Advice For Women On Developing A Leadership Style

摘自华尔街日报

When working at a Washington, D.C., foundation a few years ago, Jennifer Christian Murtie was promoted to oversee three staffers. She worried about how to project authority without seeming mean.

How am I going to get these people to listen to me?’ Ms. Christian Murtie, now 31 years old, recalls thinking.

Developing a leadership style is a challenge for most young managers, but particularly for young women. Leadership experts say they must navigate a ‘double-bind’: If they assert themselves forcefully, people may perceive them as not acting feminine enough, triggering a backlash. But if they act in a stereotypically feminine way, they aren’t seen as strong leaders. ‘This is a particularly challenging process for women early in their careers,’ says Herminia Ibarra, a professor at Insead, a business school with campuses in France and Singapore, who has studied women’s leadership styles. ‘It’s one of their big hurdles.’

One major problem is a shortage of female role models. People often learn leadership styles by observing others; but there are often few female executives to observe. Women can watch male leaders too, of course, but men can’t illustrate how to navigate female stereotypes.

Experts suggest several strategies. If there aren’t many female leaders at their employer, young women should join professional associations or community organizations to find role models. These nonwork settings also offer young women a chance to try out new leadership styles outside the office.

At work, young women should enlist mentors and solicit feedback on leadership techniques. After a meeting, ask a trusted superior what behaviors worked and what didn’t. Asking subordinates for feedback, however, is usually a mistake because it can indicate the leader is unsure of herself — a perception young female managers particularly want to avoid. In theory, these mentors could be either men or women, but young women should realize that male mentors may not be as aware of the unique challenges young women face in asserting leadership.

Deborah Kolb, a professor at Simmons School of Management in Boston, says it is important for young female managers to ask superiors to back them up when others second-guess them. Women should ask their bosses to be ready to explain why they were chosen and what skills they bring to the position. Many women don’t ask for this support.

Ms. Christian Murtie wasn’t sure how to exert authority initially. She had just been promoted from office manager, loosely supervising the receptionist, to administrative director with three reporting to her. It was her first job with real authority managing others.

She was preoccupied with wanting to be seen as nice. ‘The most difficult thing for me was taking an authoritative stance when I needed to — part of it was age, part of it was gender and part of it was my personality,’ she says. ‘I was uncomfortable having to give negative feedback.’

Early on, one of her employees wasn’t performing well. She gave him ‘a little pep talk’ with a sympathetic tone, but wasn’t explicit. ‘Nothing changed,’ she recalls. She realized she needed to be more direct. So she spelled out specific requirements for him to keep his job. She tried not to be harsh, but clear and straightforward. It worked; his performance markedly improved.

She sought out a mentor at work whose style seemed like it would work well with her own personality. Her mentor was ‘very straight and to the point and upfront, but in a really nice way,’ Ms. Christian Murtie says. She asked the other woman about her leadership style and observed how she led others. She noticed the woman led by example. She gained respect from staffers because she herself was willing to work extra hours when needed and threw herself into projects.

Ms. Christian Murtie is now a manager at an investment-consulting firm in Boston. There, she has had to ask an underperforming employee to leave. The woman had only been working there a couple of months but wasn’t up to par. Ms. Christian Murtie told the woman that she wasn’t coming close to meeting expectations and that she would have to be let go. She believes the woman ‘appreciated the honesty.’

Ms. Christian Murtie also had to manage the morale of her other staffers. She quickly held a meeting to explain why the woman had been let go, and how they would cover her duties while searching for a replacement. She told staffers the woman had seemed promising in job interviews, but wasn’t doing a good job. Ms. Christian Murtie said she would take on some of the work herself rather than dumping it all on others.

The meeting ‘seemed to go really well,’ she says.

It reinforced the importance of being clear and direct with her staffers. ‘When people feel like they don’t know what’s going on, they get very disheartened,’ she says.

漫谈女性如何形成自己的领导风格

几年前当詹妮弗•克里斯蒂安•莫蒂(Jennifer Christian Murtie)在一家基金会工作时,她得到提拔并负责管理3个手下的工作。在当时,她所担心的问题是如何能在不板着面孔的情况下行使职权。

如今已经31岁的克里斯蒂安•莫蒂回忆道,当时想的是如何让手下人能听自己的话。

对 于大多数年轻的经理人而言,培养自己的领导风格都不是一件容易事,对年轻女性而言这项挑战就尤为严峻。领导学专家称,女性的领导风格面临着左右为难的境地 ──如果表现得过于强势,则可能会被认为缺乏女人味,进而引发冲突;如果刻板地按女性的方式做事,则不会被当作领导对待。欧洲工商管理学院 (INSEAD)研究女性领导风格的教授赫密尼亚•伊巴拉(Herminia Ibarra)称,年轻女性在事业的起步阶段面临的挑战尤其大,这是她们职业生涯的一大障碍。

主要问题在于缺少现成的女性领导模式。一般人通常是通过观察他人来学习领导风格,但现实生活中一般很少有女性领导可供参考。当然,女性也可以拿男性领导作参考,但这无法为如何确立女性领导风格提供指导。

专家们为解决这一问题提出了几种办法。如果工作中接触不到很多女性领导,年轻女性可以参加职业协会或社区组织以寻找领导榜样。这些与工作无关的交际还能使年轻女性有机会在工作之外试验新的领导风格。

在 工作中,年轻女性应该征求指导意见或是人们对其领导技巧的反馈。在一场会议后,可以询问某个可信赖的上司什么做法能起作用,而什么做法不顶事。然而,向属 下征求反馈意见通常是一种错误的做法,因为这会暴露出女领导对自己缺乏信心,而这种印象是女性经理人尤其想要避免的。理论上说,提供指导的人可以是男性也 可以是女性,但要认识到的是,男上司可能无法意识到年轻女性在维护其领导力时遇到的独有问题。

波士顿西蒙斯管理学院(Simmons School of Management)的教授黛博拉•寇伯(Deborah Kolb)表示,当年轻女经理遭他人事后质疑时,请求上司的支援有重要作用,她们还应该请老板就选她担任该职务的原因和理由在必要时作出解释。然而许多职 场女性并没有请求此类支援。

克里斯蒂安•莫蒂一开始并不清楚如何行使职权。她由一位对公司接待员进行松散监督的办公室经理,被提拔成为直接管理三个下属的行政主管。这才是她第一份真正的管理工作。

于是她满脑子想的都是如何作出好的表现。她表示,对她而言最难的莫过于摆出权威姿态,而这种困难与她的年龄、性别和个性都有关系。当时的情况是,向下属提出负面反馈意见是件很令她头疼的事情。

一开始,她的一个手下表现不好。她用关心而婉转的语气与那位下属进行了一次鼓励性的谈话,但这名下属没有任何改变。这让她意识到有必要把话说得更直白些。随后她对这位下属提出了具体的要求,其表达并不严厉,但清楚和坦率。这一次起到了效果,下属的表现明显得到改善。

克 里斯蒂安•莫蒂称,她在工作中找到了一位指导,而这位指导的领导风格看起来正对她的个性。这位指导非常坦率、中肯和直接,但方法很好。她要求这位指导评价 她的领导风格,并观察此人是如何做领导工作的。克里斯蒂安•莫蒂发现这位女性领导能够以身作则。由于她的全情投入和超时工作,她得到了下属的尊敬。

克里斯蒂安•莫蒂现在是波士顿一家投资咨询公司的经理。有一次,她必须要解雇某位表现欠佳的女职员。这名女职员入职不过几个月,但达不到工作要求。于是她告知这名职员其工作表现达不到期望的水平,因此不得不被解雇。而她也相信,这名女职员“欣赏她的诚实”。

除此之外,她还要考虑其他下属的士气问题。于是迅速召开会议就解雇此员工的原因作出解释,并就找到替换人手前的工作缺口作出安排。她告诉手下,这名女职员在面试时表现的很可靠,但实际工作表现却不好。她向下属表示,自己也会分担一部分离职员工的工作,不会都甩给其他人做。

克里斯蒂安•莫蒂称,会议很成功。

她表示,这个例子凸显出与下属明确、直接地进行沟通的重要性。当人们不知就理时,心情就会很沮丧。

1 Comment »

  1. 1
    web Says:

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