In business everywhere today, the typical male management style is obsolete. Employees are rejecting hierarchical leadership and responding to characteristics traditionally associated with women. In other words, the time for women to take charge is now! In SEE JANE LEAD, bestselling author and internationally recognized executive coach Lois P. Frankel, PhD, provides women with the 99 most effective strategies to unleash their natural leadership skills and achieve success in today's business world.
Most women may not realize it, but they already possess the qualities to make them great leaders. Unfortunately, these natural capabilities are being suppressed by their need to follow the rules they were taught in childhood for how little girls were supposed to behave. In this breakthrough book, Dr. Frankel shows women how to overcome these self-sabotaging behaviors that prevent them from realizing their full managerial potential. Filled with unique practical advice and real-world examples of successful female leaders, SEE JANE LEAD outlines the most effective ways women can take charge in the business world, the home, or beyond - using resources they've possessed all along.
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April 10, 2007
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Excerpt from See Jane Lead by Lois P. Frankel
The Feminization of Leadership
The day will come when man will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race.
--Susan B. Anthony
People often ask me how I choose the subject matter for my books. I tell them it always comes from having such a burning desire to share something with others that if I didn't, I would feel my life's mission was not complete. That's precisely why I wrote this book. I believe we live in a time when women's leadership and influence aren't just needed--they're required. More important, I know that women have the capability, strength, courage, and heart to lead communities, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and grassroots groups to places they need to go. They've done it for centuries. You may not think you have much in common with Avon's president Andrea Jung or former director of the Red Cross Elizabeth Dole, but this book will help you to see that you do--and that if ever there was a time your leadership was needed, the time is now.
You also may not aspire to be a CEO, vice president, or director of an organization, but chances are you find yourself in a position where you want to influence others. That's leadership. You may be responsible for a small committee of the PTA. That's leadership. Or you might have ideas that contribute to creating change in an organization of which you are a member. That's leadership, too. Women lead all the time--they just don't call it leadership. They think of it as working toward a common goal, achieving results through people, or simply doing what needs to be done. In fact, that's what leadership is all about.
A woman's way of leading hasn't always been valued, but there's a change occurring in society that people are hesitant to talk about. It's what I call the feminization of leadership. To discuss it openly would mean challenging how we have traditionally looked at leadership--and followership. It would also require embracing a concept that many people find threatening: Command-and-control, top-down leadership no longer works. When someone in authority says "jump," employees, children, and volunteers no longer reply "how high?" The truth is, what followers expect from leaders in the first decade of the twenty-first century--and perhaps beyond--are the behaviors and characteristics that women have traditionally been socialized to exhibit. Throughout history, with little or no formal authority, women have influenced direction, change, and outcomes--they were simply never so bold as to call it leadership!
It doesn't mean that men can't or don't display these qualities, but rather that women tend to do so with greater ease, confidence, and comfort--so long as it's not called the L-word, leadership. The changing face of leadership is threatening to men because it requires thinking about the subject in a way that is counter to their own socialization and, in some cases, education. Similarly, women may feel threatened because it asks them to assume responsibility in ways they may never have before and to call attention to skills they have been admonished to hide.
"Nice girls" have a particularly difficult time assuming leadership roles and doing it effectively. When they do, they often try to make everyone happy (which, as you know, is impossible), delay decision making by trying to get everyone's buy-in, hesitate to take necessary risks for fear of offending the powers that be, and communicate in ways that undermine their confidence and credibility.