Remaking Leadership

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Learn how women can fill more senior level jobs and how both men and women can remake how leadership is practiced.

BIG's Jane Perdue recently partnered with Anne Perschel of Germane Consulting to research women in business and their relationship with power.

If you've ever attended one of Jane's keynotes or workshops, you may have heard her talk about her "Aunt Polly incident" and how it changed the course of her career, "My fascination with love and power in the workplace began after a new boss described me – a vice president with 150 people in her department – as Aunt Polly."

Having progressed to the executive level, Jane related to what research participants shared about their views of power and what factors hold them back. Thinking back over her career, Jane received amazing support from both women and men. No one, however, thought to teach her about power...something that has too long remained a hidden key to senior leadership positions.

Five learnable skill areas

So, while staying true to their research, Jane and Anne applied lessons learned from their own executive experiences to identify five actions for women to master for stepping up and into their personal and professional power. All five items — matters of both the head and heart — can be learned, provided there's a willingness to do so. The key phrase here is willingness to do we're put off by incorrect assertions that there aren't more women in senior level jobs because women are "broken." 

  • Women do have to Show up. Stand up. Voice Up. Make your voice heard and have the confidence and courage to tactfully toot your own horn.
  • It's time to Ditch Cinderella. Quit waiting for things to happen to you...seize opportunities as you see them and make things happen for you.
  • Forge strategic connections. Connections — who you know and who knows you — are the new currency of the workplace, particularly at higher levels.
  • Augment either/or thinking with an inclusive both/and mindset. Unstick your thinking that says you must choose between being powerful or being well-liked. There's a way to do both.
  • Power is not inherently mysterious or evil or self-serving. Know power:  it's simply the neutral authority to achieve outcomes by deploying resources to drive change. Be powerful by understanding that power is readily available from a multitude of sources if you have the courage and foresight to take it and use it to drive positive outcomes.

How Companies Can Help

Women doing their part is only a part of the change equation. Companies must do their part to catalyze change, close the gender gap, and stop leaving money on the table. CEOs must focus on making gender balance a real priority, redefining leadership and walking the talk by developing women leaders.  We offer practical tips and insights on how to do so.

More women in key roles won't happen because women start thinking like men or men begin behaving like women. It will happen, however, when bold, audacious women, like-minded men and thoughtful and forward-thinking CEOs make it a business imperative to do so.

Ready to learn more about having personal and positional power?

The BIG team is excited to share what we've learned and equip more women to step up and into power. Download our research report, Women and The Paradox of Power, 8 Keys for Transforming Business Culture!


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