Diversity of Thought Blog

We all need to lend a hand if men and women are to succeed in leadership roles: one woman’s view

As a forty something, married, but no children, I ponder with a great deal of interest about how the role of women in the workforce has changed over my professional life and sadly, it is not as much as some elements of the media may us believe.

Recently I returned to study and this has of course lead to my looking more deeply into this issue as I set about embarking on the next stage of my career.

In my thirst for knowledge (or should I say an ‘ah ha’ moment) I came across some research published on the Harvard Business Review website by two Melbourne researchers Athena Vongalis-Macrow and Andrea Gallant at Deakin University in Melbourne.

This project appealed as it looked not at the situation not from the view of the leader, but from the people whom them was leading delivering that much hoped-for ah-ha moment.

“Gender plays no role. Instead, it’s the style of leadership and the actions leaders take that help women move up in their organization.” http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/02/what-women-want-in-their-leade/

Having been led by both men and women of widely varying levels of leadership ability this really was confirmation of my own experience and attitudes – good and bad leaders come in all shapes, sizes and sexes.

Where the catch 22 occurs though is ‘how can future female leaders gain exposure to leaders of both genders that direct, guide and enable us as we climb the ladder if overwhelming still most senior positions are filled by the male of the species’?

Next month, the 100% Project will be holding a Symposium to tackle this very conundrum. Facilitated by world renowned expert Marty Linsky this one day event will help leaders create solutions that will discard entrenched ways, go beyond the current know how and learn new practices to increase the representation of women in leadership roles.

We all have to work together if women are to attain the leadership roles to which they aspire and this event will be an ideal opportunity to plan the path forward.