One of the greatest disappointments I had in my corporate career was watching what happened when a woman was put in a high enough position that she might have an influence on the corporate culture.
The first time I was naive and idealistic. The second time, encouraged but ultimately disheartened. I'd like to tell you about the third and fourth but in twenty-five years there wasn't any third or fourth.
Each time it was the same thing. I would be optimistic that the glass gate surrounding the boys' club would be cracked. Women would be given a voice that would be listened to, not simply a seat at the table.
But it never happened. Instead, the newly minted executives didn't lead as women. They led as men. They didn't bring their inherent attributes to the table, their sense of perspective and intuition and attunement. They didn't mentor and support other women. They dug their heels in deep into the patriarchal model they had inherited. They didn't change the corporate politics. They played the existing game.
My experience was not unique.
I've heard it again and again and unfortunately I still hear it today. Women telling me the woman they report to does nothing to change things and everything to maintain the status quo. Many will say they find them less reasonable and supportive than any man they ever worked for.
It saddens me but I understand why.
No one taught them how to lead as women. They were taught to lead as men - by men.
They didn't know any differently. Plus those positions of power they had arrived at were tenuous. One wrong move and out they go. So instead of really trying to make a difference, they led so as not to upset the apple cart.
The good news is things are changing. There is something very different in the air today than there was five years ago when I signed those corporate divorce papers.
It seems as if everywhere I turn I meet women who are committed to changing the paradigm and to supporting each other. One of them is Gloria Feldt.
I met Gloria just a few months out of the corporate world at one of the first 85Broads events I ever attended. Gloria has done a lot of amazing things since then. The most recent is co-founding Take The Lead Women, an organization dedicated to preparing, developing, inspiring and propelling women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025.
One of the things Take The Lead does is teach women leadership skills and how to access their power so that they can drive the change needed in the workplace. These types of organizations and resources did not exist before. The good news is - they do today.
Interested in learning how to take the lead?
You can sign up for the next Take The Lead webinar right here. Use the code ttlead2 and you'll get a 20% discount.
note: This is Day #9 of a 30 Day Experiment. Here are the details on how it all started.