Today’s workplace culture provides ample opportunity.  What is important to understand is that it still isn’t “Gender Intelligent”; rather, it was designed around the unique strengths of men.  Gender Intelligence is the process of gaining an awareness and achieving an understanding of the differences between men and women.

Despite the increasing number of women entering the workforce, with their confidence and ambition to contribute to changing the world, we have yet to see the equal representation of women beyond the senior management level.  The glass ceiling still remains, with blind spots and challenges that women need to be prepared to navigate in order to succeed.  Until those challenges are removed — until we can find a Gender Intelligent culture in the senior levels of corporations — it is essential for women to learn these solutions.

Ways to tap into your authentic style of leadership

Don’t fall prey to viewing yourself as a victim of the system.  That automatically puts you in a one-down position and can keep you there throughout your career.

▣ Don’t play the blame game. While men are often unaware of how their actions can cause women to feel excluded and dismissed, learn to navigate through this environment, understanding that there’s no gain for you in blaming others for what they don’t recognize. 

▣ Become more skilled at recognizing the unwritten rules and proactively navigate the system.  Network for position as men do. Enlist the support of a male colleague and friend to understand better the thought processes that underlie the male model and how to best navigate the politics and power plays.

▣ Recognize that there are blind spots embedded throughout the recruiting and interviewing process.  Speaking to the details of your experiences and the team effort and not your contribution can be interpreted as a sign of uncertainty and self-doubt.  Speak to your potential, your strategic value, and your leadership abilities.

How women at the top lead

▣ They show self-confidence and are self-assured in their thoughts and abilities; they’re focused on achieving the goals of their organization.

▣ They’re more proactive and self-initiating in building strategic networks, more assertive in promoting themselves and their capabilities, and act from a position of strength and self-worth when negotiating for higher compensation and better positions.

▣ They’re very aware that they’re working with a male-oriented business model that will often be at odds with their leadership style and approach to business issues.  Yet, they know that barriers are often unintentional and unseen.  Knowing this helps them work within the system and frame their conversations and presentations to be better understood by their boards, bosses, colleagues, and direct reports.