FountainBlue’s July 10 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership event was on the topic of Women’s Leadership Styles: What’s Right for You? and featured:
• Facilitator Rosemarie Carbone, Serial VP of HR
• Panelist Nora Calvillo, Senior Product Manager, Adobe
• Panelist Michaela Guiney, Product Engineering Director, Cadence
• Panelist Nancy Long, Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources, Hitachi Data Systems
• Panelist Marleen McDaniel, Serial Entrepreneur and Business Adviser
Below are notes from the conversation.
The panelists concurred that men and women are definitely different in their outlook, and the way they lead and manage and communicate. Accepting that there ARE these differences, and working with these differences will help women to better lead and succeed, particularly in workplaces dominated by men. Understanding the cultural tolerance for factors such as use of profanity (whether it is religious, sexual or excremental) and being constantly aware of both the audience (gender, age, geography, etc.) and the objectives will help leaders of either gender better communicate clearly and lead effectively, driving results. In addition, embracing more typically female communication and collaboration skills will benefit leaders of either gender.
Our panelists advised women to focus on the business objectives, backed up by information and facts, while also considering each audience and their individual perspectives. They also encouraged women to do more of the things that men do to make them successful: from leveraging contacts more proactively to asking for what they want, to promoting themselves more objectively and strategically and ensuring that there is a support base of advocates with influence who can help them succeed.
With that said, the panelists encouraged us to identify and leverage our own strengths. Interestingly, they agreed that making mistakes and trying things that don’t feel right are both very important lessons needed to help people reach their gender-independent ‘true north’ position leadership styles that are in alignment with values, beliefs and abilities. With this type of confidence and leadership, one can serve as a role model for teams and organizations, while also helping determine whether the current environment is in alignment with one’s personal style.
In conclusion, the panelists are advocating for a balance of being tough, especially when necessary, but also being supportive, collaborative and compassionate, while focusing on business objectives. Taking responsibility for actions, parking your ego while focusing on facts, and transparently and clearly communicating progress are all factors that build trust within teams and organizations, and help drive results for the organization. Getting feedback and support from mentors, team and others will help leaders focus on self-improvement qualities which would benefit all. Lastly, as you climb up that corporate ladder, take the time to connect with and support others along the way.
• She Wins, You Win: The Most Important Rule Every Businesswoman Needs to Know by Gail Evans. Gail Evans is a journalist and was the first female executive vice-president of CNN. She became a best-selling author with her first book, “Play Like a Man Win Like a Woman: What Men Know About Success That Women Need to Learn” http://www.amazon.com/She-Wins-You-Win-Businesswoman/dp/1592400256
• Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Career by Dr. Lois P. Frankel. She is the president of Corporate Coaching International as well as the author of numerous articles and several books. With over twenty years of experience in human resources development, she is a frequently invited guest on talk radio, television, conferences, corporate workshops, and retreats. http://www.amazon.com/Nice-Girls-Dont-Corner-Office/dp/0446531324
• Coaching Yourself to Leadership: Five Key Strategies for Becoming an Integrated Leader by Ginny O’Brien. Ginny is an executive and corporate coach, specializing in leadership development and women’s advancement. http://www.amazon.com/Coaching-Yourself-Leadership-Ginny-OBrien/dp/0874258693