Tuesday, February 11, 2020

#LeadershipTuesdays: Laws of Leadership for Black Women

"In order to become a leader and remain an effective one, you must always consider yourself a Very Important Person (VIP). This doesn’t mean that you should be arrogant or cocky and walk into your job believing that you already know everything you need to know. 

Instead, it means that you need to feel confident that you are bringing much value to any workplace and that your cultural strengths, values, and work ethic will stand you in good stead as you go about learning how to do your job, and that you will be successful despite any challenges you may face, whether they are small or large."

--Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood and Rhonda Joy McLean Joy McLean, Authors, "Laws of Leadership for Black Women"

Every other Tuesday, WOMEN AT LIBERTY provides Leadership Tuesdays, a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage and strengthen women leaders. Today's we offer an inspiring quote from the authors of "The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women" and a recent Wall Street Journal article on the disappointing lack of women in CEO roles.

Currently there are 33 women CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies, a net increase of nine from 2018 to 2019. For women of color, the results are not so promising. Ursula Burns, one of the most visible black women Fortune 500 CEOs, retired from Xerox as the CEO and Chairman of Xerox in 2016 leaving a definite void. Last year, Mary Winston was the only one woman of color on the list of Fortune 500 CEOs when she was named interim CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond. She held the interim position for seven months.

The issues that are preventing women from reaching the top leadership positions include access to C-Suite positions, being considered for the "CEO pipeline", and also sponsors that help them get leadership opportunities in operations where they will get profit and loss (P&L) responsibilities. One thing is for sure you have to have mentors and sponsors who believe in you and your abilities and are willing to open doors for you. Otha "Skip" Spriggs, President and CEO of the Executive Leadership Council, a nonprofit organization that opens channels of opportunity for the development of Black executives, said that there is not a lack of talented and qualified Black managers, but there is 'an access issue'.

Lastly as the quote above encourages, women especially women of color must see themselves as C-suite and CEO material and prepare yourself throughtout your career for these type of opportunities. Seek training and assignments that will develop your leadership skills. Further, don't get pigeonholed in traditional managerial tracks that don't offer P&L and other operations' experience. You are capable, you are smart, you bring value and you have a work ethic that prepares you to lead at the highest level. Carpe Diem!

To read today's featured article, "Where Are All the Women CEOs ( WSJ), click here. Follow us on Twitter at: @LeadershipTuesdays

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