Last week, I was asked to conduct a lunch and learn on “Women and Leadership” for a group of female professionals within a primarily male organization. The purpose of the workshop was to help these emerging female leaders expand their influence and increase their visibility. We (about 25 of us) had a really interesting and lively discussion during which I shared best practices in management and leadership. We, also, contemplated the strengths and challenges that women bring to the workplace.
I enjoyed the experience immensely and left feeling incredibly gratified. I was also intrigued by the group’s response when I asked them each to share their greatest professional challenges. These were the top 10:
- I struggle with Work/Life Balance.
- I don't feel comfortable promoting myself.
- I am too hard on myself.
- I don't feel comfortable delegating/If you want something done right you have to do it yourself.
- I have a hard time managing my stress. It sometimes shows.
- I struggle to understand what the “rules” are
- I take on too much.
- I always find myself with too much to do.
- I want to learn how/when to say no.
- I doubt myself.
Do any of those statements sound like you?
I'll be honest with you - the answers to the question weren’t what intrigued me. I’d heard these same responses from hundreds of clients many times before. What struck me is that these are such typical responses from females in the workplace that I hear far more infrequently from their male counterparts. No matter the level, industry, role, years of experience, or expertise, women continue to struggle with taking on too much, a lack of confidence, learning how to say no, and ultimately with unleashing our leadership abilities and potential. We struggle with these in our professional and personal lives and it depletes us.
I believe that these are the greatest challenges facing female entrepreneurs and corporate leaders today. I ‘m also confident that responding to this information presents an awesome opportunity for growth and advancement if we are willing to carve out some time in our own lives to contemplate a strategy for doing things in a manner that better serves us personally and professionally. Are you up for the challenge?
I wish you Peace, Prosperity, and Powerful Leadership.