Studies show that organizations with more senior ranking women have a competitive edge. Recent research also indicates that women in business who seek out peer support groups are more successful and happier than those who do not. What’s the power of these groups and why haven’t they become more of a part of best practices for women in leadership?
Women’s Forum Shows that Women are Stronger Together
In my experience facilitating CEO roundtables, the professional intimacy that develops in the mostly male dominated groups is quite significant. One of the groups I ran met consistently for seven years – businesses grew, people grew as leaders and the participants were able to reach their dreams or get pretty close. Women CEOs have some unique challenges as well as opportunities. Here are some of the frustrations that women in leadership roles that I’ve worked with have expressed:
- “You begin to question your own abilities when the men in your environment don’t support you.”
- “I’m not sure people would see me as a leader if they knew the real me.”
- “Do I really deserve this?”
- “How can I balance everything with work and family?”
- “I don’t seem to get the same level of respect that men in my role do.”
What makes any human being less upset about challenges and perceived obstacles is knowing others share those concerns and experiences. When a woman in leadership realizes that she’s not alone, it can make all the difference. I used to believe that convening a separate women’s leadership peer group was not necessary and that mixed groups of CEOs or Key Leaders were adequate. I’ve changed my thinking. Bringing women with similar concerns and work challenges together offers tremendous value added to all concerned. Learn more about the Women’s Forum:
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Mary Key, Ph.D. is an executive coach and trusted advisor to organizations of all sizes. With over 20 years of experience in helping leaders and companies grow, she heads Key Associates, Inc. which specializes in leadership development and building high performing teams. She is the author of several books, most recently, CEO Road Rules: Right Focus, Right People, Right Execution. Learn more at www.KeyAssociatesInc.com