Gloria Feldt on Power Tool #4: Embracing Controversy

Take The Lead Co-founder and President Gloria Feldt tells WorkLife HUB how embracing controversy — instead of avoiding it— presents opportunities to enhance discussion in the workplace. With the help of  Power Tool #4, you can steer the conversation to collaboration, a key component in leadership. Feldt creates dynamic Take The Lead workshops including  9 Leadership Power Tools To Advance Your Career. Listen to the entire podcast below. It has been an absolute privilege talking to Gloria Feldt, a New York Times best-selling author, speaker, commentator, and feminist leader who has gained national recognition as a social and political advocate of women’s rights.We explore with Gloria her 2012 book, ”No Excuses: Nine Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power,” which offers 9 Power Tools in bite-sized takeaways women can use at work, at home or in their civic and political life. Gloria also gives us an insight into Take the Lead, the non-profit she co-founded and presides over, which has an incredibly ambitious objective to achieve leadership parity in all sectors by 2025. Take the Lead aims at changing the way women think about power and equips them with tools to propel them to the top echelons of leadership in the private,  public and not for profit sectors as well.Despite the fact that 57 percent of University graduates are women, they are really thinning out at the top. Only 4,6 percent of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women, and only 14.2 percent of top leadership positions are held by women. We at the WorkLife HUB are particularly invested in exploring the barriers to advancing women in leadership, and speaking to Gloria definitely opened new lines of thinking.I ask Gloria teasingly, whether women can have it all? Her response? In her typical frank and straightforward style her reply was:“Having it all is the silliest expression in the English language. Nobody can have it all. Everybody has it some.” How can we collectively build on the current momentum advancing towards gender equality? There are two parts to the equation: firstly we need to change the laws and make policies to allow for women to move into leadership positions, and secondly by challenging the ingrained culture. Even today, both women and men have still have in their minds an archetype of a leader that is male. We need to challenge our collective narrative around success, authority and leadership, and use the media and any opportunity that arises to form a new picture, in which also women take their share of responsibility and power. We have all the research evidence that shows this makes absolute business and societal sense. The right thing to do meets the profitable thing to do.Companies that offer flexible working hours, leave and return policies, opportunities for work-life balance are able to attract and retain talent, they have a much broader talent-pool to chose from too. By offering greater flexibility, companies can have a more loyal and satisfied workforce, the cost of recruiting people and retraining them is very high, and this cost can be avoided.One last gem of wisdom to finish our conversation? [bctt tweet=“Women are not the question, but the answer to the question.”]Stay tuned for more content that will help us all achieve leadership parity by #25not95. Have something to say? Send in your posts to