There’s been a lot of attention lately on women in leadership roles especially since the release of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In. Saturday, more than 150 women will gather in Boise for the annual Go Lead Idaho Conference. It's meant to help engage women in leadership and civic participation.
Tabby Biddle will give the opening speech. Biddle is a woman’s leadership expert and writer. We asked her if women face more challenges then men in the workplace.
“For men, there’s sort of an expected leadership, even with example, the tone of a male voice, because it is lower. There have been studies that show those with lower tone voices are seen with more authority. So some very simple human characteristics that make things easier for some and more challenging for others,” says Biddle.
“But also in the workplace, I just got finished reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, and she talks about this correlation for women who are successful and have achieved a lot in the workplace, there’s a higher stance of unlikeability.
So a successful woman is seen as un-likeable, where as a successful man is seen as likeable. There have been studies done showing this. It puts women in a very tricky position because what many women do is downplay their voice, or downplay their inner knowing, where they might step forward and speak out about a certain issue or a new creative idea that they have. So I think women in the workplace sometimes have to work against themselves just to be liked, and that’s a very difficult place to be.”
Q. You work with women leaders and help them to articulate their message and get it out there. What challenges do you see the women facing and how do you help them overcome that?
A. A lot of women who come to me, they’re on the cusp of really claiming what they’re calling is and what’s keeping them from it is the belief that what they’re feeling inside of them is real. Meaning they feel inside of them some big calling to step forth as a leader, whatever the area they might be in, whether it’s for women and girl empowerment, or bringing more compassion in the world, or helping giving girls a voice, whatever the area is, there’s a self-doubt that happens inside of them. It says, can this be real? I’m feeling this bigness that I’m meant to do this big thing, but can it be real?
Q. What do you hope women take away from the Go Lead Idaho conference?
A. I hope take away trust in themselves and confidence that it’s their turn now, it’s their turn to lead. And that they walk away feeling they have a sisterhood of support. Not just the women who are there in the conference, certainly that’s the foundational level, but that we are building circles of support, nationally and internationally as women, helping each other each come out more and more in our truth and our leadership.
Tabby Biddle is a leadership expert. Her work has appeared in the Huffington Post and USA Today. She gives the opening address at the third annual Go Lead Idaho Conference starts tomorrow morning at Boise State.