What Keeps High-Achieving Women From Choosing Executive Positions. VI. Results: Themes One – Three

What Keeps High-Achieving Women From Choosing Executive Positions. VI. Results: Themes One – Three

(JE) “I was born spirited, full of will power. When I’m stressed…I’m not the softest person around… I was more abrasive and assertive than I might have needed to be. I think being honest got in my way. There were several occasions I was very clear… Once, when they slotted me into a role, after I said I didn’t want it, the VP came in and…I was very, very honest with him. To this day he won’t look me in the eye walking down the hallway. … I’m not sure that kind of honesty is always appropriate…I was actually proud of myself for not ripping him to shreds. I know he was a good guy and he wanted to have a successful organization. I know there was a compliment in there, that he thought I would help him. But he did not honor my request.”

(MR) “Sometimes I get so passionate about what I do I just blow people away, you know? They don’t ask any questions after I speak. It isn’t until later that I find out that they haven’t bought on or even understood what I was talking about. So I struggle to enroll people. My boss would always tell me that the ship couldn’t turn as fast as I wanted. I needed to adapt to different styles when trying to influence people instead of just getting louder or talking more.”

(DK) “…and then we were having lunch with another rep and [my boss] said to me, ‘Down girl, down. Have another biscuit.’ Now whenever I’m trying to make changes or give suggestions that are out of routine, they treat me like, ‘Down girl, down. Have another biscuit.’”

(KP) “I’m enthusiastic, engaged…but I can be perceived as overbearing…. There are occasions where I steamroll and I don’t have patience and I have to count to 10 to give people time to catch up.”

(AS) “I could probably be kinder and less aggressive in my approach to communicating…I’m outspoken, and I can be pretty bull headed. I’ve really been trying to soften my approach to people.”

(AW) “I’m too emotional for a business world, and I’ve had to struggle with that. Like I said, when I get angry tears get in my eyes.”

(BS) “Letting go and breathing and being patient and knowing… I talk too fast… but I am excitable, and I do have a lot of energy. So if I do get on a roll, I will talk fast.”

Survey responses:  The women were asked to describe themselves at work. The words chosen most often were Passionate (78%), Assertive (76%), Confident (76%), Direct (73%), Persistent (73%), Bold (67%) and Compassionate (55%). Less than 25 % described themselves as Restless, Pushy, Rebellious, Impulsive, Steamroller, Self-Saboteur and Competitive.


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About the Author

Marcia ReynoldsIn addition to coaching leaders in global companies, Dr. Marcia Reynolds travels the world speaking and teaching classes in advanced coaching skills, leadership and emotional intelligence. She is the author of 3 books and has been quoted in major online and print publications in the US and Europe.

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