What Keeps High Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions

What Keeps High Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions

Ruderman and Ohlott (2002) found that many high-achieving women often feel confusion and distress as they wonder how to blend a significant career with their other needs, which are more than just family-based. Women have a strong social drive that goes beyond the corporate walls and high-achieving women have strong needs for feeling valued and significant while doing meaningful work. “As women strengthen their foothold in the executive world, their issues are shifting from gaining access to the boardroom to gaining comfort in the personal life choices associated with a managerial career.” (p. 2)

What drives women out of corporations is often associated with career-family trade-offs, but also include the high value placed on friendships, community involvement, leisure or avocation activities, commitments to a healthy life-style and religious attachments. (Levinson & Levinson, 1996) Research that focuses on these factors relies heavily on phase theories, proposing age-linked “road maps” of a woman’s typical life cycle. (Gallos, 1989)

However, it also appears that high-achieving women are making choices based on personal preferences, such as what will increase their satisfaction, self-esteem, contribution, autonomy, value and a sense of purpose. These women want to feel significant and they want to be recognized for the value they give. (Hewlett, et al., 2005)


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About the Author

Marcia Reynolds

Marcia ReynoldsIn addition to coaching leaders in global companies, Dr. Marcia Reynolds travels the world speaking and teaching classes in advanced coaching skills, leadership and emotional intelligence. She is the author of 3 books and has been quoted in major online and print publications in the US and Europe.

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