Helen Reddy’s inspiring feminist anthem ‘I am woman’ was a clarion call to many women; she was a role model of strength and courage. It is however insupportable that we should think that feeling invincible is enough. There’s no shortage of women feeling, being and doing invincible. And feeling the burden of it.
It is intolerable to think that the gains made for gender equality since the 1970s could well be eroded by the impact of Covid-19, but there are increasing signs that this is happening. Chief Executive Women’s census late last year on women in top leadership roles showed that their representation had decreased in the last 4 years. The UN COVID Global Gender Response Tracker showed that Australia has no measures to address women’s economic security. And this, the latest in McKinsey & Company’s Women in the Workplace reports, showed that almost one quarter of women in the US were considering leaving the workforce (temporarily or permanently) because of the COVID-19 impact on them.
Women shouldn’t have to be invincible. They should have to be present – at the top table, involved in decision making about covid economic and social impacts and recovery strategies.
Furthermore, in this Harvard Business Review article from Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic & Amy C. Edmondson on vulnerability not bravado, they lament the bravado of many global heads’ approaches to COVID-19 leadership. They suggest that feelings of invincibility impede rather than help communities respond effectively to the pandemic. Men predominated in more than 85% of COVID-19 decision making and advisory bodies: gender-parity in these bodies is 3.5%, according to van Daalen & colleagues writing in the British Medical Journal. As they argue, while COVID-19 is more severe and lethal for men, women have been harder hit both economically and socially.
Suggestions for more vulnerability and less bravado (a more inclusive leadership style) from the HBR article:
- Tell the truth
- Ask for help
- Get out of your comfort zone
- Admit mistakes
- Engage others in your own improvement
And in my Leadership Amplified Podcast, I had the opportunity to interview Susan Ratcliff Program Director – Integration & Simplification @ Melbourne Water where we heard of her experiences grappling with her own vulnerability, and why she values it – both the vulnerability and the grappling!
You can listen to the podcast here to hear why she believes vulnerability is a ticket to a really good leadership game.
Book a call with me today to find out more about how executive coaching can help you to be an authentic leader, allowing your vulnerability to increase your courage and the trust that others place in you.