Glass Ceiling or Slippery Floor?

by MSM Coaching on 12th November 2012

What an exceedingly interesting concept/installation is the glass ceiling. Used most often in relation to women and the corporate world, it’s a phrase much bandied about - perhaps overused? However, as one extremely successful and canny career woman I coached recently, was heard to say, “Breaking through is only your first step, it’s negotiating the slippery floor of the next level that can be tricky!”

Is it therefore a complete misperception that smashing the ceiling is the achievement; perhaps the reality is accolades should be reserved for those maintaining their balance with equanimity once on that next level? The moot question here is: is it tougher for a woman to negotiate a slippery glass floor than for her male counterparts? The presumed answer is YES but . . .

. . . as managers, MDs, business owners, coaches and mentors shouldn't we be maximising the heck out of any situation and all individuals; scrapping the glass ceiling, putting non-slip flooring in place on the next level and re-looking at how we bring forward business talent, regardless of gender. In this day and age surely business forward-thinking has to be all about drawing out, celebrating and working with the talent of the individual.

What about the elephant in the room? The pachyderm beneath the boardroom carpet? Can companies drastically improve the way they’re perceived by their female employees and executives? Can they make themselves more ‘desirable’? I use that word advisedly. Whilst it’s a known fact that men start their own companies because they want to be ‘the boss’, women generally start their companies because they want to better integrate work and family. If ‘family friendly’ is the reason many women are not smashing through the ceiling, negotiating the slippery floor and bringing their talent and expertise to our boardrooms – then the corporate world needs to really sit up and listen – or lose out!

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