Blog Articles By Topic
When leaders make mistakes the gravity of it seems all the greater and the stakes higher. And women leaders often hold themselves to unrealistic standards no one could live up to. With all the decisions a leader must make in a day, it is inevitable that sometimes the wrong decision will be made. Plus, to […]
“Fortune [favors] the bold, and you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try.” — Sheryl Sandberg We women leaders hear it often, and many of us say it often: Accentuate the positive! Play off your strengths! We’ve got the ability to inspire others to fly their confidence flag. But when it comes […]
If there’s one common thing that frustrates women leaders, it’s coping with on-the-job conflict. You aim to keep your department or workplace free of drama, bickering and insubordination. But inevitably, petty encounters and conflict situations arise. Even diplomatic bosses dread diffusing battles between co-workers, or worse, between themselves and an upset employee. Many women leaders project […]
When it comes to body language, there are two qualities people look for in a leader: warm (qualities like liability, caring and empathy) and authority (characteristics like power, status and credibility).
There’s no question that having a mentor is a good thing. A mentor is someone who has experience, can be trusted and both encourages and supports you. Who wouldn’t want this kind of person in their life? But that leaves one question, what are the keys to building a lasting relationship? Where do I find […]
How empathetic are you? Are you in tune with your team? Empathy’s considered such a vital skill that there’s a new focus on empathy training, which is sweeping through Fortune 1000 companies like Cisco and Ford.
Burnout is an epidemic affecting the modern workplace today. All of us experience stress at work at one time or another, but burnout is a different beast. While the two can feel very similar, it is crucial to your well-being that you’re able to recognize when you are crossing that line. Equally, if not even […]
We are organized, punctual and efficient—most of the time. We are great at prioritizing and masterful schedulers. Despite all this, stress happens. Even personal situations such as illness, family needs, moving or prepping for a vacation can shake our career focus and ratchet up stress levels. People who constantly stress experience poorer health outcomes and […]
Want a way to close the pay gap in your own company? Pay transparency is one way. Yes, it can certainly pit employees against each other, but it could also be the answer to closing the pay gap between men and women. Citigroup, the fourth largest bank, just revealed that women earn 29% less than […]
Think for a minute: Who were the mentors you’ve had as you’ve progressed in your career? Chances are a large proportion of them were other women. Maybe all of them were.
As women, we continue to face challenges in the workplace year after year. We hope it will improve with time, but unfortunately, that is still not the case. What continues to drive these issues, and what can be done to work towards improvement?
An annual survey conducted by Deloitte offers some insight into the stress women are experiencing in the workplace. They found stress continues to rise, with 53% of women reporting their stress levels are higher than they were last year. 47% still classify their work/life balance as poor or very poor. Many women still report not feeling they have an equal chance for upward mobility and over half report this (along with stress and burnout) to be the main reasons for wanting to leave their current employers.
What is driving this lack of satisfaction for women in the workplace?
For one, the working women of today are STRESSED! 46% would go as far as to report they feel BURNT OUT. And only 33% report taking time off work to take care of their mental health, with only 39% being comfortable disclosing their need for time to care for their mental health with their employers. These numbers tend to be even worse for women in minority groups, with 49% reporting burnout, and only 27% comfortable asking for time off due to mental health.
And it doesn’t get much better when you look at the reports on work-life balance, a major contributor to work-related stress. Despite the increased flexibility over the last year for remote or hybrid working schedules, work-life balance continues to be a challenge, especially for women. It seems flexible work schedules are either not offered, not encouraged, or not supported by as many employers as it may seem. Only 22% of women report that their employer has offered flexibility when it comes to where and when they work. Only 26% who were offered flexible options felt they actually had a clear understanding of their employer’s expectations of what was expected of them now. 90% of women feel that even if they were to be granted flexibility, their workload would not be adjusted accordingly, only causing further stress. And 94% of women believe requesting flexibility from their employer would negatively affect their chances for upward mobility. Overall, 47% of working women today rate their work-life balance as poor or very poor.
A lack of inclusivity seems to be a player here as well. 59% of women (up from 53% in 2021) report experiencing non-inclusive behaviors at work. Hybrid schedules seem to be the worst when it comes to inclusivity, with 58% of women reporting feeling excluded compared to only 36% of women reporting the same while working fully remote. And 75% of hybrid workers report feeling burnt out compared to the 46% that reported the same while fully remote. Deloitte explained a possible reasoning for this stating, “Hybrid working is also not delivering the predictability that many women—including those with caregiving responsibilities— seek. Sixty-four percent of hybrid workers indicate their employer hasn’t set clear expectations around where and how they’re expected to work.”
So what can be done? With their insight, Deloitte has a couple of suggestions.
- Address the Burnout epidemic
- Make mental health a priority in the workplace
- Consider flexible work options for woman
- Work on instilling a truly INCLUSIVE work culture
- Assess and address the challenges of the hybrid work arrangement
This month was dedicated to confidence here at Progressive Women’s Leadership. Developing confidence is incredibly important in the workplace, especially for women who face prevailing gender-bias. When considering appropriate reading for this topic, I wanted to find something that would make a real-life positive impact on the reader. After all, confidence is not something you are born with, but something you must work on. And what better way to “work out” your confidence muscle than with exercise?
The author of “Wake Up the Winner Inside,” Karla Brandau points out in her introduction, “I did exercises for the body every day, so why not also do exercises for the mind and call them mental aerobics?”
In her book, Karla lays out 13 mental aerobics for the reader to practice helping build psychological strength and value. While I read through the chapters one by one, Karla suggests dedicating a week to an individual aerobic at a time so the reader can effectively practice and instill the associated values.
Each aerobic includes an affirmation. Affirmations have been scientifically shown to affect our brains in ways that cause tangible results in our future behaviors. Meaning, through the simple action of repeating a positive value to ourselves, we are likely to see that value reflected more in our everyday lives.
But the aerobics are much more than affirmations.
Each aerobic is broken down into 4 takes:
- The explanation of the aerobic and affirmation
- “Karla’s Coaching Corner” where the author explores the in-depth nuances of the aerobic
- “Conditioning Exercises” which detail specific exercises to aid in practice
- “When the Winner Awakes” which reveals the signs the reader will notice when the aerobic has started to take effect in everyday life.
Karla lays out a solid plan for not only affirming the positive change the reader might like to see, but also simple exercises that allow them to put these values into practice. The theory being that if we exercise our mind, like we do our bodies, we can become mentally stronger and more prepared to face future challenges.
A wide variety of topics and issues are covered over the course of the book’s 13 mental aerobics. I found myself relating to the issues presented throughout and feeling a sense of relief at the concrete exercises and solutions offered. The information is easily digestible and dotted with humor, stories, and humble recollections of the author’s own experiences. It has the feeling of taking part in personal coaching sessions with the author herself.
All in all, “Wake Up the Winner Inside,” by Karla Brandau was a fantastic read. I expected a book of exercises would be quite dry, like a checklist. However, Karla does an excellent job of presenting the exercises while simultaneously entertaining the reader at every turn. It feels personal, empathetic, and even inspiring at times. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is determined to make a positive change in their mental resilience and needs an easy-going gateway to achieving real results.