Pushed off the glass cliff

 
Women in senior management are more likely than men to be sacked or forced out. The frequency with which this happens has been recognised by a new corporate phrase "pushed off the glass cliff".  Researchers at the global management company Strategy& found that women are forced out of chief executive positions more than a third of the time , while only a quarter of men in a similar position suffer the same fate. The reason, women are " out siders". 
 
Female chief executives who are forced out are frequently labelled as being outsiders either in the sense of having been brought in from outside the organisation or of failing to "fit in " in the boardroom. They failed to understand the culture of the organisation. They didn't fit in with colleagues who thought them "too bossy". A term reserved to describe women! Whether this is because women as senior managers are expected to have a more collaborative leadership style and thus disappoint or simply that behave which is considered assertive by a man is viewed as aggressive by a women. 
 
What is clear is that female chief executive are given less time to get it right. May be it's a case of well we took a chance on the appointment it hasn't worked out best act quick to change things. May be it a case of double standards women have to achieve more in a shorter time to be considered as good. Whatever the reason having broken through the glass ceiling women risk being pushed off the glass cliff.
 
Blair McPherson author of An Elephant in the room- about equality and diversity in the public sector published by Russell House www.blairmcpherson.co.uk 
 
 
 
 

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2 Comments

FM
Former Member 5 Years Ago
Perhaps if we just revert to using 'the greasy pole' and be done with it then?
Heidi De Wolf 5 Years Ago
I think some of the tensions you describe come from the research which suggests that hierarchy is a male construct. Without wishing to stereotype as I know many men who do not fit this behaviour, more men are deemed alpha and competative in nature, trades which gotten them to the top of the organisation. When a woman expresses these same (male) trades, she is deemed aggressive. Getting women involved in leadership needs to take into account this tension. Many women (and again I know some who do not fit this criteria) are less competitive and more collaborative in nature. Their leadership style more closely matches 'Community Leadership' even within organisations and embraces the psychology of people as an important factor in organisations. These trades also makes women less ambitious, thus less willing to 'fight' their way up the corporate ladder. This research video may be of interest - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q-bB-qywJ0