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"Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership" By Alice H. Eagly and Linda L. Carli, Harvard Business Review (2007)

The full article from The Harvard Business Review can be viewed here: http://citt.hccfl.edu/Newsletters/NewsletterID1.pdf

Both of these women are writers, researchers, and professors of psychology. Studying the findings of these two women during my time at UW-Madison has compelled me enough to share this piece with you. 

Starting out with jaw-dropping statistics that many of you may not already know, Eagly & Carli propose that the "glass ceiling" has shattered--but the challenges are far from over. They argue that it has shattered because there are some women who are now able to permeate through that glass--at a cost. They relate the current challenge of women leadership to pursuing a labyrinth, with "walls all around."

They state: "As a contemporary symbol, it conveys the idea of a complex journey toward a goal worth striving for. Passage through a labyrinth is not simple or direct, but requires persistence, awareness of one's progres, and a careful analysis of the puzzles that lie ahead" (pg. 2). 

The richness of how Eagly and Carli convey the obstacles that make up the "labyrinth" of women's leadership is informative, and covers deep-rooted gender dynamics that many people haven't come to terms with yet. Most importantly, in my opinion, is the obstacle they describe called the "double bind," which is a term that describes the pulls and tugs on women to completely embody both communal "caring" leadership style, while also being agentic and sturdy. If a woman is to lean too far in one direction for a moment, the criticism will begin and the stereotypes start reinforcing themselves. Studies have investigated this phenomenon, about whether this "double bind" exists for men leaders, and results found overall that "men can communicate in a warm or dominant manner, with no penalty either way" (pg. 4). 

Lastly, Eagly and Carli provide us with a list of valuable management interventions that can actually work in aiding other women's journey through the labyrinth. These interventions are essential, to say the least, and should be shared amongst women in management roles and beyond. 

If you enjoyed reading this article, I would highly recommend their book: "Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders" (2007). One reviewer, Chris Nicholson, expressed Eagly & Carli's book eloquenty: "Too often the beliefs people espouse make gender inequalities seem natural by justifying 'accidents' of history that have assigned men and women uneven roles. 'Through the Labyrinth' (2007) is not one of those books." I couldn't agree more, Chris. 

My questions for the Network:

  1. Have you tried to help implement these interventions that the authors provide us? Which do you see have the most potential, and why?
  2. Further, what do you think of the claim that the "glass ceiling" is no longer the most valuable way of describing the obstacles in women's leadership?

Thank you,
Sarah Timmins
Intern, World Council of Credit Unions

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations, Networking

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Assertive

The cover letter on a Government Accountability Office report to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee states that women comprise nearly half of the workforce at 47% as of July 2010. While the number of women earning college degrees has tripled between 1970 and 2008, the letter read, they are less well represented among management. The GAO cited the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data, which found that female officials and managers in the private sector increased from just over 29% in 1990 to 36.4% in 2002. Women must do their own legwork to raise our collective stature beyond the height of our pumps in 2013.

Between 2000 and 2007, male to female ratios in management was flat across 13 sectors, the GAO found. In 2007 women accounted for 40% of managers and 49% of nonmanagers, while figures from 2000 indicate women represented 39% of managers and 49% of nonmanagers.

The GAO also found that female managers in 2007 had less education, were younger on average, were more likely to work part-time, and were less likely to be married or have children, than male managers. A lot of these factors are very personal choices and they all can be for very noble reasons. It’s nothing anyone else can decide for you. You’re welcome to the sisterhood if and when you’re ready.

But when your personal journey leads you toward career aspirations, do it right. When a job a level up becomes available, go for it. No one else is going to do it for you. Don’t just hope to get recognized. Management wants someone who can demonstrate they’re a leader and can assert themselves. Gather advice from mentors and colleagues, pull up your big-girl pants and go for it.

Not only are women underrepresented in management, but pay differences also continue to tug at our skirt hemlines. On average, married female managers earned the majority of household wages, but her share was smaller than the average male married manager; this statistic held steady between 2000 and 2007, according to the GAO. The pay gap did narrowed slightly between 2000 and 2007. After taking into account factors such as education level, the GAO estimated that female managers earn 81 cents to men’s dollar in 2007. This was up from 79 cents in 2000, and varied depending upon the sector.

The authors of A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating recommend asserting yourself in salary negotiations from the start. A study of Carnegie Mellon University graduates discovered that male students were eight times more likely to negotiate for a larger starting salary than female students. The authors stated that was, in part, due to women’s poor negotiation skills or foregoing it entirely. They cite the experience of Maria Dorner, CEO of NewsMD Communications when early in her career, she took her mother’s advice: “You need them more than they need you.” She quickly learned this was the wrong strategy for valuing her work. She asked for double and got it only to learn that a male counterpart had just asked for and received triple. That might be a bit of an extreme example, but the idea is 1) know what you’re worth in the market that you’re in; and 2) be sure to assert yourself to achieve a fair goal. You are worth it—to yourself and your employer.

By Sarah Snell Cooke, publisher/editor-in-chief, Credit Union Times

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards / Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Impact of Women in Society, Member Discussions, Networking

Join our Linkedin group!

The Network is happy to announce that we now have a group profile on LinkedIn. You can search for us under "Global Women's Leadership Network (World Council of Credit Unions)" or click here to see our page. Please join the group and feel free to start discussions on our wall. We also invite you to share the group with other women leaders in the credit union industry. Non-members are welcome!

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards / Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Events, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Financial/Risk Management, Growing CU Market Share, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations, Marketing, Member Discussions, Member Service, Networking, Program Updates, Regulatory Issues, Technology

Cast a Wider Net in Networking

Women are good at networking with other women. Perhaps it's because they're more comfortable. The problem is that women are limiting their professional growth opportunities because, as we all know, women do not comprise the majority of top-level executives. That's not to say that women's groups don't have their place, but networking must necessarily extend beyond them.


Career Development International published a case study in 2011 that studied the impact of women's networks on participants' careers and the executives at the organization. They preface that report, stating that very little research has been done regarding the actual impact of women's networks on organizations. However, it did cite previous research stating, "The success or failure of these efforts is dependent on how they are perceived by organizational members-both men and women."


When studying organized networks intended to help promote diversity, the CDI article found very different viewpoints between what the members expected from the group and how executive management viewed it. Both sides saw it as a way to increase women in leadership in the case study. However, the executives, only one of whom was a woman, viewed it primarily as a mentoring vehicle and promoting diversity; the female group members looked at the women's network as strategic opportunity for the company that would benefit the bottom line, in addition to networking.


Women network differently than men, which impacts their careers. According to the article, women's networks tend to be smaller groups with stronger bonds and more homogenous than men's networks. Men's networking is a mile wide and an inch deep, but it serves the purpose of helping them advance professionally because they hear about opportunities and come into contact with a lot of people. Women also have more women in their networks, and because women are less visible at the upper levels of management, they have fewer opportunities to meet informally with top executives. The proverbial good old boys' club comes into play when they talk business on hunting trips or over cigars.


Women and Leadership: Closing the Gender Gap, published in the International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring, cited a presentation during an Oxford Brookes University conference which suggested that informal influencing networks might be more useful that straight networking. The idea is to align with like-minded colleagues who will help push your goal forward, creating an "influencing path" based on who's trusted by key players.


Female executives must recognize the importance of possessing the right kind of connections, as well as broader networks. At the same time, male executives should think to expand their horizons beyond the hunting lodge or golf course. As women will naturally become a larger part of senior management, it's crucial to everyone to ensure well-rounded networking for all.

 

 Sarah Snell Cooke

By Sarah Snell Cooke
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
Credit Union Times

 

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, CU Boards / Volunteers, Networking

Ladies, Get Ahold of Yourself

When you hear the phrase ‘emotional intelligence,' my biased, knee-jerk reaction is that women are superior. However, when you dig down into what comprises emotional intelligence, they aren't necessarily.

In the article, "The Emotional Intelligence of Leaders" that appeared in the publication Leader to Leader, Daniel Goleman outlines five dimensions (cue Aquarius) of leaders: Self-awareness, manage emotions, exhibit optimism, show empathy, and stay connected.

Somehow when society shifted from hunting and gathering to a formal work place, the philosophy followed that personal stuff stays at home. No emotions at work. The truth is that's impossible. Whether you've got a big report due for the board or you're having difficulty finding the right person to fill a position, it causes stress, and humans respond-well or poorly-to stress. And these feelings trickle out to your team.

Men tend to get angry about their anxieties because they see it as a weakness, and men hate that. Their anger is conveyed overtly or in subtle ways. Women tend to become unsure of themselves and, thus the goal or the means to it. When a leader is unsure, that uncertainty affects her ability to lead people anywhere. And then there are the women who try to play 'like the men.'

Being tuned in and accepting what your feeling allows you to slow down, consider what's going on, the environment and the ramifications. You feel in control, and so you're optimistic that even if something isn't going as planned, you can adapt to change the outcome. You don't berate or blame others; you just find a solution or scrap the project as necessary.
I participated in a very intriguing LinkedIn discussion in a professional women's group asking whether participants preferred male or female bosses. The comments I read were heavily weighted toward preferring male bosses. Huh?

Maybe women aren't as emotionally evolved as they think. Many of the commenters described the cattiness of their female bosses. Perhaps the female bosses were feeling threatened by the up-and-coming talent, and after all they'd worked for, they weren't going to be shown up by the young blond in the slightly short skirt.

This is not a game we should be playing because no one's going to win. Your people make you look good, so let them shine, male or female. Keep them engaged and be engaged in what you're doing. If you're doing that, 1) you're not going to be threatened, and 2) hope that you've cultivated a loyalty there that can serve your business, and even you personally.

Sarah Snell Cooke 

By Sarah Snell Cooke
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
Credit Union Times 

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, CU Boards / Volunteers, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations, Networking

Adhere to Your Femininity

Mais oui, ze French-or more precisely Societe Generale, a French bank-began offering a pink and gold credit card called "Pour Elle," complete with handbag insurance and handyman assistance. It vows to "simplify" women's lives and an article written about it quotes a bank spokesperson saying it targets "those who wish to adhere to their femininity."

Their clientele seems very hi-end so it might work for them but the very idea among commoners like me portrays women as helpless-one might even say hopeless. Women are influential cogs in the economy and marketing to a target audience can be good, but personally I am now finding it tough to keep lunch down. (I'm sorry, was that not ladylike?)

Women can be a powerful force in the workplace, too, and remain feminine. I'm not talking about the old days of low-cut blouses and tight skirts, but truth be told women can get away with a lot more than men in the wardrobe department. Look at attention-grabbing garb of someone like CO-OP's Sarah Canepa Bang. Not everyone can pull her style off but you know when she enters a room.

I couldn't get away with it but there are subtler ways of parting the pinstriped seas while adhering to your femininity. The thing about your professional femininity is it's how you define it and want to project it. Many times we do feel the pressure to conform in this man's world, whether to what the way they behave or the way they think (or we think they think) women should behave.

Women can and should assert themselves more. Women are less likely to negotiate for compensation and benefits, which can do great damage to your personal and financial well being over time. Know your priorities, whether they're financial or extra time off or other benefits, before entering the room, and don't leave until you're satisfied that they've all been addressed if not necessarily adopted.

Women are less apt to continue pushing an idea for a product or service or process after hearing ‘no' from on high. Pick your battles, but if you've done your research and know this will be beneficial to your business then wait a while and bring it up again. The worst that will likely happen is you'll be told no again. If you're idea is accepted and successful refer back to the last paragraph, but if you don't support a project you believe in, you won't have the opportunity at review time to say look what revenue or savings I've brought to this organization.

I've also heard the statistic from executive consultant Holly Herman (I don't recall the original source) that women won't apply for a job to move up a level unless they know they can already do 80% of it while men will apply for jobs they think they can handle 40% of. That's the kind of confidence women need to succeed and succeed even faster. Know the basics and quickly muddle your way through the rest until you know that, too.

Even something as simple as offering a firm handshake can go a long way (but do it femininely so you don't chip your nails). These behaviors aren't unfeminine. Make them your feminine, because we don't need our lives simplified with purse insurance. And, if you own a purse that needs insuring, 1) your life's already too complicated and 2) you can afford to hire your own handyman.

By Sarah Snell Cooke
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
Credit Union Times
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, CU Boards / Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Impact of Women in Society, Member Service, Networking

Men Are the Problem, er, I Mean Solution

Sarah Snell Cooke

Men—you know I love ‘em. Even married one once. They can be tyrannical and territorial or they can be fatherly and supportive.My headline was satirical. Men are absolutely part of the solution to gender diversity in the work place. They have to be because they rule a lot of this roost. Historically it was by design but I like to think that’s not the case with most male executives any more.Just like my headline though you’ll see a lot of books regarding advancement of female executives with titles like, The Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys and The End of Men. It’s entirely the wrong attitude to present to truly accomplish diversity, and if you look beyond the titles you’ll see they’re sensationalized for marketing rather than actually representing feminazi dogma.Even if some men aren’t on board they need to be brought on board. We’re in this lopsided situation because a subset of people was excluded. What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. We need men (see first line).Dragging over the fence sitters and opponents take business sense, so here are millions of reasons for equity among the executive ranks. According to a 2011 McKinsey study, women represented 37% of all jobs in 1970 and that figure climbed to nearly 48% by 2009, adding nearly 37 million women. McKinsey contends that without them, our economy would be 25% smaller. Additionally, the U.S. has about 76% of all women working versus 87% in Sweden. Even the outlying states only reach 84%, which suggests there’s room for growth, McKinsey contends, and adding 3-4% to the U.S. economy. Pull that down from the clouds and apply it to the credit union industry, and it’s still a substantial number.A greater portion of middle management women (31%) than entry-level (16%) aspires to the upper ranks so focus on these professionals first, McKinsey found. Mentor them or if you are one of them, find a mentor, male or female. Also, increasing that layer of women in middle management helps grow the upwardly mobile pool even further.An Oct. 31 column by American Banker Editor-at-Large Barbara A. Rehm followed the remarks of Irene Dorner, CEO of HSBC USA. Rehm quoted her as saying in her acceptance speech as the most powerful woman in banking, “Do more to create a level playing field for women…Do it because meritocracy is a step towards renewing our industry. Do it because there are a lot of women out there who can get us where we want to be. And do it because it’s right.”

Her words are great and her speech reportedly very inspiring, but think about how much more powerful it would be if a male executive had made that speech. Men must be part of the solution to gender equality.

Sarah Snell CookeSarah Snell Cooke

By Sarah Snell Cooke
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
Credit Union Times
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, CU Boards / Volunteers, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations, Networking

Teach Your Colleagues Well

As demographics and history progress, more female executives are growing into leadership roles Credit Union Times wanted to highlight them in various states of their career paths. In 2011, we launched our Women to Watch program to shine a spotlight on women who are making a difference in the credit union community and serve as role models for others. With that rise comes great responsibility. Up and coming female professionals need mentors and let’s face it: sometimes it’s easier for us (and often men, too) to ask questions and seek guidance from women. Women tend to be more attentive to others’ needs and better listeners. (My husband refuses to toss his cruddy old t-shirt that reads: She says I don’t listen, or something like that.) Whether it’s instinctual or a simply upbringing, it’s true. With 66% of women 18-34 rating career high on their list of priorities compared to men of the same age group at 59%, female mentors are becoming a hot commodity.Credit Union Times recently featured women professionals of the credit union support system at CUTimes.com/W2W and in our Oct. 3 issue. These women, including the Global Women’s Leadership Network’s Sue Mitchell, CEO of Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates, are professionals to be admired and respected for a whole slew of reasons. When you read their personal philosophies, you see things like:

  • Be honest.
  • Be flexible.
  • Be the person you look up to.
  • Seek opportunities.
  • Be curious and creative.
  • Make a difference.
  • Do what’s right.

Demonstrating leadership isn’t rocket science and it’s not a women or men’s issue. These are human issues. But mentors can serve the important role of keeping others on track, steering them from burning a bridge in a temporary fit of anger, and guiding them through the gray areas.Not all women or men want to be in the corner office. Some prefer to be the best they can be at whatever their area of interest is. That’s great! It takes everyone working together—men and women, CFOs, IT and marketing directors, volunteers and professionals—and respecting and using everyone to their strengths while acknowledging our own weaknesses to operate a successful organization. Mentors can help bring that out in you execs.

Willingness to cooperate and collaborate and getting others to work together harmoniously is a great strength of women in general and perhaps why they’ve been more successful in the credit union community than other industries.

 

By Sarah Snell Cooke
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
Credit Union Times

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards / Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations, Networking, Member Discussions

Thoughts on the Mobile Revolution

In the article, Designing for Women: The Mobile Challenge (http://blog.usaid.gov/2012/09/building-a-better-user-experience-the-mobile-chapter/#.UGYAg65SAvg.email), Christopher Burns, economic growth and agricultural development advisor of USAID, said  “Mobile phones are a real game changer when it comes to tackling global challenges around the world but if the design does not change, hundreds of millions of women risk being left out in this next mobile revolution. That is a risk we cannot afford to take.”

Burns conducted research in Egypt, India, Papua New Guinea and Uganda, that shows on average resource-poor women are 22% less likely to want a mobile phone because they don’t know how to use it.

Do your credit union members know how to access their financial information through their mobile phones? How can we, as credit unions, make sure no one is left behind in the mobile revolution?

Maybe we can use this research and work with members and offer a basic tutorial on how to access their accounts and other key phone functions. Perhaps tellers could help members on a case-by-case basis or classes could be offered on occasion?

As financial cooperatives we have the ability to shine while helping our members understand new technologies. Has anyone done outreach on how to make members more comfortable with technology? We’d love to hear your ideas!
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards / Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Impact of Women in Society, Marketing, Member Service, Networking, Member Discussions, Technology

Olivia Wilde Talks about Microfinance

I had the chance to watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart recently, and the episode featured an interview with actress Olivia Wilde.  Although she was there to promote her new movie, she also talked about her recent trip to Kenya, which was inspired by the book Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  While in Kenya she saw the work of microfinance organizations and women's groups that are fostering self-sustainability. You may recall that our Network Chair, Sue Mitchell, has referenced and recommended the book to us a few times over the last year or so.  The book does intrigue me, and I thought you might want to check out the video clip of her interview as well.  Here you go... http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-september-26-2012/olivia-wilde.
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Impact of Women in Society, Networking, Member Discussions
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