they’re taking. What ever job they’re taking.”
Lynda: “Guilt saps us from a lot of energy and doesn’t allow us to be present. So I think for women it’s complicated, I don’t think it’s easy and I personally don’t think it’s men holding us back.”
10p news anchor to audience: FOR MORE ON WOMEN LEADING THE WAY AT WORK, GO TO VIRGINIAFIRST.COM and CLICK ON SECTIONS, AND YOU’LL FIND VIRGINIA AT WORK ON THE COMMUNITY LIST.
What do I think is one of the main things holding women back from slaying it at work in positions of high authority? Themselves. Women are capable, strong, competent and creative. The minute a woman decides that she wants something (who is going to disagree with me about this?) she goes for it and usually gets it. The first person we need to point to is ourselves and determine if we really want the pressure, stress, and responsibility of holding those high-level positions. We need to stand up if we do, stand out amongst those who want that position, too, and speak up confidently about ourselves and our capabilities. We need to lead with confidence and with the experience of knowing – we got this!
Sure, it’s not easy. Sure, there’s clearly some inequities in what we face along the way. Yes, all things are not currently fair sometimes. Go where you think it’s fair, then. Work where you feel empowered. Speak up when you have solutions. Be brave and slay it!
Aligning Responsibility, Accountability, and Authority at Work