What Keeps High-Achieving Women From Choosing Executive Positions. VI. Results: Themes One – Three
It is important to note that although the women felt entitled to receive recognition and to be given new challenges (which may mean being given a promotion if that is how they could gain new responsibilities and learning opportunities), they knew they had to work hard in return. They felt they deserved attention and rewards. Yet they deserve this because they work harder than everyone else, get great results and are willing to learn from their mistakes. However, this often makes them sensitive to criticism, susceptible to impulsiveness and burnout. They tend to talk more than listen, are too obstinate and blunt when they disagree, and sometimes overpower people with their passion.
These women will accomplish great feats in order to prove their capability. In particular, they love to show that they can do something that someone else said they couldn’t. Generally, they aren’t trying to prove that they can do something difficult in spite of being a woman; being a woman factors very little into their reasons for proving their worth. Mostly, they take great pleasure in proving that people underestimated their ability and their ultimate value to the team and the organization.
Sample interview responses:
(KP) “I need to feel respected and acknowledged. I do what it takes to get that.”
(MR) “I’ve already proved them all wrong; I’m living the success they said I would never achieve. Yet there is still something missing. I can still do more. Being a garden-variety success is not good enough.”
(AW) “I did a case for my boss. I showed it to him and he loved it. Then I had to take it to committee. The committee was 12 men. One man did nothing but add up your figures to see if they were right, another man checked your grammar…I mean they really had no overall capability, but they sat in judgment of me. Well my very first case failed. They said, ‘You really did a lot of good work here, but you’ll need to redo it.’ I was mortified. But I did it and within that year I became someone who taught other people how to write cases. I never had another case turned down.”