For women to excel in leadership situations same as men, there is the need to understand that competence, capacity, integrity, values, character and performance will always be demanded. Leadership discussions go beyond gender!
Many people view the glass cliff as a subject predominantly theorized to insistently stimulate discussions around female leadership and women in leadership. Often times, authorities and experts in leadership focus their examples on success stories of women in key positions and are less critical in the main issues of general leadership success.
Obviously, there are diverse and coloured opinions of subjectivity in driving women in leadership agenda. The argument has always remained that, if policies and initiatives are deliberately crafted to encourage, persuade and continuously compel women to lead teams and institutions, then it is uncompromisingly fair to look at the issues beyond the glass cliff.
If the glass cliff, which in its interpretation has been identified as a challenge for women, now points to the fact that female employees who put themselves out as candidates for executive positions are more likely to be selected and fully hired than similarly qualified and competent male candidates when an institution’s performance is deteriorating, then we need to look at competence and capacity irrespective of the gender that leads an institution to success.
Beyond the Glass Cliff is what I call the homestretch. The homestretch takes you home when you are actually not there yet. The glass cliff as explained, confirms that women rise to the top during difficult moments in workplaces. In fact, what sustains women in leadership is not the fact that they are just women. It is not a gender issue. It’s always about leadership. Character, values, personality type, exposure, experience, self-development, competence and capacity are crucial to leader success.
Within these qualities are also matters of intelligence, which include analytic, practical, creative and emotional management. Covelli and Mason (2017) propose Authentic Leadership any day for 21st Century Leadership. They are of the view that integrity, discipline, values are central to leadership development, and I agree without a doubt. The core dialogue within the L-F-S model is problem solving, where the leader influences the follower or followers to fix a situation.
The model doesn’t pay particular attention to a male or a female leader. It’s always about leadership and as JC Maxwell rightly puts it ‘everything rises and falls on leadership’. For women to excel in leadership situations same as men, there is the need to understand that competence, capacity, integrity, values, character and performance will always be demanded.
To demystify the concept of the glass cliff, researchers hinted that the belief that women stay through difficult periods in the lives of institutions than men and as institutions go through turbulence and instabilities, female leaders emerge. Granted. Nevertheless, the glass cliff did not say that male leaders do not emerge when institutions go through difficult times. To this end, it will only be premature to allude that female leaders perform better when institutions go through rough and tough times compared to their male counterparts. Performing well as a leader is not a gender issue. Consultants and coaches who hire executives for troubling institutions must be exposed to these discussions so to position the conversation in its perspective.
This is Leadership!