When a female leader climbs the corporate ladder, she carries experience and knowledge—and sometimes personal characteristics that can eventually 'derail' her future career dreams! At one time, these characteristics would have been considered strengths valued by the company, but now they are seen as weaknesses and barriers to her effective performance.
For example, a highly-focused manager might have gained visibility for driving her team to achieve extraordinary results with a command and control style. Now considered for an executive position with bigger scope and wider breadth she may oversee cross-functional teams, acquisitions or mergers and her blind spot regarding the value of collaboration may be seen as a flaw.Here are some common Big Mean Girl Derailers to watch out for in yourself:
- Arrogance—at some point your confidence may be seen to be overly self-assured and self-promoting. You might overestimate your own abilities, seem self-absorbed or inconsiderate.
- What to do? Don't promote your own career over others'—give credit to others—especially other women contributors. Validate others' points of view which differ from yours.
- Volatile—you may be perceived as overly emotional or easily excited—being moody or quick to anger. At higher levels, you may be described as 'unpredictable' in your actions.
- What to do? Work to establish stable, positive work relationships—especially with others (and other women). Don't gossip privately or criticize others publicly. Learn and demonstrate emotional intelligence. Apply stress management strategies at work and home.
- Defensive—you may have been praised as a strong negotiator who is shrewd, wary, and politically astute, have strong backbones. At higher levels, you may now be perceived as argumentative, skeptical, tense, or focused on protecting your own interests.
- What to do? Be open to feedback and criticism to grow and develop. Get an executive coach! Don't fear other people's /women's successes, instead Celebrate! Share the credit when you reach a goal.
Support your peers and fellow women in business. Be someone who cheers at others' successes as well as your own. No one wants to deal with the sour grapes and attitude of a Big Mean Girl.
Remember – When one succeeds, we all do…