What Keeps High-Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions VIII: Conclusions
• Influence versus Strength. How do you utilize your strength at work? How do you use influence? Are there times when your strength serves you? Are there times when your strength has caused problems? What would you do if you were considered a “woman of influence?”
The conversations I had with my client around these distinctions were rich. They bent the frames that contained how she saw herself in relation to her work and her role as a leader. The integration worked well because she was able to try out new behaviors immediately after our mental explorations. Once she had an insight, she acted on the reflection, helping to ensure that new connections were wired into her brain. According to LeDoux, this is the learning process. Insight must be paired with action to get transformation.
B. Real-time practice
In addition to coaches, it is good practice for the women to find a community of peers going through a similar growth process. Empathetic, encouraging friends committed to growth can help each other stay on course even when layoffs loom, employees whine, the kids at home scream, health issues nag and projects are cancelled. The women should find other women committed to becoming great leaders in their own or other non-competing companies to create a safe “community of practice” where they come together regularly to help each other learn and grow. High-achieving women face a unique challenge in attempting to master the role of leader; coming together with like minds will keep them from feeling isolated as they navigate this journey.
My client had peers she could call on for this support. I also suggested she look to expand her community with women from her professional associations in case there would be times she didn’t feel safe talking about issues with her in-house peers.