This 2017 study of 12 female CEO’s by Saïd Business School, University of Oxford is long, but it’s worth persevering. The participants offer a candid account of career ambition and what it takes to succeed in our imperfect organisations.

Why we like this article

This 2017 article shares our belief that women must actively ‘own’ their career to progress to senior levels. It acknowledges that both consciously and unconsciously women can undermine their own efforts e.g. reluctance to self-promote

What do we learn from the female CEOs interviewed about their career success?
Self-acceptance: Admitting to yourself that you are ambitious and have leadership potential. Which means owning the work-life choices and the trade-offs you make, including what you may need to give up.

Self-development: Building networks to acquire knowledge and valuable relationships. Developing the strategic ‘big picture’ skills often attributed to male leadership. Ultimately creating a leadership style that can blend both ‘male’ and ‘female’ leadership behaviours.

Self-management: learning the skills needed to be accepted as a senior leader: ‘Toughening up”, risk taking and decision-making

And words of wisdom to the perfectionists who need to tick all the boxes…

“Choose your hill to die on… don’t try and fix everything”


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