Jumping into cold water? Maybe it's not that cold after all! And most women can swim.
Guest article by Bettina Dürrenberger
Women's quota, equal rights, promotion of women, compatibility .... In the professional world, there is a lack of women in the upper management levels. Various statistics keep reminding us - women are missing from the so-called carpet floors. A company that is mainly run by men, whose decisions are primarily made from their perspective - is that really what we want?
I think the answer will often be - no, of course not.
Women represent 50% of the world's population, so why shouldn't most organisations reflect this proportion in their leadership? It is obvious that this should be the goal. But the question of how we get there is more complex.
Why are there no women in senior management positions?
I do not presume to have the answer to this. I can only draw my conclusions from my own experience and observations. I have observed a number of women. Very ambitious ones, a few very successful ones and above all - many who didn't dare or didn't think they could do more. Those who didn't want to take on the role of team leader, those who were barely able to articulate their strengths in job interviews and, above all, those who said: "Leadership role - no, I can't do that." Those who remain silent in meetings because they don't want to "show off"... and I know the feeling myself. When I watch in amazement at some men, how they naturally take on responsibility and risk, how they like to fill the room with words and their presence. And how I sometimes have to bend myself to be like them.
I can recognise two things: The male way of leading and thinking doesn't always suit me and sometimes pushes me to my limits. I feel obliged to conform and I don't like it. The second realisation is that men do their best to encourage us. Most of them try really hard and yet they often don't succeed.
So we have to start creating, visualising and finding our own style. This is the only way both sexes can benefit from each other. And we need courage to do so. We often lack that. Unfortunately...
So what should a female leadership style look like?
What are we particularly good at and how can we bring this to the business world without having to bend all the time? What do women need to have the confidence to lead?
Our intuition, our feeling for ourselves and others. Our ability to integrate, to connect and to vision. We must not deny our motivation to work where we make a difference. Rather, it should be normal that these are strengths that are very, very valuable in negotiations, in decisions about team compositions and not least in projects where we work together.
Our task as women is therefore to recognise where our strengths lie. To live these strengths, to enable other women to live these strengths and then finally to do what a large number of men seem to find easier: to dare to make mistakes. Dare to try, improve and try again. Until our style is found and lived. Until we no longer have the feeling that we have to bend.
How do you lead? How would you like to be led and what are you missing at the moment to make this possible? When do you feel like an "alien" and what would you need so that you don't feel like one? What do you need so that you have the courage to take a career step further? What is stopping you at the moment?