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Companies lose by leaving women out of c-suite, report says

Monday, February 6, 2012  
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Corporations are leaving money on the table and forgoing future success by failing to move more women into senior leadership roles, according to a recent study of 235 senior-level businesswomen.

"Women and the Paradox of Power,” based on research by Anne Perschel of Germane Consulting and Jane Perdue of Braithwaite Innovation Group, finds businesswomen must prepare themselves to take on these executive roles by understanding and using power more effectively.

Many women relate to their personal power in ways that prevent them from attaining senior-level positions. Perschel and Perdue attribute this to women’s lack of confidence, cultural conditioning or not understanding what power is.

The researchers found women leaders at the highest corporate level have different ways of understanding and attaining power, which they use to make important changes in business culture and leadership practices.

Reshaping a male-dominated culture by changing the ratio of women to men at the highest levels of the organization requires a specific set of actions by women and current company leaders, Perschel and Perdue said. Women must show up as confident and visible, take charge of themselves and their careers, connect strategically, adopt inclusive thinking and understand the dynamics of power. For companies to catalyze change and stop leaving money on the table, leaders make gender balance real, remake leadership and walk the talk by developing women leaders.

"More women in key roles will not happen because women start thinking like men or men begin behaving like women,” the authors wrote. "It will happen, however, when bold and audacious leaders redefine how leadership is practiced, measured and rewarded.”

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