It’s lonely at the top…..
Experience tells me that it’s even lonelier at the top in business if you are a woman.
Of course it’s tough at the top, and it can also be a very lonely place. Where can corporate, team or performance problems be shared? Certainly not upwards with shareholders, as given a glimpse of uncertainty or perceived weakness, they will be ruthless in replacing you. Nor can you share problems or worries with your employees who believe that you have all the answers and look to you for leadership and continued employment.
This is a common challenge for heads of companies, and this challenge is magnified if the head of the company is female. It is hard to believe that in the 21st century the glass ceiling still exists, but female executives at the top are still viewed with scepticism from some quarters that they may not be ‘up to the job’, and sadly there are still men in business who are resentful of women who reach the top.
There is undoubted pressure to ‘be better’ than male counterparts, to demonstrate unbreakable resilience and be able to withstand the additional challenges that are presented to senior women in business.
Safe, Confidential Environment
My long experience working at director and senior management level in multi-national organisations, private, public and voluntary sectors, taught me one important lesson. It is key that you have access to a safe, confidential environment and people around you with whom you can share, discuss and resolve the issues and challenges you are facing. It is within such an environment that real issues can be aired, fears discussed in a supportive and non-judgemental forum, and resolutions found.
Such a group should provide practical solutions, but also be inspirational and supportive and help senior women executives to recognise and unlock their full potential, develop resilience and presence and importantly, to become invincible in their roles because they are harnessing the powers that they possess to optimum effect.
If you are finding it challenging being the only woman on the board, or struggling to find the right work life balance, managing egos in the workplace, getting your voice heard and opinions across, influencing your team, being the ‘real you’ or your career is being stunted or derailed by others in your organisation, then such a group will be invaluable to you and your career.
Supporting Women in Business
My company Bruck Payne Associates founded Artemis to mentor, support and help senior women executives overcome challenges and become more effective leaders. The Artemis groups – which consist of a maximum number of 9 senior female executives – meet six times a year for a whole-day of experiential learning and real-issue problem solving, with keynote speakers, leadership and transformation tools, and where participants benefit from the experience and continuous feedback of the whole group in a confidential, privileged environment.