Before you can tackle a problem, you have to know the nature of the problem.
1. Women are clueless about what constitutes the context for success in business.
Women have been in business for real for about 30 years. By 'real' I mean when divorce became the norm, not the exception, working wasn't a want or nice to have. It became vital.
Women come to the workplace as entrepreneurs, small business owners and corporate leaders and bring with them 5000 years of "home place baggage." For 200+ generations women have been making peace, nurturing others, and learning to manage and lead a family. A powerful and unique set of skills.
Family, as boomers knew it, has all but disappeared, leaving single parents, the largest impoverished segment of society, scrapping to meet needs; forget about any wants. The pressure is on and statistics show it will be mid century before women and men earn the save wage for doing the same work.
Women enter the workplace with the wrong set of skills to succeed by matching and playing into the context for success in business. Perhaps you have noticed that women have to tell the whole story -- which works for keeping the peace and nurturing at home -- yet which loses the listening of business leaders in a heartbeat. Success in business is done via bullet points, not narratives.
We're "all about that peace, about that peace, about that peace" so our conversations are peppered with "I'm sorry", "I believe," and "I think."
We enter the workplace and meetings with a hug rather than a handshake. We wear flashy, noisy and distracting jewelry, low cut blouses, and put on makeup in meetings.
When given constructive criticism we often crumble in a puddle of tears, promising to never let 'that' happen again.
Any one of these behaviors isn't a deal breaker on its own. When you have however several of these clashing business behaviors working concurrently, here's what happens -- business leaders, both men and women -- STOP LISTENING. It's automatic and the worst part is that they aren't even aware of it.
2. Women are missing vital skills and building business success habits.
The skills above are simple to change once they are recognized. That's the key. Women have to be responsible about their own behavior.
The process to eliminate or curtail the behaviors is simple. Pick an attribute you possess, and it doesn't have to be the most challenging one, and observe other women interacting in business that exemplifies that particular attribute. Watch the result ... what people are doing ... are they listening or do they walk away?
Once you see how this behavior impacts the listening of others -- social proof -- you begin by purposely entering a business meeting with the intention you will not do 'that thing;' the whole story, clashing and clanging, hugging, crying, or saying I'm sorry. Observe carefully the responses you get from business leaders without this behavior and if and how you are perceived differently.
Then you select another attribute and follow the process; rinse and repeat. The more of these behaviors you transform or modify to match the context of success, the more you are heard! The more you are heard, the more credibility and opportunity you have. The best part about women learning matching business context behaviors is that businesses get the best skills of both men and women, impacting the top and bottom line in a positive way.
3. Women rarely use collaboration effectively because they are mean natured, competitive, jealous, and cannot be trusted.
This is the elephant in the room. Women do not want to take responsibility for jealousy or gossip, of which they are well-seasoned masters. The truth is, they haven't yet learned to distinguish or separate business from social behaviors and until they do, what seems to be a safe environment within which to collaborate with other women, quickly becomes a hotbed of nastiness and broken trust.
Men are effective in business because first, they determined what business success is over generations; they tend to separate business and social to some extent and always have. They have their quasi masterminds or collaborations where they bounce ideas off one another. They also have their social meetings where they cut up, have a beer, and laugh off any disagreements.
Not women. Women collapse them together. Where men will shake off disagreements in the social setting, women do not and often run away, holding a grudge, only to start all over again. This is true in business and even in women's groups. All is going well, time is passing, things are improving and then all of a sudden someone says something nasty, someone's feelings get hurt, and a woman leaves. Only to find another business or group to repeat the same process. It's no wonder women do not gain momentum nor are able to predict a growing monthly income. We don't stay long enough to build lasting power partnerships.
An easy way for business leaders and group leaders to halt the nastiness is to not allow gossip or mean spirited behavior, no matter what and whether woman or man. If they take a hard line with this behavior, like you are seeing with bullying as example, modifications will be made by those interested in rising above this fight or flight behavior. Business leaders need to take a 'stand' to get the best skills at the table from both men and women and not allow behavior counterproductive to business growth.
Leslie Flowers is the best-selling author of CHAMPION. 21st Century Women: Guardians of Wealth & Legacy, keynote speaker, and adviser who empowers women in business to tap their genuine inspiration, plan for success, and achieve their fullest potential inside the protection of a business mastermind.
Her book provides women in business the how-to's for effective goal setting and developing your own business mastermind. Her high yield, high performance women's business mastermind program teaches the timeless principles in Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, her book CHAMPION, and her book of client mastermind stories, Kettle-Dreams, to teach women the things they never knew to make an impact in business.
For more information: www.linkedin/in/lflowers