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We’ve broken the glass ceiling, we’ve “leaned in.” But why do so many women appear to want to lean out?

The doors are opening for women to progress to higher leadership more than ever before, but there's an interesting phenomenon occurring which to me says; forget the glass ceiling, we need to build a whole new architectural masterpiece!

Rather than making the changes to wedge that door firmly open by making the modern workplace an environment that women want to thrive in - we’re so exhausted from the climb that we're simply blending in to the dated landscape.

Increasingly women are climbing the corporate ladder, reaching the top and deciding their ladder is propped against the wrong wall; and I don’t blame them because the view ain't always pretty! It’s got to change.

Our opportunity is here to bust through those open doors and blaze our trails while holding on to our uniqueness. Rather than edging forward to top office and simply conforming to the 730am-6pm, black suit, high stress, low love way of doing things – NOW is the time to shake it up.

The glass ceiling is no longer our problem, women are bailing out of the windows before they even get there.

Women account for 51% of the non-management workforce. 40% for first- and mid-level manager positions, 32% at departmental head level and a mere 21% when you reach top exec level.

Women are choosing to opt out – leaving organisations not because they hit a glass ceiling but because tired of corporate cultures and practices that stand in the way of them working at their full potential or in the way they’d like.

It’s no surprise then that women leaders are the fastest-growing segment of self-employed entrepreneurs.

Women’s unique skill sets and the new vision of leadership that calls for emotional intelligence, inclusiveness, and connectedness should work to women’s advantage.

But, currently by the time we get there we’re often so exhausted by the climb we’ve dimmed ourselves down to fit in.

So, what can we do?

  • Don’t hide when you need to leave early to pick the kids up from school! At her recent event here in Adelaide, Mia Freedman described stashing her handbag in her car and then sifting through papers while pretending to be on the phone as she sneak out the door to pick up the kids. I’ve been there… Taking a flexible approach to work gives everyone else permission to do the same. Some might turn up their noses, but these are the ones that need to change. Not you.
  • Question the hours. Who decided that every job required a 9-5 (7-6) workload? We all think we’re filling every minute and still not achieving what we want to achieve, but I know more than a few women who have returned to their full time roles at three days per week and still make it work. They simply become more focussed and productive because they have no choice!  
  • Find your male allies. It’s no longer men vs women, it’s all of us vs the outdated norm. They are in need of a new landscape just as much as you are.
  • Find your voice. If something’s stinky, talk about it (unless it really is stinky, I get that that can be awkward). And rally your troops. We need to rise together.
  • Discover the value you bring, harness your strengths, hook yourself on to your compelling vision for the future and BLAZE YOUR TRAIL.

The ones who are leading fulfilling, successful careers and lives are the ones who have managed to harness their uniqueness. If you can’t do this where you are, your ladder is against the wrong wall. Find a new one, and don’t be afraid to smile a little if the wall crumbles as they discover what they’ve lost.

Do it your way.

Written by Tamsin Simounds

As a modern psychology practitioner and performance coach, Tamsin specialises in working with women who want to blaze a trail in business. Tamsin is known for showing leaders how to thrive, not just survive, in their careers and lives. Her unique, results driven and holistic approach utilises the latest in Leadership Strategy, Modern Psychology and Emotional Intelligence to create connected leaders with an increase in confidence and clarity that extends far beyond their role to have a positive impact in all areas of life.

You can learn more about Tamsin here and you can follow her Facebook page here. 

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