Women and Leadership

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For many years in the US and all over the world, women have been experiencing many challenges in their quest for top leadership positions in the corporate world. As a matter of fact, women hold only a very small percentage of top executive positions and CEO (Chief Executive Offices) positions (6 %) (Carly & Eagly, 2007). Despite the fact that they outsmart men in leadership positions when given a chance, there are still very few females who dare to climb the leadership leader. In the 20th century the existence of a glass ceiling and a labyrinth of obstacles have been held accountable for the number of women in leadership positions (Quast, 2012). These obstacles include: the perception that it is not appropriate for a woman to be in a leadership position, gender prejudice in the society, and family demands on women (Cook & Glass, 2016).This perception insinuates that men are favoured by the society over women for leadership positions. Despite these challenges there are women who have striven against all odds. They have made great milestones in leadership and can be emulated as role models by their fellow women.


In the 21st century, the glass ceiling does not exist anymore. In most cases, women are their own causes for failure to obtain top executive jobs in companies and elite organisations. Most of them are not assertive enough to go for these positions (Martin, 2007). The lack of assertiveness is seen in many ways. For instance, in the work place, many women have not established well defined borders for their personal standards and integrity. Similarly, their carrier priorities are not well determined either (Caprino, 2012).They lack strategic visions for their careers. Subsequently, most of them do not have a self-defined path or set of goals to act as a guidance to them in the work place. Thus, they make work related decisions without taking time to think of major implications of these decisions in the future. As such, their decisions are not taken seriously by their colleagues and it is assumed that they can be swayed in any direction. On the same note, women do not have personal brands at work. These are self-selected set of values that one chooses and nourishes to excellence so that they can help a person to stand out. As such, the individual is able to sell oneself as a unique worker. In this way, one gains the ability to set oneself apart from her competitors since her set of values, give one a competitive edge. Since most women have not established this personal brand, they do not have a chance against male competitors. Still at the personal level, many female employees are not firmly decisive. This is because they do not have a full realisation of their self-worth (Carli & Eagly, 2007). They always filled with self-doubt and fears of taking about their positive traits. This causes them to always rely on the compliments of criticism of colleagues who are not honest in most cases. Consequentially, women are vulnerable because they can easily be talked out of accomplishing their dreams by people who do not want them to prosper in their careers. Because of self-doubt and disbelief (Smith, 2007), women tend to compare themselves with fellow women in the organisations where they work. This comparison does not bear fruit or assist the women in any way, since it is done between peers who have not achieved a lot in life. As such, it does not challenge the women to be assertive. Therefore, they do not strive to new levels in their careers .They stagnate at the same level for long periods of time as long they are as good as their friends (Baker, 2014). Again, in the work place, women are not keen to learn lessons from the dynamic corporate world to help them remain relevant. They are not willing to adopt to new situation or to abrupt changes. Additionally, they have always fallen short of the ability to identify new opportunities that can be utilised to their advantage (Baker 2014). In a similar manner, most women are not assertive because they do not work towards gaining the experience necessary to help them make wise decisions in regard to the opportunities for profit that they encountered. Thus, they end up making poor decisions (Waller & Lublin, 2015).On top of this, women who have worked in a given company for a long time get complacent and do not seek greener pastures elsewhere. They become too loyal to their employer to leave (Waller & Lublin, 2015). This rigidity limits women’s opportunities for promotions.

Further, women have failed in the area of complimenting themselves (Caprino, 2012).Even in situations where they have made great breakthroughs, most of them do not talk about it in an effort to assertively market themselves (Smith, 2007). In this situation, they tend to give the credit to others by explaining how these people helped them to get the success. Therefore, they give their success and the opportunities it created to other people who dot deserve it. Likewise, they allow the stereotypes in the society about the lesser role of women in leadership to affect them (Cambridge Union Society, 2012). As a result, they fail to go for high positions of leadership in fear that the society will criticise them. Since they are not assertive, they settle for jobs that do not require great leadership skills (Smith, Crittenden & Caputi, 2012). Most of them never take time to question the perceptions of the society that put them down. They just accept them as the norm and live therein comfortably. Instead of focusing on their uniqueness as women, they compare themselves to men and try to emulate their style of leadership (Carli & Eagly, 2007). In addition, they are not just ambitious enough to go for the best in the cooperate world. Since this requires self-discipline and sacrifices, most of them are not ready to pay the price to become the best (Cambridge Union Society, 2012). Also, women face self-imposed challenges in balancing family life and professional work. As such, they mix the two areas and end up as ineffective leaders. Resilience is one great characteristic of successful leadership that women lack. When faced with a challenge at work, they do not try hard enough to solve the problem prudently. Instead, they bail out (Cook & Glass, 2016). The fear factor also prevents women from going for very high positions, most of them have a defined ²success point² (Caprino, 2012). This is an upper limit of success that women set for themselves, how far they are willing to stretch their capabilities. It borders the fear of the unknown.

Instead of comparing themselves to men, women can focus on developing their unique female traits to help them excel in leadership (Baker, 2014). They need to work on their personal character to acquire positive traits to make them assertive. First, they should set personal standards of integrity. This will help them stand firmly for the decisions they make (Martin, 2007). As a result, they will command respect from their colleagues Again, it is important for each woman to set well defined goals and work hard to achieve them fearlessly. Each one of them should be able to state what they want for themselves without relying on the society to tell them what to do (Quast, 2012). In addition, women can form welfare organisations with other women in the work place. These will assist in helping the members identify opportunities in the job markets and in solution of problems encountered. Likewise, it is an important tool in networking, which helps in making deals with other players in the corporate world (Martin, 2007). Also, this helps women to gain courage they need to face the challenges at work fearlessly. Again, it is important for women to persistently go for their goals in life with great caution to be able to identify the challenges in the way, and be able to look into the future through the analysis of current trends. Likewise, using their talents, they can develop personal brands (extra ordinary skills set) which will help them in marketing themselves for better job opportunities (Cook & Glass, 2016). As such, women will be decisive and will not be dependent on men for carrier prosperity. They will be able to go out on their own and define their own paths (Martin, 2007). In order to avoid the mixing of personal and professional life issues, women should train in time management and master the art of delegation of duties. This will help them achieve more in life since a balance between family life and work leads to greater satisfaction and success for most women (Carli and Eagly, 2007).


In recent years, various organisations help women to defy odds and rise in the leadership ladder. For instance, they are able to unite with other women across the cooperate world. In situations where new opportunities arise, they can communicate within the groups and encourage one another to go after them. Additionally, they assist women acquire the skills to become assertive, such as courage and prudent methods of dealing with problems. This makes it possible for them to become the best executive managers since they are naturally smarter than men.



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