(not) Moving Up? Women, Do You Know What Skills You Are (most likely) Lacking?

Upward move from middle management requires a particular sets of skills. Do you what they are?

Women, I implore you, if you are interested how to get – or why you are not moving upwards – from that ingrained middle management position even though you are liked, respected and your team works well under your leadership, click here and listen to these 14 minutes that can change your career and your life!

Why is it that in the last 20-30 years we have not closed the gender gap in organizational leadership? Why is it women still make only about 17% of leaders in their organizations? Why is it that if women make 50% of middle management why only less than 1/3 make it to top management?

That’s where the 33% is missing! Wonder no more!

Susan Colantuono is a wonderful un-hurried speaker who make TOTAL sense. I was sitting on my couch going Oh My Gosh, Oh my lord, Oh good grief, Oh my…(you get the picture here!) thinking how much sense it made and wondering why women don’t get to hear THIS very advise? Susan made me see very clearly the amount of work and strides we, as women, made to be now fully represented in ‘middle management’ at 50%, but not any higher. Why? What is the reason? What is the barrier? How do we overcome it as women and as a society together? Are we not educated? Not smart? Not strong? Not decisive or shark-ey enough? Not able to make tough decision? Not willing to stand up to authority? Not willing to risk?  Nah, that can’t be it… Why? Simple, because I KNOW!

And here is why:

Who EVER worked with a team of strong, authoritative, opinionated, educated, fearless, fierce, decisive, responsible, tough, hard-working, life-and-death-facing, crises-decision-making, disastrous-consequences-averting, administration-challenging, patient-advocating, doctors-opposing, and hunger-and-exhaustion-fighting intensive care unit (ICU) Registered Nurses (RNs) – they know better! Our continuous assessment, ongoing analysis, constant prioritization and re-prioritization, fearless leadership, team-building and communication skills, along with our ability to gather data, organize work and people, follow through, administer, implement and survive almost 13 hours of never-ending organized chaos and madness -> don’t tell me we cannot lead an organization where people don’t die if we delay our decision or where people’s health does not deteriorate if our analysis and communication is not performed within few minutes or hours?

What other organizations work under THOSE set of circumstances?

So reflecting upon my own career, thinking back on advise I have received or the words of wisdom I heard and let’s be honest – I never heard this! True, initially, studying nursing, the core objectives were clinical knowledge, taking care of babies and delivering the best nursing practice. Next, during my political science & women’s studies, I have not heard this either – probably thinking we will talk politics or policy (the operative word here “talk” I guess) so we will not need it. Where I finally figured out the importance and the need for a different set of skills, and where I truly comprehended what that aspect & ability could and would mean to an organization, was in Grad School and that was thanks to singing up for a series of  MBA classes over 1 year (2 semesters) at the UM School of Business!

Yes, we were/are told to beef-up on certain skills, skills that would bring us to middle management positions. So we did that. We are now more assertive, we lead projects and teams, we communicate better, we empower and engage others, our teams love to work with us, etc…. HOWEVER, those skills will get us and keep us at the middle management level, especially since the next upwards move requires a very different sets of skills and acumen. Do you know what they are?

Listen up, take notes and put your plan into action!

Educate, engage, empower, enrich.

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