Monday, March 29, 2010

Women's History Month--Women's Leadership Part 2 | Integrity

I have had some time to reflect on the previously posted Wall Street Journal (WSJ) articles on why women mistreat each other in the work place. If you missed the previous blog with the articles, please see the links at the end of this blog. When I think about playing “the game” in the workplace and succeeding on the playing field, one word really sticks in my mind and that is integrity. I really thought about what were some of the leadership traits that I most admire and while I respect leaders who have great vision and accomplishments, charisma, empathy, and respect for others, I think integrity is one of the most important attributes one can have.

Integrity determines how we play the game of life as well as how we lead in life. If we don't possess a strong sense of what is ethical, then we will allow ourselves to cheat and sham our way to the top. The news headlines are filled with examples of employees and executives who have compromised and ended up in jail.

My first job was at AT&T and at AT&T, integrity among other things, such as respect for the individual, was a core value. In fact, in the government division where I started my career, each year we went through Corporate Professional Integrity Program training. At the end of the yearly sessions, we signed a statement signifying that we understood the tenets of the program and agreed to adhere to the tenets of the program. One of the key phases that I will always remember from the training was, “corporations don’t go to jail, people do.” When making a business decision, we were told to think about how we would feel if the decision and consequences were reported on the front page of the Washington Post. That yearly training reinforced a strong sense of ethics in me that has served me well. I am really thankful to that company for reinforcing in me a strong commitment to ethics and professional integrity

One of the reasons I believe women fail to truly respect and value one another is we are often seeking acceptance from people who require us to be cut throat, disingenuous, sabotage others, and cut others down to be in the “in crowd”. Those women must be respectfully challenged on their behavior. Competitive behavior that emphasizes and celebrates winning at any cost must be discouraged. Just as it is important to follow the rules in sports competition, it is important to embrace sound ethical standards as one seeks to lead in the workplace and in life. It is important how we play the game because true champions win without cheating!

The godly walk with integrity... Proverb 20:7a New Living Translation Bible (

Wall Street Journal Articles:
Preoccupations: A Sisterhood of Workplace Infighting by Peggy Klaus

The Juggle: When Women Derail Other Women in the Office by Rachel Emma Silverman

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Can you hear me now? Injustice at the right price.

You were silent...Injustice metamorphose in silence. The unconscionable becomes not only justifiable, but allowable especially when the right price is paid for the silence.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Women's History Month: Women's Rights

When Elizabeth Cady married abolitionist Henry Brewster Stanton in 1840, she'd already observed enough about the legal relationships between men and women to insist that the word obey be dropped from the ceremony.
When I read this line in Elizabeth Cady Stanton's biography on, I audibly chuckled.  Ms. Stanton, along with Susan B. Anthony were the founders and pioneers of the Women's suffrage and rights movement.  Public Television (PBS) is airing a wonderful series on their history and efforts.  This series, "Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony", was  produced by Ken Burns and Paul Barnes.  
The series, among other issues, presents the tension between securing voting rights for freed male slaves and white women and freed women slaves.  I strongly recommend that you take the time to watch.
For more information, click on Not For Ourselves Alone.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March is Women's History Month--Women and Leadership--Part 1

While reading the online edition of the Wall Street Journal, I ran across two articles that I'm going to share below.  I found them to be very interesting.  After reading the articles, I found myself questioning the reasons why women engaged in this behavior and how we can change the thinking that generates the behavior.

Peggy Klaus of the NY Times offered this poignant comment in her article:

Despite all the money spent annually on women’s leadership conferences and professional development programs, you’d be hard-pressed to find a workshop on women mistreating one another at work. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a huge proponent of women’s leadership programs. But teaching career skills is not enough if we ignore one of the most important reasons for holding these events in the first place: learning to value one another so we can all get ahead.

Ms. Klaus went on to say:

If we really want to clear one of the last remaining hurdles to gender parity and career success, let’s start treating one another not worse or better, but simply as well as we already treat the guys — or better yet, the way we want our nieces, daughters, granddaughters and sisters to be treated.

Preoccupations: A Sisterhood of Workplace Infighting  by Peggy Klaus

The Juggle: When Women Derail Other Women in the Office by Rachel Emma Silverman
I say, AMEN!  
Do you have any thoughts on the subject?