The women dominate the workforce. Yet, the women tend to plateau before they reach those power positions.
For example, PR Newser reports that although 85 percent of public relations practitioners are female, men have 80 percent of the top-management positions. According to the American Lawyer, females represent 51 percent of law-school graduates but only 17 percent are partners in law firms. The latest data from the Government Accountability Office show that women, a majority in the labor market, only filled 40 percent of the management positions. There's more. They made 81 cents for each dollar earned by male managers.
In my coaching I have observed the disconnect comes between The Woman as Worker and The Woman as Manager/Leader.
That first surfaces when females should be adopting a professional persona for upward mobility. They don't do it fast enough or right. Classic advice on how to do that is observe successful females and mirror that behavior until you find your own style. Currently, Alicia on "The Good Wife" provides such as model.
Giving off the wrong signals tends to escalate when females are promoted. Because few have cunning mentors, the problem continues. Alicia, on the other hand, will now be mentored by Inside the Beltway player Derek Bond. That socialization process could catapult her to equity partner.
In addition to deconstructing winning models and being mentored, females have a better shot at power by:
- Approaching professional life as moves in game theory. Useful books on that are "Game Theory" by Ken Binmore and "Your Career Game" by Nathan Bennett and Stephen Miles
- Understanding the organizational culture and conforming. If the ethos is the appearance of fun, simulate being a fun person.
- Develop power bases outside the organization. That influence resonates with the players and rank and file within.
- Position setbacks as learning lessons. C.S. Lewis observed that experience is a brutal teacher but we learn, boy, do we learn.