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There is a new kind of leadership brewing for millennial women at work and it's not aspiring to the c-suite

Posted by Apr 3, 2015 10:55:28 AM Ali Powell

Going through my morning ritual of reading The BroadSheet today I found an article about how more and more women are not hoping or looking to become part of the C suite. @kayelbee, thank you for writing this article today. It definitely spurred me to think about what leadership really means in our companies today. 

Here is the article that sparked my interest in sharing this post with you: 

Who wants to be CEO? Not millennial women.

This article talks about a study that recently came out from Saba and Workplace Trends.com about how 1/3 of global companies struggle to find senior leaders and only 12 percent of employees aspire to be at the corner office. 

Here is the report from Saba and Workplacetrends.com: 

Saba and WorkplaceTrends.com Release Global Findings of First “Global Workforce Leadership Survey”

what is leadership for millennials Here are a couple of bullet points of data and information that I thought were important enough to discuss. 

  • 36% of respondents who said they aspired to be at a c-level position were women. 
  • Millenials accounted for 31% of those that said they wanted a c-suite position. 
  • 68% of the older employees wanted top level jobs.

The article in Fortune talks about the reasons for this lack of wanting to have a job in a senior leadership position or at the c-suite being because of a lack of role models for women. The article talks about how women to want to be at the c-suite need to see more women in those roles. 



Saba's CMO, Emily He states that she thinks we need to start recognizing that millenials and women want to engage in leadership at work in different ways than just rising to the C-suite. She talks about allowing women and millenials to focus on becoming influencers in areas at work and making some kind of deeper impact that managing or directing things at work. 

I see this a lot at my own company. There are leaders everywhere that I look in my office. Not all of them are managers or directors or at the c-level but they are still leaders of their own kind. We need those kinds of leaders and should embrace those kinds of leaders in our workplace. That will help define a new kind of leadership within our companies. 

Thinking about my own experiences in relation to this article I do agree that skill development is a huge part of progressing as an employee at a company. Once you get good at your job and you know you can do the job well, you start to look to outside things to appeal to the learning that you need. People have a need and want to learn (for the most part), so we need to incorporate skill development and training into the longer term vision of our companies. 

It is interesting to think about this article in context to my own job and where I have come from 4 1/2 years ago starting at HubSpot. I definitely think I have grown and showed leadership through my own ways but I am not a manager and I don't think I want to be a manager. how to lead as a women in tech

There are ways that every employee can influence and lead in their companies. Here are some that I see working around me everyday:

  • Do you have a wiki or a centralized place where your employees can post what they are learning, post updates, ideas, etc. If you don't I would suggest getting one. This is a huge way for you as an employee to influence the way others view your job at your company. You will be able to share ideas and comment on posts and that exposes you to leadership as well as other ways of thinking. 
  • Take on new projects just because. Don't necessarily ask to "lead something," just do it. If you notice something that you think you can fix or do better then start to do it. Track what you do and then when you have some results bring it up to your manager or your team. 
  • Share what works well and doesn't work well on the job with your team. If you have  a team email you should use it reguarly. Share things that have worked well on the job and things that are not working well. Then you team members and colleagues can give you advice and ideas.
  • Help other colleagues around you out. If you hear someone on the phone doing something wrong or you think you could offer some advice, speak up and tell them your thoughts. Ask them if they would want some advice... These little things are helpful for other people around you and show leadership in natrual ways just by being helpful. 
  • Participate and get involved in things. Don't sit back and just do your job. Get involved where you see that you can and stand out with your ideas and knowledge. 
  • Become an internal resource and brain behind something. Take leadership by becoming so so so good at one thing and being the person who is the best at that one thing. Naturally you will start to lead through those skills and knowledge that you have in that area. 
  • When a colleague asks to meet with you or train their team on something that you do well, do it. Don't say no. Don't think oh, I don't have the time to do this. That is not what a leader would do. A leader would share their ideas and help other teams to grow by explaining what you know and sharing it for other people to benefit from. 

What do you think makes someone a leader when they are not a manager or part of the VP, C-suite level? 

Please share your ideas! 

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Topics: Women in Tech, women in sales, c-suite, leadership for women, women in leadership

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