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Are you a Rapunzel or a ladder kicker?

By March 12, 2012December 19th, 2016No Comments

I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Jen Dalitz, the Founder and SheEO of Sphinxx and Australia’s thought leader on gender balance. We talked at length about women being our own worst enemies and the increasing need to support each other in the work place.

It’s an unfortunate state of play that even in the year 2012 and with ongoing celebration of International Women’s Day there continues to be a group of women in business colloquially known as the Queen Bees.  Women that have achieved success, that bask in all its glory and are ready, willing and able to push back down the ladder any female co-worker that is wanting to progress – and god forbid if they want to do it with flexible working conditions!

There is no doubt that the advancement of women and achieving a gender-balanced approach to the workforce is simply better for business.  Research is proving time and again that the results from companies with a relevant mix of men and women perform better.  And the most progressive companies are realizing that women still represent a largely untapped source of talent and future leaders.

So why is it that that some women can’t support each other’s success?  Why do some women find it challenging to accept a more feminine leadership style?  Why do some leaders and organizations find it so difficult to support and create an environment of true flexible working for their male and female colleagues – not offer part-time but then expect to contact the employee 24/7 or in fact offer a full time job on part-time hours with no support team (as a contact shared with me only just this weekend).

As women, there is no doubt that we are more risk averse and that we need to take personal responsibility for putting ourselves forward, asking for what we want and following our dreams and passions. At the end of the day if we don’t ask we don’t get.  At the same time, organisations and leaders need to provide encouragement and the opportunities for supertalented men and women to shine.  Maybe the traditional way of working, recruiting and interviewing is not the right way any more?

Jen talked about there being Rapunzals and Ladder Kickers in the workplace.  We agreed that the best advice is to walk away from the Ladder Kickers and find the Rapunzals out there.  Women who will let down their hair to help younger women move up the career ladder.  Women who are curious about others and finding leaders of the future.  Women who are willing to show the way, mentor and coach, providing opportunities for others – men and women – to shine, to grow and succeed.

Which one are you?  Let’s support the Rapunzals out there as they are the ones who are forcing change and shaping the organisations of the future.





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