What if Self-promotion is a Gender-Neutral Leadership Skill?

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Sometimes true wisdom hides behind sensational headlines. I often think this when I read gender wars articles; you know, the ones that toss the sexes in the ring?

Here’s my latest beef: Women need to self-promote to make more money. (Forbes Woman , Catalyst Inc.)

So apparently women suck at self-promotion. Is that the deepest wisdom here?

I’m not arguing the data, but rather the interpretation.

True Leadership is Gender Neutral

I’m a champion of women in business,  but my gender lens is screwed on a little funny. See, I start with the premise that people (men and women) who want to change the world have to advance to positions of power and influence to have the greatest impact. To have a meaningful impact when they get there, they need to work out their own “stuff” and claim their personal power along the way. So anything that helps them do that, including learning to toot their own horn so they can advance and gain greater scope of responsibility – is great.

Women aren’t alone, by the way. IT professionals including CIOs – a notoriously male dominated sector – apparently suffer from the same discomfort with self-promotion.

Why should women have a chip on their shoulder about this? Because of equal pay? The study itself says that women can close this gap themselves by learning this leadership skill, so dump the chip and speak up, Ladies.

True Leadership Challenges Us To Claim Our Power

The fact that some people, many of whom are women, find self-promotion culturally and emotionally uncomfortable is simply an indicator that owning our accomplishments is an area where all leaders must learn to claim personal power.

Coaching Tip: Don’t want to be a braggart? Then don’t be. Learn to own your success without bragging.

This question – about self-promotion, how it helps us and what we’re comfortable with – intrigues me so much that I’m fielding a survey on the subject through the end of January. Take the survey here (you can request copy of the results for free when it’s published).

promoting yourself

Credit Image: beautiful peacock via Shutterstock

Dana Theus

InPower Leadership Development & Coaching- Helping you live into your purpose through your work. Sign up for my weekly 1-minute coaching newsletter.


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