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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

Lean In: Controversial or Conclusive?

As female leaders in the corporate world, I'm sure Sheryl Sandberg's new book, Lean In, has caught your attention. Whether or not you agree with it, this book by the female COO of Facebook is receiving a great deal of hype and is certainly relevant to our Network's goals.

If you have not had a chance to read the book, I will start with a brief summary. Lean In is the expansion of a message Sandberg introduced during the TED talk she gave back in 2010, titled "Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders." Her presentation of data from all over the globe proves one point- women are not occupying an equal amount of top leadership positions to men in ANY field in ANY country. This extends to politics, the corporate world, nonprofits, and other fields. Although women have climbed in numbers in most sectors since the 1960's, their figures have stagnated in the last ten years and some are even decreasing. She highlights prejudices society still holds against women in the workforce and the ways in which women may also hold themselves back. To combat these problems, Sandberg proposes several ways women can change their approach, including "Sit at the table," "Make your partner a real partner," and "Don't leave before you leave." "Sit at the table" refers to women taking what is theirs and believing that they have what it takes to move up in the company, because "no one gets to the corner office by sitting on the sidelines." She points out that, according to statistics, women systematically underestimate their abilities while men tend to overestimate theirs. She thinks that if women become more confident in themselves, there will eventually be more of them at the top. Referring to "make your partner a real partner," she states that in order for it to become easier and more acceptable for women to rise to the "C level" jobs, it will have to become more acceptable for men to become "stay-at-home dads" as well. Working mothers currently spend significantly more time doing household chores and rearing their children than their male partners do, and a more 50/50 arrangement between couples would help keep women in the workforce. Finally, she talks about "not leaving before you leave," which refers to not leaving "the game" mentally before you actually need to leave for a child. This means that women who may be planning to get married or have a child at some point in the future should not pass up opportunities in anticipation of these life changes, but should "lean in" instead. By "leaning in," a woman can seize valuable career opportunities that will raise her income and make her job more challenging, which will in turn make it more likely that she will return to the workforce afterward.

After her book was released, I noticed a barrage of opinion articles by women with negative reactions to Sandberg's message, mostly on the grounds that it is "irrelevant" to the majority of women. Many decry the fact that she is a millionaire who can obviously afford to pay for childcare, unlike many women in the workforce. Others say she isn't relatable because she assumes most women have a "partner" to make into a "real partner," which many women don't. Still others have said that she is warping the feminist cause by shifting the blame for low numbers of women at top levels to women themselves instead of society. Some have compared her book to "The Feminine Mystique" in the sense that it only relates to a small, affluent part of the population.

For all the scorn she has received from opinion columns on Fox News, Forbes, and others, I believe there are certain axioms from her speech and book that transcend race, income level, and marital status. To dismiss her point of view as unique to only her life situation is truly a shame. When a male business mogul writes a book about how to become successful, it is hardly thinkable that men would discard his ideas simply because they are not relevant to every single type of man. Sheryl openly admits that her advice is not suitable for everyone and that the workforce isn't the right place for every woman, but she has many suggestions for those who choose to stay. I take issue with the fact that people say she blames women for their own misfortunes. Her aim is to empower us in our professional lives by asking us to own our strengths and successes more forcefully. She relies heavily on data in her speeches so she can highlight the fact that that gender bias still exists in our society but that there are ways women may better equip themselves to overcome it. Sandberg believes that having more women in charge would make the world a more equal place and would very much like to see this happen through a change in attitudes toward gender roles.

As I listened to the TED talk and skimmed her book, I could not help but think about the Global Women's Leadership Network's mission. Utilizing Sandberg's ideas could build women up and cause our Network could expand greatly. What are your thoughts on Lean In's message? Would you apply it in your own credit union or cooperative? If so, how?

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

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

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

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

Making Cracks in the Glass Ceiling

The term glass ceiling was coined in the 1980s to illustrate women’s struggle to be seen as equals in senior executive positions. While that metaphor holds true today, fissures are appearing where they hadn’t been before. I’m confident that will continue as women climb the corporate ladder and expand their numbers in the marketplace. A 2007 study in the Journal of Organizational Structure, Communications and Conflict found that it certainly exists. The survey was conducted in 2003 and found three women sitting in the corner offices at Fortune 100 companies. This was up proportionally from just two in the Fortune 500 in 1996. Women comprise more than half of the population yet we occupy a meager 3% of the top spots and the most successful companies. Similarly, non-CEO female executives at the Fortune 100 accounted for 5.8% of executives in 2003, up from 2.6% of female officers at the Fortune 500 companies in 1997.However, an area where women (and the men, generally, who hire them) have made remarkable strides is compensation. Several studies have found, particularly at the upper echelons of the pay scale, the differences are nonexistent when it comes to compensation packages. For 2001-2003, according to the Journal article, female non-CEO execs earned a bit more in the median than their male counterparts with the mean reversing slightly. With a sample size of only three female CEOs, a statistical conclusion could not be reached for that set.The study concluded that the glass ceiling is certainly not shattered but a dramatic shift will occur over the next several years as women earn college degrees at twice the rate of men, and because the economy is no longer manufacturing based, which favored men.The glass ceiling is certainly still there but the more of us who chisel away at it the more quickly it will shatter completely. Or should I use a more appropriately feminine term than shatter? No, we need to annihilate it. Obliterate it!To be fair, until recent history, women have made other choices in life that conflicted with or interrupted their careers, such as education level, stereotypical gender roles and family. Even as you look up the corporate ladder, you’ll see most women are in stereotypical female roles, such as HR or marketing. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those jobs; they’re great! But they tend not to lead to CEO positions, and that’s fine too. Do what you love and you’ll get what you define as your top spot every time.

If a big office is what you crave, it’s nice to know that with confident negotiation your contributions could be valued every bit as much as a man’s.

Sarah Snell Cook, Editor & Chief, Credit Union Times 

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, Events, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Financial/Risk Management, Growing CU Market Share, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations, Marketing, Member Service, Networking, Member Discussions, Program Updates, Regulatory Issues, Technology

Credit Unions' Access to Mobile Technology

Dear ladies,

 

Today, we all know that efficient telecommunications, even more mobile phones, are an absolute must to carry out our businesses. But did you know that women throughout the world have an unequal access to mobile phones?

In a very informative article, Cammie Erickson, from the non-profit organization “Business of a Better World” (BSR), talks about a “significant gender gap”. Using data from the “GSMA mWomen Programme” (attached as a PDF document in the article), she points out four policy recommendations to address this gap. More than providing better access, what Cammie Erickson considers as crucial is improving women’s literacy in technology. A few innovations and partnerships already exist to empower women through mobile technology.

 

To read the article, please click on:

https://www.bsr.org/en/our-insights/blog-view/empowering-women-through-mobile-technology#.T1KRwuP-4Kc.email

 

What about you? Do you and/or your members have good access to this kind of technology? 

 

And if you’d like to have further details about the role and value of Mobile Technology in our Credit Union world, please read WOCCU’s President & CEO, Brian Branch’s post in CUInsight:

http://www.cuinsight.com/media/community/what_is_mobile_technologyandrsquos_worth_to_credit_unions.html

 

-Global Women’s Leadership Network

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Internal Operations, Member Service, Technology

Working from Home: The Future of Credit Unions?

Ladies,

We would love to know about the leadership methods you apply to your credit unions!

Attached is a great article written by Tony Schwartz, President & CEO of The Energy Project, dealing with management, productivity and work life balance.

http://blogs.hbr.org/schwartz/2012/02/my-manager-expects-me-to.html?ut

In this article he gives a very interesting perspective of employees’ work management that he used for his company: working at home! Inspired by Best Buy’s corporate employees "Results Only Work Environment" program, he introduces a management technique based no longer on the number of hours an employee make but rather on giving them more freedom in their schedule while requiring them to produce more results.

What do you think about this article? What challenges and accomplishments might you expect from implementing this system in your CU?

Let us know!

-Global Women’s Leadership Network

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Internal Operations

Congresswoman Jackie Speier to join us at the upcoming GAC breakfast

We are excited that Congresswoman Jackie Speier (representing California’s 12th congressional district) has agreed to speak at the Global Women’s Leadership Network breakfast at the GAC on March 1st. She has a strong record on consumer finance issues; she was an early supporter of the independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and she is an advocate for credit unions. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards / Volunteers, Internal Operations
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