Bringing Balance to the Boardroom
Is it time to complete the workplace revolution?
In the last century Baby Boomer women revolutionised the workplace by demonstrating they were as competent as their male colleagues. Yet as women rose through the corporate ranks they continued to face the challenge of combining motherhood and work. And it seems the more senior an employee becomes, the harder the task.
Not surprising, really. Women are still trying to operate in workplaces where time and attendance rules were set a century ago to reflect a predominantly male workforce with differing social expectations. So mothers "fix" things in the only way they feel they can - by opting for a less demanding and often reduced hours role. They suffer a "part-time pay penalty" and their employer is not challenged to change an organisational culture that's increasingly inappropriate in the 21st Century. One that remains a hurdle keeping women out of senior management and boardroom jobs.
It's High Time to change the way we think about senior level jobs:
- We must recognise that work-life balance is a necessity, not a luxury - particularly in our leaders. In a complex, fast-changing and increasingly unpredictable world, we need those at the helm to remain mindful and to make decisions rooted in centered wisdom, not ones driven by stress and burn-out.
- We need to explore the unconscious bias that keeps working mothers stuck in a "no-win" situation. Research reveals people generally view working mothers as neither good employees (since they're bound to "put their family first") nor good parents (for leaving their children in the care of others). When a mother asks for a working arrangement that supports better work-life balance, the immediate assumption is that she's not committed to her career.
- We must understand how a lack of appropriate role models adds to our unconscious bias. Seeking work-life balance is not about wanting to work reduced hours. It's about having the freedom to make small changes that result in big impacts on personal and family life. It happens in practice, but many senior employees prefer not to broadcast the fact - effectively supporting the myth that Senior Manager and Board level jobs require total focus only on work.
It's High Time to take action:
- Join the Balanced Leader Programme - a series of four workshops based on more than 20 years experience of how flexible working can succeed at Executive levels.
- Appoint a Head of Balanced Working, Wellbeing and Inclusion.
- Become part of the High Time campaign.
Is your organisation ready to bring more Balance to the Boardroom? Get in touch - let's discuss the possibilities. ...