Browsing the archives for the stereotypes tag.

Knocking down leadership barriers

Barriers to Leadership, Career Challenges

How do you break a leadership barrier?  As a single person, how do you change biased processes and attitudes?

If you’re looking for a simple answer, you won’t find it here.

Some leadership barriers take generations and social and political movements to overcome or at least mitigate.  Consider the work of the civil rights movement.  The civil rights movement put legal protections in place for minority workers.  It was a huge step forward in changing hiring and promotion processes.  However, it was only a first step – many of the biases still exist.  Over the past few decades, we’ve seen improvements in equality but it is a long journey.

So if you don’t want to wait for decades, what can you do?  Here are some thoughts:

  1.  Be aware of the leadership barriers facing you
  2. Evaluate your situation
  3. Determine whether or not you can overcome the leadership barriers in your company
  4. Don’t dwell on protesting the injustice.  If you want to build your career, the workplace is not the right place to dramatically challenge the system.
  5. Become more than the stereotype(s)
  6. Focus on your own career
  7. Use organizational savvy to build relationships
  8. Stand up for yourself in a respectful manner
  9. Seek leadership opportunities
  10. Do a great job.  Outstanding work overcomes many barriers and gets you noticed in a positive way.

Four steps of the Self-Driven Leadership Development process

  1. Own your future
  2. Break down barriers
  3. Learn critical leadership skills
  4. Apply your skills to your work

Leadership Barriers model:

 

leadership barriers model

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Why do leadership barriers matter?

Barriers to Leadership, Career Challenges

In the last post, I defined the term “leadership barriers” which are an important part of the Self-driven Leadership Development process.

 Leadership barriers are important to individuals who want to progress to leadership roles, and they are also important to organizations that want to stay competitive and adaptable.

 The first reason is easy to see.  People do not want biases and negative attitudes to stand in the way of their career advancement.  These barriers are about groups the person belongs to and not about the person.  It is a combination of intentional and unintentional stereotyping.  Women and minorities and geeks and others get labeled as having certain characteristics.  That labeling can keep them from career advancement.  Some people belong to multiple groups – like a woman with technical geek tendencies – that have negative biases and get a double or triple whammy.

 The second reason is more indirect.  Organizations should be concerned about leadership barriers that exist in their talent development processes.  There is a lot of research that shows that diversity – of groups and of thought – is critical to business success and flexibility.  If an organization is systematically denying groups access to leadership roles, the organization will suffer.  It also strengthens the employment brand for a company to support diversity.

Four steps of the Self-Driven Leadership Development process

  1. Own your future
  2. Break down barriers
  3. Learn critical leadership skills
  4. Apply your skills to your work

Leadership Barriers model:

 

leadership barriers model

No Comments