What Keeps High-Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions VIII: Conclusions
In addition to active reflection, the women can work on creating a vision of “who” they want to be as a leader. These women tend to focus on actions and results. Engaging them in a conversation about who they are as a person driven by pride, hope, appreciation, a sense of purpose, mastery, passion and compassion promotes the development and unification of the self. They may not change their core values, but the expression of these values will shift as they redefine who they are in different situations. For example, what they most enjoyed about being an individual performer may get in the way of them being an effective leader. They may need to temper their passion as they listen more with compassion and shift the source of their pride from their own achievement to how they get work done through others.
A good place for a high-achieving woman to start the process is to work with distinctions. Instead of trying to define an abstract concept, exploring how the concept relates to a possibly more desirable concept can be more revealing. For example, some distinctions that I discussed with my client were:
• Exploring versus Reacting. When someone says or does something you do not approve of or agree with, what would exploring with them look like instead of reacting? What does exploring feel like? Is there a difference between probing and exploring? How can you make exploring a natural and comfortable process for yourself and your direct reports?
• Power versus Force. How does a leader use force to get things done? How would a leader use their personal power instead? If someone powerfully gets things done, how does this differ from forcefully getting things done? Is the payoff for using force ever justifiable? What would it take for you to be seen as powerful instead of forceful? If you view power as negative, how can you shift your view of power to be positive?