I recently received this request from the Executive Education department of a university.
Not being a woman but understanding the speaker's intent, I smiled and answered, "No", but having coached many women, I can talk about leadership challenges that women face.
This being #InternationalWomensDay, I am going to be courageous and share some things that I believe should be part of the conversation, even though I am an older, white, male.
I am the son of a mother, brother to sisters, father to daughters, and husband to a wife. I have worked to advance women whenever and wherever I can. I have taught executive presence for women, I have mentored women, and I have taken a pledge to never appear on an all-male panel. My friend and colleague, Dr. Tanvi Gautam, says this makes me a #heforshe.
The number one thing that upsets me is women tearing down other women. If a woman is successful this should be celebrated because it means more opportunities for other women, not less.
The number two thing that bothers me, is women assuming that all men are the problem. I understand that there are way too many 'old white men' in power but attacking all older white men, when many support you, is counterproductive.
And number three is women discounting themselves. I have had the honor of knowing and #coaching amazing women, and yet so many of them struggle to see their own value. I share with them this mantra:
"𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒏𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒐 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒗𝒆, 𝒐𝒏𝒍𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒊𝒎𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒗𝒆"
We need more women in leadership positions. The evidence is clear that companies that have more women at the top, perform better.
The barriers are often entrenched in masculine attitudes that men are unconscious of. Some women have tried to emulate masculine attributes to be successful, only to be despised by women and men alike.
Only when women and men work together to remove the barriers and recognize what each gender brings to leadership, we will enjoy the fruits of equitable and effective leadership.
Of course, I cannot speak about leadership AS a woman, but as a leadership speaker in London, Lisbon, Stockholm, Singapore, Barcelona, or Bangkok, I can give a global perspective on what it takes to build an effective leadership team.
My latest work, The New Leadership Playbook contains seven leadership principles, one of which is 'Diversity Matters'.
So in conclusion, to all the amazing women, this is your day, celebrate each other, celebrate yourself, and step up to make this world a better place because you are in it.
BEING HUMAN WHILST DELIVERING ACCELERATED RESULTS