Gender balance is a wicked problem.
Yes, it’s an uneven playing field.
Yes, there are inequitable situations in the workplace that make it harder for women to achieve the careers and businesses they want.
Yes, it seems that there is unconscious bias and double standards in the workplace that drive a different interpretation of what women do and how they do it.
The qualities that most female business owners, managers and leaders bring to their role are exactly what business needs today. The relationships, the empathy, the willingness to consult and collaborate, our ability to engage direct reports, our communication capability to name a few are what organisations of any size need from micro to multi-national.
Even though these qualities are essential to the sustainability of business, the path for women in business or in leadership positions is not an easy one. We often have to be better than our male counterparts to get the same opportunity.
And then there’s another challenge – and probably the main one. Our mindset.
If we’re to be honest, many of us step back from opportunities feeling we’re not ready – not yet perfect – or we may take the job and wait in fear to be discovered as incapable. We can judge ourselves (and others) harshly. We may take things way too personally. We tend to have poor boundaries. Often, we don’t recognise our own value or celebrate our success. We feel we lack confidence. We get in our own way!
The perfection, judgement, taking things personally, poor boundaries, lack of recognising our own value, failing to celebrate our success and lack of confidence are SYMPTOMS of the problem. Not the problem itself.
Why do we sabotage our opportunities? Or if we do take them up, why don’t we acknowledge the contribution we made to our own success?
At a fundamental level, we feel we’re simply not good enough. Many of us are driven by the need to be perfect, fuelled by an internal critic that won’t let up. This is the territory of the IMPOSTER SYNDROME.
If you recognise any of these thoughts and behavioural patterns, are you OK with limiting your own possibilities in this way?
Or would you like to move beyond those diminishing feelings to see yourself more accurately, to recognise your strengths, talents and successes and to make the contribution only you can make?
My “Skirting Leadership” program is being offered online for the first time. This program usually runs in-house with organisations like CSIRO, TAL, and Suncorp or through Associations such as the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) Inspire Group. Here is what one participant from one of the leading insurance companies said:
Skirting Leadership has provided me with practical and thought provoking tools to better judge my biggest critic – me! (In a positive way that I know will make a difference at work and also my personal life). Thank you Suzanne – loved the workshop! Senior Manager, Leading Insurance Company.
The programme starts with a free one-hour web class to check if the imposter syndrome is what is holding you back. If you would like to see and truly embrace who you are, I encourage you to find the time to invest in you and your business or career. You’ll see what you’re capable of and the difference only you can make. All you have to lose is one hour of your time. And think of how much you have to gain: knowledge and understanding on how this may be playing out for you, together with what you can do to change your situation. It’s a journey that opens up exciting and potentially life-changing possibilities.