Women in Leadership: Be a Ten!

women in leadership tips

My almost-8-year-old son is obsessed with the game show, Family Feud.

In our rare alone moments together, his favorite thing is to quiz me: "Mom, the top five answers are on the board . . . Name an animal that is green!" On an evening walk after the Smiths played the Fransons for at least three complete game shows (fast money round and all), he asked:

"Mom, on a scale of 1 to 10, how smart are you compared to other people?"

Now, this one gave me pause. I ruminated, weighed my answer, considered (I definitely would have lost at the buzzer), and finally said:

"An eight."

My son's response: "Humph. Dad said he was a Ten."

Developing Women for Leadership

This got me thinking about my recent experience in a professional development seminar series at Bright Horizons called "Women in Leadership." In an organization that's 90% women, the seminar series was not only filled, but had a waiting list.

Yes, female leadership is getting a lot of attention lately. But frankly, for many of us, "leaning in" feels like old news. And the truth is, most of us don't have a choice. We've long been fighting for workplace flexibility, for dependent care supports, for career advancement, and for wage equality.

We've been fighting for the ability to bring our whole selves to work, for corporate social responsibility, and for a better world for our children.

Navigating the Business World

I'm truly lucky to work for an organization like Bright Horizons that believes in these things. The place where I work fosters opportunities for women to network, develop skills for success, and grow personally and professionally.

We need perpetual focus on these issues, and additional opportunities for women in boardrooms, in classrooms, at every socioeconomic level, until change is pervasive and permanent.

Hit the Buzzer

How do we do this? One suggestion comes from a book we read during the Women in Leadership seminar. "The Confidence Code," by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, resonated for being practical, honest, and insightful.

In it, the authors talked about the fact that women are different than men in every way: mentally, emotionally, biologically. It said we need to reflect on very concrete ways that we might get ahead in the business world. It's ultimate advice: "Think Less. Take Action. Be Authentic."

To me, that means stop ruminating. Hit the buzzer! Make a difference in the way that is most meaningful to you. Take advantage of the opportunities presented.

Our Bright Horizons Leadership Series has been a fabulous experience in that regard. It proves that women really want to know what's required to be successful business leaders.

All of that is critical. But just as important, on a very practical level, when your eight-year-old son asks you how smart you are, don't be hesitant to stake your claim confidently.

Be a Ten.