Women In Charge

Could we please stop pretending women are beyond the glass ceiling and acknowledge we’re allowed to play in a man’s world?

Women of Achievement are at the top and stay there because of male mentors. Whether it’s a promotion from Switchboard operator to Library Clerk or Administrative Assistant to Congressional Aide, promotions for women at all levels are mostly due to male mentors. They identify women they respect, see opportunities for their advancement and suggest to the higher powers they be promoted. When they get a favorable response they then suggest to the woman she apply for the job. Let’s face it, men are better networkers and do it all the time. They share what they are doing, when, where, etc. with their friends and get suggestions for their own advancements as well.

So the highest ranking woman editor in newspaper land in America got laid off. Where was her mentor? Did she go against his wishes or were there too many enemies to overcome? From the interviews on Charlie Rose’s show it sounded like she got sideways with the true decision makers. They usually get what they want . If Hillary Clinton goes for President it’ll be because Bill has it all lined up. It’s too early to tell on that one. Personally, other than the hallmark of being the first woman President of the United States, I have no idea why she would wish herself that much grief at this stage in her life. But that’s another story.

When trouble begins, the woman in charge is the last to know. Either her network has failed to support her or she knows but doesn’t believe it. I’ve seen both and both were fatal. Men are better about bringing their support group with them when they go from job to job. Whether it’s a secretary, administrative assistant, or press secretary (either gender for any of those jobs) the decision maker is sure their gate-keeper is loyal. Much like the characters on the TV show “Blue Bloods”, they respect the man who signs their check and makes sure he’s protected at all times.
Unfortunately, women are mostly too emotional when it comes to business decisions. There are some that have “ice in their blood”, but for the most part we’re just hard-wired differently. Men at the lower levels will pass along tidbits they hear in order to be loyal to their mentors. Women tend to be too afraid of losing their jobs if they get involved and may gossip about the subject with other workers, but rarely take it to their mentor. Those that do share their information understand that most decisions are usually made on the golf course, at the gym, or in the mens locker room. For their loyalty to their mentor they are protected in turn.

If you really look at the careers of some of the most successful women in America today, you’ll find at least one male mentor. Members of Congress, corporate CEO’s, and small business owners all share one common thread – male mentors. I’ve had several in my life, and I appreciate every one of them. They opened doors for me that I would have never even knocked on. And yes, I’ve gotten crosswise of one or two over the years and suffered the consequences, but it was a learning experience I wouldn’t replace. As for the previous highest ranking woman in the newspaper industry, I’m sorry your network failed you. I have no doubt there is some other male who is interested in making you a Woman in Charge.

Until next time –