The Great Female Corporate Quit – is it you or your business willing to go on a new adventure?

78% of women are considering a new adventure, starting their own business, turning away from corporate environments where they feel they have to conform to succeed.

Go to the profile of Dr Sam Collins
Aug 07, 2014

A common strand links businesses across the country: the masculine model of organisational structure when most often men lead the way, recruit others in their image and communicate with each other based on a "superman" model of management. But there's a new generation of women and men who are tired of assuming that everyone wants to make it to the top and do in a 'no prisoners' way.

A recent survey of 1200 professional women by Aspire found that over 40% of them identified most with collaborative leadership - and almost 60% associated most with management characteristics including democratic, nurturing, calm, and egoless. This shift away from the more masculine management model comes at the same time as a call for more humanity in the workplace and redefining success - and collaborative leaders are the breath of fresh air that business need.

Businesses are struggling with how to motivate and retain an increasingly mobile and unforgiving workforce, and women in particular are not waiting around for change, with around 78% of women who answered the survey admitting that they were considering a new adventure themselves, starting their own business, turning away from an environment where they feel they have to conform to succeed.

Take one example of a woman I coach - let's call her Susan. Susan is a non fee earning position in a law firm, i.e. she is not a partner. She has a large team and a successful track record, yet she's been fighting a battle for a long time to be recognised as credible by many of her peers. When she witnessed yet another senior member of the firm appointed who had the right fit but the wrong experience (the pale, male and stale syndrome), she rang me to voice her frustration. Her words are still ringing in my ears: "I wish I was a man....I'm exhausted, I'm angry, I've had enough, maybe it’s time for me to leave".

Women shouldn't feel that they need to change who they are and conform to the 'traditional' mould of a leader - being authentic means we're more capable of getting better results, but importantly it also means we're more likely to be happy.

Businesses have got to recognise that there's more than one way of management - there are equally credible ways to lead a team or project that still lead to excellent results. The rise of collaborative leaders is something that businesses need to celebrate: they're likely to be courageous, intuitive, resilient and committed to making a difference through the strong relationships they build throughout their career. That's precisely the type of leader businesses should be targeting in an increasingly competitive landscape.

My advice to women who meet resistance? Work to change the culture of your organisation through collaboration. If your current organisation won't change its culture, then it's time for you to start your own adventure, find (or start) a more enlightened business.

Susan by the way is busy determining the new battle lines and her strategy to change her law firm for the better without changing herself. Is she mad? Maybe, but isn't that what business needs?

Connect with like minded women adventurers at The Aspire Connected Leadership event -

Go to the profile of Dr Sam Collins

Dr Sam Collins

Dream Coach and Psychologies 'Inspiration Hour' Radio Show Host, -

Pioneering social entrepreneur, award-winning coach, inspirational speaker, author, fiercely loving mother and wife and prominent women's leadership expert. Sam has been named one of the Top 200 Women to Impact Business & Industry by Her Majesty The Queen, one of the Top 10 Coaches in the UK, and 'Leader in the Workplace' by the Ogunte Women's Social Leadership Awards. Originally from the UK, Sam followed her dream and now lives in Southern California, near the ocean, with her husband and two young sons and is in the process of adopting her daughter from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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