Just one tip to help your business this week, because yes, this is a controversial topic. It’s being talked about a lot by media outlets at the moment, almost as much a “covfefe”. Almost…
I’m not attempting to cause an uprising or a heated conversation on feminine rights, but the fact is that I’ve been attending a lot of business development events lately, and the one question that keeps popping up in my mind is, “why aren’t I seeing women attending big business events?”
It wasn’t something I asked prior to owning my own business, but I never attended events with other business owners/leaders back then. Now that I am going to events in this capacity, I’m feeling like the odd one out, and just because of the reproductive organs I was born with.
But why is this important an important topic that I need to care about you ask? How are women in leadership roles going to make a difference to business bottom line? Well I’ll tell you one reason, very simply – it is never a good thing to have any demographic misrepresented. If females are lacking at an executive level, the right decisions cannot be made. The needs of clients cannot be met, and that affects profit. And that’s just one reason.
I read a great article by Natalie Cernecka this week reviewing Sheryl Sandberg’s TED talk “Why we have too few women leaders”. The author begins by admitting that she has felt indifferent about the “women in business” debate. She feels that women shouldn’t be given a job simply for her gender, and she is completely right.
However, in her article she lists some hard facts, and even her sceptical self cannot deny that there is a serious lack of females in top tier roles. Why? Females don’t take enough risks with their careers and unfortunately there is no concrete way of resolving this issue.
What Natalie does state, as does Sheryl, is that we need to support women, particularly young women, to take risks. By supporting them to get out of their comfort zones, to question people’s reasoning, to feel confident about themselves, change will occur. Businesses will be better for it, and this whole subject of not enough females in roles of leadership will hopefully become redundant.
This won’t be easy. I know firsthand how difficult building confidence is. I don’t like speaking in public, raising my hand at question time makes my heart race, and if I am called upon I have been known to blush. It’s embarrassing. I stopped putting my hand up for a long time at the risk of feeling shamed.
But it wasn’t until I realised how much I was missing out on (with some encouragement from my husband) I did something different. I got over myself, I got involved anyway, and without doing so I wouldn’t own a business that I love.
I also know that when I walk into these business development events that I stick out like a sore thumb. There are not many women in the Information Technology (IT) sector, and even less in positions of leadership, but it is a large portion of my role with working virtually. I have to stay up to date with changes in the IT industry, and I am definitely the odd one out.
But what I have found is that I am often able to get the ear of speakers and event organisers because I am seen as some mythical creature. What is this woman doing here in this crowd of men? It’s intriguing, and it is acting as an ice breaker.
To be fair, I do speak up. The people in the room can be as intrigued as they want, but if I didn’t get up and approach them, I’d remain a myth. As a result of approaching them, I am able to promote my business and the businesses I work for with the “big dogs” in the room. And here’s the thing, the more I do it the less risky it feels.
I think that’s the point I’m trying to make. I currently have something that’s making me stand out, and although it’s unfortunately my gender, I also take a risk in speaking up. The more I do it, the less terrified I am. Taking this risk is paying off in my career.
So there you go, my 1 Tip to Help Your Business Succeed – Have Women in Leadership Roles. Let’s support women to take risks in their careers so they can obtain those upper tier roles. Aid them to find the things that make them stand out, and help them to run with them. It’s good for women, and it’s good for business.
Feel free to get in touch or comment below about your opinions on this, or even subscribe to our blog to hear more. If we don’t talk about this subject and keep an open and honest forum, then change won’t come soon enough.