Critics claim that the women CEOs and executives are particular targets by colleagues, staff, the media, and even online trolls. On the other side of the argument, some claim that women must be held to the same standards men. The circumstances of every compliant, accusation or misstep are unique, but it is clear that many women feel that there is a target on their backs.
In light of this criticism recently seen in the news of the suspended Recording Academy CEO Deborah Duggan (facing accusations of creating a toxic work environment and other things) and embattled Best Buy CEO Corrie Barry (facing allegations of an affair), high-profile women executives go through many of the same kind of accusations of their male counterparts. Still, the subtext is tinged with a sentiment that powerful women are unpleasant, and their ambition is un-lady-like.
Advice given by female executives
The criticism may not be fair, but that should not mean that women should stop striving to lead. Below are several tips offered by female executives on behaviors they embraced to handle the pressures of their job better and take their career to the next level:
- Don’t say “I think”: While she likes debate and discussion, Kate Lewis of Hearst Publishing stopped starting sentences with this phrase so she would not undercut her ideas in front of others.
- Embrace me time: Heather Marianna, founder of Beauty Kitchen, shed the guilt of scheduling time for herself to become centered, focused, happier, and even more productive.
- Do not take the first offer: Samantha Dong of ALLY Shoes had shunned negotiation until she realized that it is not about winning or outsmarting the other side. Instead, it’s about finding common ground and creative solutions.
- No more micromanaging: Vanessa Yakobson of Blo Blow Dry Bar realized she needed to empower her staff to do what they excel at, which allows her to focus on her priorities.
- Stay off social media: Sarah Luna of Pure Barre found that she took online criticism from trolls personally, which created distraction and doubts in her ability to do her work.
Figure out what works
Women business leaders must each find a solution that works for them. This can mean embracing one of the above behaviors or finding another one that works. Ideally, this can make for a better executive who empowers their staff to succeed and grow the company. But it also can give executives (women or men) the kind of inner strength needed if they do come under fire. If they feel that the criticism is unfair or crosses into a civil rights issue, it may be wise to speak with an attorney who handles business law and employment law. These legal professionals can often help executives form a sound strategy for dealing with fair and unfair challenges.