Capitalizing on your unique business sensibilities.
Many studies have summarized the primary leadership style differences between women and men: Women, it turns out, tend to be more inclusive, holistic and collaborative, while men are driven more by competition. But how, exactly, does this insight help women in today's organizations? How Women Lead, by Sharon Hadary and Laura Henderson, attempts to answer just that question, as well as many others crucial to women as they climb the corporate ladder.
Hadary, the founding executive director of the Center for Women's Business Research, and Henderson, a serial entrepreneur, draw from their own experience and research, as well as interviews with 15 women business leaders, to discover commonalities among women's success stories. In all, the authors distilled this information into eight strategies common to successful women, each with specific action steps grounded in scientific research. Though the tone of the book is overwhelmingly positive, the authors don't coddle their readers with feel-good bromides.
It takes grit, they argue, to buck the crowd and follow your gut, a lesson Hadary learned as one of the few women managers at IBM in the 1970s. At other times, though, they warn that instinct can lead you astray, particularly when it tells you to be modest about your accomplishments. And, they dismiss the idea of "juggling" your work and personal life in favor of fully integrating a career with personal pursuits. "The concept of a perfectly balanced life, with family, work, community and personal life in equilibrium, is unrealistic and not as fulfilling as the myth suggests," they write. Rather, it is up to the individual to set priorities that will undoubtedly change as circumstances require.
How Women Lead may be ideal for women at the very beginning of their career. And for those who are mentoring young women, the book's inspirational last chapter on turning possibility into reality can be a helpful resource.
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