14 Tips For Effective Women Leaders: You Pick What Works
Perhaps file this first piece under “Unhelpful Advice,” along with the tidbits from your great aunt who tells you that you’re much prettier when you don’t speak. Because that surely does not help women leaders.In a Geekwire roundup of the recent Connect 2016 conference for Women Who Code, Bernee Strom, former founding CEO of Priceline and now chairman and CEO of WebTuner Corp. suggests it helps your career to bear the scent of a woman. Apparently no one would recognize you without it.“One of my tricks was I always put on perfume before important meetings just so they’d know I’m a woman,” Strom reportedly said. But later she redeemed her suggestions: “I’m looking forward to the day when people don’t say ‘woman CEO’ or ‘woman coder’ — just ‘CEO’ would be fine.”OK, we get the other networking, forgiveness and diversity advice culled from the conference, and are even OK with not apologizing for going to the gym. But perfume as a career tool? I am not sure who smells her way to the top. That makes no scents for most women leaders.In even more disconcerting news, a recent study from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and Copenhagen School of Business shows that to become successful as a CEO, candidates need four traits including ability, efficiency, charisma and strategic thinking.All of that is great advice, unless you’re a woman, then none of it matters.Fortune reported that in the 10-year study of 2,600 candidates for CEO-level positions, the candidates overwhelmingly possessed those four traits and were successful. If they were male.Valentina Zarya writes: “In the study, when male and female candidates scored about the same on all four factors, women were 28 percent less likely to become CEOs. In other words, even when a woman fit the CEO profile, she was less likely to get the job. ‘It could be discrimination, but it could also be that women are not choosing to go after those jobs,’ says Steven Kaplan, University of Chicago professor and co-author of the study. ‘It’s a result that we’re not happy to see, but it’s in the data and certainly worth further study.’”We are filing this under Confusing and Contradictory, as the advice is that for women leaders to succeed, you need to be humble. We’ve heard for years from a gazillion sources that it’s crucial to have confidence and stand in your own power. But Teressa Moore Griffin, founder and CEO of Spirit of Purpose, writes in Working Mother that humility goes a longer way.“Humility at the top is a proven way to achieve greater collaboration and feelings of inclusion among today’s increasingly diverse workforce.” Griffin adds, “As today’s leaders look for ways to better manage a more diverse workforce with a growing number of millennials, finding ways to become genuinely humble may require a re-calibration of their leadership compass.”And here comes another piece of advice that counters what women leaders have all been told. Performance is important, but relationships may be moreso.[bctt tweet=” Be good at what you do and of course be competent, but be friendly most of all.”]Carla Harris, vice chairman for global wealth management at Morgan Stanley recently told Business Insider: ”What I’ve found is that women tend to keep gravitating towards the performance currency, and what happens is, as you get more senior, the relationship currency is the more important currency.”Susan Lyne, president of BBG Ventures, may know this lesson too well. In 2004, she was fired as president of ABC Entertainment. Speaking at a recent panel in New York, Fortune magazine reports: “She also shared one other takeaway with the audience: If she had paid more attention to office politics, she believes she could have saved her job. ‘I was very much a girl about it,” Lyne says. ‘I wanted to stay above the fray and it was a mistake.’And if all this advice is not enough food for thought and perhaps discomfort, Womens Enews reports that a new study connects the gender pay gap with social anxiety.Mallory Locklear writes: “Joanne Davila, a clinical psychologist and professor at Stony Brook University in New York, says social anxiety disorder can take a toll on career prospects. ‘People who are socially anxious are afraid that others are going to evaluate them in a negative, harsh, critical manner,’ Davila says. ‘And consequently they get anxious, worried, and nervous in situations where that can happen.“Just to make sure this is not just a concern for women leaders in this country, Xiaowei Rose Luo, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise at INSEAD writes in Knowledge: “Of course there are additional factors that keep women out of senior leadership roles, including organizations and their male leaders failing to buy into the business case for Integrated Leadership (gender balanced teams) and men’s lack of awareness about the significant role women play.”But there is other odd advice that might or might not make sense: fibbing. This is not to say that you claim you invented Post-It’s like Romy and Michelle. But Teresa Ghilarducci, labor economist, author and professor of economics at The New School for Social Research and the Director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis and The New School’s Retirement Equity Lab, says an older woman looking for new work may have to finesse her resume a bit.Ghilarducci writes in PBS News Hour: “Research indicates that a white lie of omission might be necessary. If you are college-educated and had to take a low-level job while you were looking for a professional one, you might want to leave it off your resume. Research suggests that older, college-educated women who took a low-level job while they were searching for a professional position received fewer callbacks than those who didn’t have low-level positions on their resumes.”And in negotiating for a new position, remember that you are at a disadvantage as one of a few women leaders in your field, so you need to maneuver the territory with additional research and negotiating skills, writes Sharon Epperson in Nightly Business Report.She writes: “’The same kinds of behavior that work for most men, don’t necessarily work for most women. There’s an expectation that women won’t negotiate for themselves,’ said Carol Frohlinger, president of Negotiating Women Inc., a New York-based advisory firm focused on advancing women in the workplace. Do consider compensation beyond pay. You may want a higher salary, but also think about what would make your work-life better – perhaps, you’d rather telecommute a day or two a week or have more vacation days.”One of the best roundups we have read lately comes from Daily Worth outlining bad behavior in the workplace—by a bad boss or coworkers—and how that may affect you, your career and your mood as women leaders. New research from the University of Southern California shows that incivility at work is bad for you and bad for business.Erinn Bucklan writes: “When outsiders notice uncivil behavior in your workplace, they can form ‘negative generalizations’ about your company, say the USC researchers. The result? Clients and customers may try to avoid working with the company altogether. This could be devastating if you work on commission, or the fact that you worked for a company with a bad reputation might not bode well for future job hunts.”She adds, “One way to rebuild relationships with clients and customers you may be losing: Make it a priority to have more one-on-one face time with them, says a study of strategies that protect corporate reputations. This will help them get to know you personally and build trust — which will hopefully make them less likely to associate you and the company as a whole with the bad impression your boss may be giving them.”Like all advice, you may choose to take any or all of it with a grain of salt. Or a spray of cologne.