It’s hardly surprising that women fail to recognise or value their leadership ability, role or power when there are so few in leadership positions.
A stark example of this is the male champions of change group. This is an influential group of guys who have publicly committed to drive the change required to improve gender balance at the top.
This is great, but where are the women?
Redressing the gender balance is an issue of strategic importance – for businesses, and indeed all of us. Where are the senior women? Why aren’t they included in this group of champions, contributing ideas and holding their male colleagues to account?
I work with many women who are on executive management boards and have senior leadership roles. Too many habitually, instinctively defer to men to make decisions, take action and responsibility for matters which fall within their own leadership domain.
It’s frustrating that despite their position and authority, so many undervalue their power, or give it away to their male colleagues who readily (and have been conditioned) to take it.
I watch as very senior women
- Seek permission to act
- Rationalise or justify their decisions to legitimise them
- Provide more detail than required as they provide greater explanation than required for their decisions or ideas.
It doesn’t help that men implicitly require women to constantly prove their credibility, or hold women to higher standards than their male colleagues, but we should not collude!
Organisations are run by leadership teams that include women.
Women may not be at the top of corporate Australia, but there are enough with critical leadership roles to make a difference. These women have the authority, credibility and indeed the responsibility to contribute equally. It’s time they noticed.