She Works Smart For the Money: How Women CEOs Get It Right
The same misconceptions about women in the workplace have plagued the fairer sex for decades—centuries even. But with more than 50 percent of medical students being female, more than one in five men being stay-at-home dads, and more women owning and operating their own companies than ever before across the world, the paradigm shift has a lot of people—male and female—scratching their heads. A lot of unanswered questions have caused misconceptions about stereotypical roles for “lady bosses” that just don’t work.
At its core, the idea is to be who you are, regardless of gender. Many women go into business or come into CEO positions thinking they must behave exactly as their male predecessors or counterparts do. Being a woman in charge means taking the reins in the same way you did before you got to the top of the food chain, or before you took the risk of walking away from a career position to open your own shop or start your own venture. It means being an expert of your company from ideation to financial stability. For many women, however, the idea of the 1950s poker-faced, steel-jawed male CEO is very much alive in the mind. The end result is an aggressor, perhaps someone employees fear, or someone who instead of being respected commands respect—rendering it empty and false.
Women have been on the rise and going in the right direction for decades, to be sure. And it is for that very reason they must forge their own way as individuals rather than paper tiger versions of the roughneck in the $2000 silk suit. That guy is out of business in many sectors, mainly because he wasn’t as innovative, progressive, or tired enough of the status quo to be the kind of game changer only a woman could be within industries that hadn’t had much exposure to women before. So, to behave like “one of the guys” or try to wedge themselves into the boys club not only makes women in positions of power seem like they don’t really know what they are doing, it also makes them seem like they don’t know who they are.
There are certainly enough women CEOs and business owners now that creating a unique identity for the woman and the brand she represents is no longer a cutesy game of, “Aw, look at her, she’s really trying to be something.” Now, when a woman is educated, experienced, and bellies up to the bar in her own unique way and with the ability to make sharp turns and fast decisions, she may be perceived as a threat. But like it or not, if she seems a threat at first, no one of any gender is going to care once the numbers roll in. If quarterly reports are up, stocks are selling, marketing is getting better ROI, and the general direction of the company is on the upward trend, no one except for those who are challenged with misogyny will much care who’s sitting in the big leather chair in the floor-to-ceiling-windowed corner office.
Generally in business, results have suggested women are better at creating long term and more meaningful collaborative relationships within the company and from business to business. And because many of these women have families of their own, once they have mastered equilibrium and multitasking, they leave their opposite sex counterparts to wonder how they can make such effective choices so quickly, and how they can manage an entire company while also being there for employees on a personal level—a whole new trend in the corporate universe.
Because the gender role dynamic of past generations has the potential to catch on like a virus, many Millennial women have opted to put on the blinders and jump off the cliff without looking back. This has served them well, by and large, because that voice in the back of a woman’s mind that says, “I can’t do this” is only right when women listen to it. As Elaine Boosler once said, “I’m just a person trapped inside a woman’s body.” Millennial women are proving one thing for sure in the world of business: they are individuals of intellect, insightfulness, and creativity who create results and enjoy doing so. It’s not about hearing women roar anymore—it’s about all of us getting back to work and forgetting the notion of gender as a premise for anything—period.