New research reveals women are primed for the C-suite; is the corporate
TORONTO, April 28, 2014 /CNW/ - There is a new and positive mindset
among executive women in business today and in their approach to their
careers. Heavily steeped in authenticity and self-confidence, these
unprecedented attitudes and convictions in their leadership style and
capabilities are paving the way for a renewed look at the constitution
of the C-suite. This has also convinced a leading expert on gender
intelligence to make a historic call for a move towards co-gender
leadership. But is the corporate world ready?
Conducted in partnership between Women of Influence Inc. and Thomson
Reuters, the world's leading source of intelligent information for
businesses and professionals, the in-depth survey, Women Leaders Breaking Through in Their Careers, examines how senior executive women from across North America define
their leadership skills and maturity, their level of satisfaction in
their careers, the challenges they experience in their careers and the
actions they are taking to progress. Ultimately, the aim of the
research is to accelerate the advancement of women by exposing
potential remedies and establishing a course of action.
"We've been conducting Gender Intelligence surveys for over 27 years and
never before have we witnessed such assurance among executive women,"
said Barbara Annis, gender intelligence expert and founder and CEO,
Barbara Annis & Associates. "What we are seeing today demonstrates why
we need to re-think our outdated views on C-suite leadership and
consider the benefits of moving towards a platform that would alter the
future of business by combining the talent and skills innate to both
genders; that being the appointment of co-gender leaders."
Executive women are more confident than ever, out-rank men in critical
In today's corporate world, little to no consideration is given to how
to use the inherent qualities and skillsets of both genders in a
complementary manner. In many areas, women's leadership skills actually
rank higher than men's. For instance, research has shown that women
executives outshine their male counterparts when it comes to building
solid relationships and fostering a collaborative work environment.
Add to that a new sense of authenticity to leadership, where women say
they no longer feel they need to act like men to succeed (84 per cent),
and the results are women who are poised to take on leadership at the
C-suite. In fact, 84 per cent of women surveyed in senior executive
roles scored high in self-confidence, having high self-respect, and
confidently expressing what they think and feel, a positive feat
considering they continue to have to steer through the unwritten rules
of a culture that favours the "old boys club."
"With their ambition and proven passion for their work, it's inevitable
that the presence of women in the C-suite will increase over the next
five to ten years," said Patsy Doerr, Global Head of Diversity &
Inclusion and Corporate Responsibility at Thomson Reuters. "Companies
that foster a culture of inclusion and invite diversity of thinking
will, ultimately, reap the benefits, have a competitive advantage and
will be best prepared for the future of business."
Thomson Reuters is an example of an organization that understands this
equation and is deeply committed to promoting a culture of diversity.
Its business success depends largely on the talents of its people, and
fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace is a competitive advantage
that helps Thomson Reuters drive innovation and bolsters the company's
reputation as an employer of choice.
When it comes to networking and self-promotion, men are still doing it
Despite the progression, there are certain skills from men that women
can adopt to help them secure that corner office - particularly as it
pertains to the art of networking and advocating for oneself. Women,
for instance, are known for making connections in a way that men don't,
with the goal of establishing long-lasting relationships. Whereas men
network with the mindset, "who can help me get what I want." A significant block for women seeking advancement is that they often forget this essential
part of networking.
Of the five themes examined in the survey - career advancement,
self-initiation, leadership maturity, big picture, and leadership
responsibility - women executives scored their ability to advance their
careers the lowest (74 per cent). According to those surveyed, the
greatest challenge lies in finding new opportunities to navigate the
system (77 per cent) and effectively negotiating the chain of command
(80 per cent).
Three in 10 senior executive women also scored themselves low in the
areas of self-initiation while three-quarters of those surveyed claimed
poor negotiation skills. A major challenge for women, and an issue that
has been raised repeatedly as a barrier to moving up the ladder, is
their inability to self-promote and draw attention to their
accomplishments (76 per cent).
"If women want to move up in the workplace they need to stop downplaying
their abilities," explained Carolyn Lawrence, president and CEO, Women
of Influence Inc. "To illustrate, look at how men approach job
interviews with an offensive strategy, ready to make their achievements
known, while women tend to focus more on their experiences, crediting
team collaboration for successes. Who would you hire at a senior level;
someone who has shown they have the qualities, skills and proven
results needed for the role, or someone who can tackle the job, but
only with the help of others?"
Despite struggling within male-dominated cultures, women do not see
themselves as victims
While more than half of those surveyed reported having struggled with
male-influenced cultures and business practices, particularly when
seeking to be recognized and valued for their difference-thinking, none
of the women viewed themselves as victims of the system. Rather, they
remain focused on devising solutions to help them successfully navigate
the male-dominated culture.
"Rather than making excuses, women executives are taking their future
into their own hands and seeking solutions to eliminate the barriers on
their path to the top of the corporate ladder," said Lawrence, "They
know who they are and are more committed than ever to making valuable
contributions in the corporate world."
Contrary to popular belief, women are not opting out for work-life
Another popular misconception is that women are abandoning the pursuit
of senior roles - or opting out - to attain an ideal work-life balance,
in particular executive women with young families. Yet when surveyed,
very few cited work-life balance as their greatest barrier to moving up
the ladder (20 per cent). Those that did refer to this as a barrier
were also very solution-oriented in their responses, revealing that
they are much more empowered to take control over their own lives.
Other key findings:
Executive women are driven by the big picture: These women leaders are determined to achieve their vision and guide
their actions by that vision (84 per cent)
Cultivating relationships is essential to achieve their vision: To realize their vision, women build trusting relationships, and are
aware of their impact on others and seek to understand before making
conclusions (85 per cent)
Diversity is the top ranking leadership responsibility for women: When asked to rank leadership responsibilities, those surveyed scored
diversity the most important factor of this category (89 per cent).
This includes valuing diversity initiatives, hiring diverse people, and
promoting on ability. The second most important responsibility is being
performance focused (88 per cent), setting high standards, holding
people accountable and motivating performance and finally, cultivating
change (85 per cent) by encouraging people to embrace change and by
linking change to purpose
Hard work makes women invisible: When women get noticed for how hard they work, one of two things
usually occurs; they become indispensable (reducing their chances to be
transitioned into a bigger role) or they become invisible. The key is
to know the difference between managerial and mid-level
responsibilities and to showcase successes.
To review the full findings of the survey, a copy of Women Leaders Breaking Through in Their Careers can be downloaded at womenofinfluence.ca/advancementwhitepaper, including a video that features Carolyn Lawrence, Barbara Annis and
Patsy Doerr discussing new solutions to promote gender equality in the
ABOUT THE SURVEY
The Gender Intelligence Diagnostic, developed by Infotool, Inc., is a
powerful, custom-designed diagnostic survey instrument used by Barbara
Annis & Associates that depicts the candid attitudes of women and men
at work. On behalf of Women of Influence and Thomson Reuters in
November 2013, an in-depth survey of 326 senior executive women across
North America was conducted. Using a 100-point scale, the women in the
survey were asked to rate the degree to which they agree or disagree
with 84 statements along the five themes of Career Advancement,
Self-Initiation, Leadership Maturity, Big Picture, and Leadership
Responsibility. They were then asked three open-ended questions to
understand, in their own words, their perception of self and success,
the challenges to their career, and the tools they feel they need to
ABOUT WOMEN OF INFLUENCE
Women of Influence is North America's leading organization dedicated to
the professional advancement of women. Celebrating its flagship 20th
year in 2014, Women of Influence continues to offer a menu of solutions
through corporate consulting on Gender Intelligence, executive
leadership courses, events, and content — both online and through a
quarterly magazine. Renowned events include the Deloitte Women of
Influence Luncheon Series and the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur
Awards. Women of Influence has a community and reach of over 120,000 in
eight cities across North America including Vancouver, Calgary,
Toronto, Waterloo, Ottawa, Montreal, New York City and Washington, DC.
For more information, please visit womenofinfluence.ca.
ABOUT BARBARA ANNIS AND ASSOCIATES
For twenty-seven years, Barbara Annis & Associates Inc. has advocated
the value and practice of Gender Intelligence in Fortune 500 companies
and numerous organizations worldwide. Their insights and achievements
have pioneered a transformational shift in cultural attitudes across
the globe on the importance of gender unity to organizational success.
See more at www.baainc.com.
ABOUT THOMSON REUTERS
Thomson Reuters is the world's leading source of intelligent information
for businesses and professionals. We combine industry expertise with
innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading
decision makers in the financial and risk, legal, tax and accounting,
intellectual property and science and media markets, powered by the
world's most trusted news organization. Thomson Reuters shares are
listed on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges (symbol: TRI). For
more information, go to thomsonreuters.com.
Image with caption: "Women of Influence (CNW Group/Women of Influence)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140428_C5353_PHOTO_EN_39683.jpg
Image with caption: "Barbara Annis & Associates Inc. (CNW Group/Women of Influence)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140428_C5353_PHOTO_EN_39680.jpg
Image with caption: "Thomson Reuters (CNW Group/Women of Influence)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140428_C5353_PHOTO_EN_39682.jpg
Image with caption: "Carolyn Lawrence, president and CEO, Women of Influence (CNW Group/Women of Influence)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140428_C5353_PHOTO_EN_39681.jpg
SOURCE: Women of Influence
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