Women in Leadership

4 Strategies for Women to Make Their Voices Heard

The Sound of Breaking Glass

There is clear evidence that women in general tend to be less forceful than men, when it comes to making their voices heard in the world of work. The effect is to disadvantage women, placing them in a ‘glass cage’ in their day-to-day interactions in the organisational context.

This is an absurdity in modern economies, where heavy manual labour is largely a thing of the past, where work revolves increasingly around the manipulation of knowledge, the provision of services and the nurturing of relationships, and where both educational and social opportunity have demonstrated that there is no sound reason to regard women and men as anything other than occupational peers.

The fact that men remain to a greater or lesser extent dominant in organisational hierarchies world-wide should not be taken as evidence that the current asymmetry is natural. The subordination of women is not a natural but a cultural state, and like any other culture, it can be changed.

So what can women do about the glass cage, its ceiling and its bars? This paper suggests four broad strategies and the cultural context in which each is likely to be most appropriate. The strategies are based on insights obtained from research and practice with our own VoicePrint diagnostic and developmental resources. The cultural contexts are described in terms of Hofstede’s well-known and highly researched framework of how cultures differ.

The emphasis is on practicality.

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Inspiring Women Leaders with The Performance Coach

Working in association with The Performance Coach, accredited VoicePrint practitioner Liz Palmer will shortly be co-facilitating the latest of TPC’s Inspiring Women Leaders programmes. This increasingly popular programme comprises a 3-day workshop plus the opportunity to access action learning and personal coaching, and VoicePrint has become one of its integral and highly valued features.

Liz tells the story of how one participant, having stepped out to make a difficult phone call immediately after the workshop session on VoicePrint, came back into the room with a huge smile on her face and announcing, ‘This really works. I’ve just used it and that conversation went much better than I had dared to hope.

As another delegate reported ‘VoicePrint is a great prompt to consider how to structure meetings or conversations with individuals that will deliver the best outcome for all stakeholders. It encourages you to ‘suspend your agenda’ and consider the desires and wants of others, not just your own.’

‘All the VoicePrint voices are valid but not all are required in the same conversation. VoicePrint helps you consider which ones are most important for that discussion, and how not to go into the ‘red zone’ (the riskier voices). If I do venture into that area, I can recognise it early and adjust my tone back to an appropriate level, especially when provoked.’

The next Inspiring Women Leaders course takes place on 26th-28th September 2016. For further details contact Liz Palmer, liz@summitccl.co.uk

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