…standup and standout, own your words and be ready for self-change
Like the concept of the mirage, there is nothing ahead to warrant any fears. Women must journey on confidently to the top. I am not asking women not to anticipate the hurdles ahead. I am advising them to build the springboard and not to go around looking for the springboard. Women must push themselves. Resilience is a guiding word. Give room for expansion, build capacity and be tenacious. Being firm is to be assertive and assertiveness is a skill, same as building blocks of toughness.
As Robert Schuller rightly puts it ‘tough times never last, but tough people do’, women must build positive tough self-image and develop the positive self-talks. Learning to turn negative blocks into positive ones requires a winning mindset. To smash the glass ceiling, you must be tough like the secretary bird.
Ahenkorah (2018) summarizes the unique leadership attitudes of the secretary bird. Building character at the workplace is about developing the moral and mental fortitude to progress. It is also about the principles around honesty, loyalty, courage, good behaviours and forward-looking.
Women must constantly calibrate the necessary tools, attitudes, and aptitudes that stimulate their progress to leadership development. My candid observation is that, women mentoring women in workplace will elevate and strategically position many more women. Some institutions and now societies have consciously created room for women in leadership from boardrooms to national platforms so to augment gender facilitation and social progression.
Albeit, many women still struggle on their way to emerge at the top. Some societies, cultures and institutions often times fueled by religion will not allow women to lead. The glass ceiling is only imaginary. For clarity, I am not also saying that it is a myth. Anne Mulcahy was once CEO and Chairperson of Xerox. Her story is so inspiring.
Growing up among boys as the only girl of her parents, she balanced her traits to shape her personality type. Her experience and career journey equipped her exceptionally to be flexible as well. To become the Head of Human Resources and at some point, the Head of Sales on her career journey confirms her unique experience, skills, flexibility and her matchless personality type.
Assertiveness is one great skill for women progression. Learning to say no and building the three key moral potencies are crucial for self-development. Moral courage, moral ownership and moral efficacy are simple useful tools on the journey. To standup and standout, to own your words and be ready for self-change and personal effectiveness should be basic for women preparing themselves for the long journey to the top.
To this end, you can obviously tell that, smashing the ceiling is a personal responsibility. It is a choice. The big question is why is it that women do not find it easy climbing the echelons of corporate ladder? Many women are not ready to shoulder workplace responsibilities. Many women also do not focus on the main things that will aid their progression at the workplace.
Other women also believe that Leadership is a Man’s thing. Sometimes it is cultural if not religious. I will not preach defiance and this is also not about pelting stones. Women themselves have changed and I believe as expected, societies, institutions and cultures must also do same. In the next episode, we will share lessons on how women can shutter the ceiling to see the bright blue skies.
This is Leadership!