An Abundance of News

Why is it that just ahead of Black History Month so much news comes out about women in general?

Gender Dynamics

At Davos, Sheryl Sandberg spoke out about the impact of gender dynamics on women's advancement.
"She blasted managers who unconsciously reflect stereotypes when they judge women's performance, saying: 'She's great at her job but she's just not as well liked by her peers,' or: 'She's a bit aggressive.'
"They say this with no understanding that this is the penalty women face because of gender stereotypes,' she said."
This is an issue we've been tracking for decades - and working with a few progressive organizations that are addressing it head on. You can view info about our related service line here:

On a side note, the language used to describe Sheryl is disturbing. She's said to have "launched a fierce attack" and, as you read, "blasted managers." I'd suggest there was a bit of stereotyping going on by the authors/editor!

2012 Gender Gap Report

Every year I wait for the WEF Gender Gap Report - especially since the research points out a strong correlation between gender equity and economic prosperity.  Take a look at the video and download the entire report.

More from Davos, this EXCELLENT article capitalizing on the correlation between gender equity and economic prosperity.
"The rewards are becoming demonstrable. Significant research from the World Bank to the public and private sectors has shown how investments in women yield a “double dividend”: women are more likely than men to invest their incomes in their families and communities, driving GDP up and illiteracy and mortality rates down. This double benefit, combined with pure market forces, now presents Wall Street and women with a unique and mutually beneficial opportunity."

33% Still Missing

Good news from an Apollo Group study that finds that women are well poised to lead into the 21st century. Why? Because...
  • "Women top the charts in key skills.
    • Women outperform men on key leadership competencies, such as communicating, coaching, organizing people, thinking creatively and solving problems.
    • Women also score higher than men on traits that are essential in today’s collaborative work environments, such as empathy, transparency and inclusiveness."
Undoubtedly, if you're a Leading Women follower, you'll notice that all the mentioned strengths have to do with personal greatness (problem solving, empathy, transparency) or engaging others (communicating, coaching, inclusiveness). And while they're important...yawn! Similar findings have been true for decades.

Referencing our definition of leadership (Leadership is using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness in others.), what's still missing is the 33% of leadership that has to do with "achieving and sustaining extraordinary outcomes." There's nary a finding that bosses think women outperform men in business, strategic or financial acumen.

A Bit of the 33%

It's not much, but it's a start (and it can be taken as meaning that women focus on the job, not the outcomes). Nevertheless, we celebrate these findings (emphasis added). Recent research reported by HBR found:
" all levels, women are rated higher in fully 12 of the 16 competencies that go into outstanding leadership. And two of the traits where women outscored men to the highest degree, were taking initiative and driving for results – two traits which have long been thought of as particularly male strengths.
When global management consulting firm McKinsey asked business executives around the world what they believe were the most important leadership attributes today, the top four results were intellectual stimulation, inspiration, participatory decision-making and setting expectations/rewards — all attributes more commonly found in women leaders."
Reported here.

A Dose of Irony

Why in the 21st century does an organization retain the name "manpower?" And isn't this the height of irony:
“The world simply cannot afford such a poor representation of half the talent pool when filling key leadership positions is posing such a global challenge. Growing the pipeline of women in management roles is critical to having the talent businesses need to win,” said Mara Swan, ManpowerGroup Executive Vice President, Global Strategy and Talent. “Companies should revisit old-fashioned work models and people practices so that high-performing women are not prevented from rising to leadership positions.”
Who's old fashioned? Reported here.

Black Women in History

And during this month we join in celebration of all the African American and black women who have moved America forward. Meet some here.

Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono, CEO and Founder Leading Women
Author of No Ceiling, No Walls and Make the Most of Mentoring. Underway is her new book, Network! What corporate women need to know about strategic relationships and success
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