Women executives stand out from their male counterpart in the work place; their mistakes are easily noticed and they are often held to a higher performance standard, whether we want to admit that or not.
With the historical experience of the "glass ceiling", women executives have to consistently out-perform expectations put upon them and they work harder to prove themselves. This often results in women having to give 150% effort just to “hold her own in the male dominated workplace”.
Women are often overly concerned with perfectionism. They bury themselves in work and lose connection with others. With the combined work and home responsibilities competing for their time, energy and resources, many mothers chose to neglect important area of their lives such as friends, hobbies, enriching activities, their passion and even their own health and wellness in favor of work-related goals.
There is little time for socializing, networking and they are exhausted, stressed and burnout when they return home to take on another role to care for the family. In the light of this, how do executive mothers find the right balance between work and caring for the children? And what would it be like for the single mothers?
Many women executives often live compartmentalized, incongruent lives, adopting a set of man’s rules and values at work and another set at homes where they put on their feminine, womanly, motherly instincts and values when they care for the family. This results in an inconsistency and in-authenticity in personality that wages war within.v I like to think that women can live congruent, integrated lives where their leadership styles and personalities at work and at home can be in alignment. By that I mean that they can be authentic and yet be effective in the corporate world leveraging on their feminine qualities.
I believe that we are holistic beings and our work selves and our real selves, our professional and personal lives are not separate entities. Congruence is necessary for effective work and that congruence can be achieved when people are able to be themselves and not operate through a personal façade.
Success is better ensured when there is alignment and balance between personal lives and one’s role in the organization’s environment. The first piece of good news I have for all executive working mothers is this: women leadership style is gaining acceptance.
Emerging evidences show that woman leadership is effective, gaining results, acceptance and success. Studies show that corporates with larger percentages of women on the executive leadership team gain return 35% higher than those with fewer women in the leadership (Coughlin, Wingard, & Hollihan, 2005).
The old style of leadership which is more aggressive, autocratic, top down, directional and closed is giving way to a new generation of women who “bring to business the influence mode of leadership which is more consensus-building, caring, open and inclusive”.
Women make intuition decisions and are very comfortable with having to persuade, encourage and motivate. Grzelakowski, in her book “Mother Leads Best: 50 Women Who Are Changing the Way Organizations Define Leadership” goes so far as to say that “motherhood prepares women for top positions”.
This is a very interesting book that I would encourage you to read. I am of the view that woman can shape corporate leadership with their own unique feminine qualities and instincts. I invite all you working mothers to release yourselves from the need to conform to the male leadership style and live in alignment with who you are at work and at home.
Mothers, you can bring your wonderful “feminine principles” and leadership to work and excel personally and professionally!