Thursday, October 23, 2008

Women at work

What drives and sustains successful female leaders? A new study out by McKinsey argues that the women who make it to the top AND enjoy it are all doing a few things right:

1. Meaning: finding strength and putting it to work toward an inspiring purpose
2. Managing energy: knowing where your energy comes from, where it goes, and what you can do to manage it
3. Positive framing: adopting a more constructive way to view your world, expand your horizons, and gain resilience to move ahead even when bad things happen
4. Connecting: identify who can help you grow, building stronger relationships, and increasing your sense of belonging
5. Engaging: finding your voice, becoming self-reliant and confident by accepting opportunties and the inherent risks they bring, and collaborating with others

All of these are consistent with ongoing research in Positive Psychology (the scientific study of what goes right with life). Unlike other leadership frameworks, their 'Centered leadership' lends itself to practical things we can do differently today: knowing what our strengths are and deploying them to our advantage each day, learning to frame our experiences in a more constructive light, building our sense of belonging at work and in the community.... not rocket science but do-able.

Interestingly they also found, anecdotally, that senior women at McKinsey often fail to reciprocate and find doing so distasteful. This is a consistent finding. Roy Baumeister (one of America's top psychologists) also found that woman have small intimate social networks – men go shallow & broad. Indeed, studies were set up so two girls were playing together and the researchers brought in a third, the two girls resist letting her join. But two boys will let a third boy join their game.

This gets into broader gender questions which are a subject for another day

Here's the McKinsey article:

1 comment:

Find Handmade said...

Powerful article on the benefits of #coaching. I am a big fan.
Bren Murphy
Personal Coaching Sydney