Pat Summitt, retired basketball coach of the (Tennessee) Lady Volunteers, won more games than any college basketball coach, male or female. She summarizes her coaching system in “The Definite Dozen.” Look up the 12 parts of the system online and watch video clips of Summitt coaching on YouTube.
How would you characterize Summitt’s leadership style? Does she display masculine, feminine, or androgynous leadership traits and skills? Does her system of a dozen values reflect any gender patterns? How does Summitt balance agentic and communal leadership behaviors? As an athletic coach, does she encounter the same double standard for behavior that female politicians do? Could she be an effective coach for a male college basketball team? Would she be respected by the players?
Go online to a business magazine home page such as INC (http://www.inc.com) or Fortune (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune). In the search box, look up the phrase “women in leadership.” Read two or three of the articles and write a short summary of their content. How are these topics relevant for the workplace today? What does the new information contribute to our understanding of women in leadership? Option: Create a collaborative fishbone diagram showing how the leadership issues reported on are connected and indicate gaps in our knowledge.
Center for Creative Leadership
Go online to the Center for Creative Leadership (www.ccl.org). In the search box type in “women” and peruse the resources that are available. What needs do female leaders have that thiis organization addressing? Listen to the podcast (or read the transcript) of “Five Key Themes for High-Achieving Women Leaders.” What suggestions do you have for enacting them? Do men have similar themes? Why or why not?
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO
Go online and watch one or more of Sheryl Sandberg’s TED talks.
Option A) “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders” 2010 TED talk on “leaning in.” This talk started Sandberg’s rise to fame as a spokesperson for women’s issues in the workplace. Consider Sandberg’s three recommendations for women who want to succeed in business. Evaluate the merits of her suggestions. Why should men be interested in this topic?
Option B) “Ban the Word Bossy” TED talk. Which information is compelling and which is not? Have you experienced anything similar to this? What can we do with this insight today?
Option C) “So we leaned in . . . now what? TED interview. The onstage interview before a live audience took place after the publication of Sandberg’s book, Leaning In.
- How does seeing “people like yourself” (same sex, same age, same ethnicity) in an audience feel reassuring?
- Sandberg gives three reasons why it’s not okay to talk about being a woman in the workplace. What do you think?
- Sandberg says, “You cannot be a serious executive and talk about being a woman and be taken seriously.” Why not? Have you experienced this or know people who have?
- How is leadership like a journey?
- Do you agree with Sandberg’s statement that “we can change this by acknowledging it”?
- “Stereotypes are holding women back all over the world.” What evidence do you see that supports or refutes this claim?
- What would you do as a leader (on this issue or any other) if you were not afraid?
- How should a leader handle her doubts?
Lean In Circles
From leanin.org comes this definition: “Lean In Circles are small groups who meet regularly to learn and grow together. Circles are as unique as the individuals who start them, but they all share a common bond: the power of peer support. Women are asking for more and stepping outside their comfort zones, and men and women are talking openly about gender issues for the first time.”
Go online and peruse the resources of this new movement/organization.
- Look up “10 Tips for Graduates.”
- Utilize the free videos of expert lectures on “Power and Influence,” “Be Your Own Hero,” “Centered Leadership” and other topics.
- Consider the concept of accountability pairs. Would you find this useful?
Go online and research companies that are using Lean In Circles to discuss gender issues in their companies. An example is TIAA-CREF. Examine the format of the circles and the kinds of discussion questions that are used to bring up difficult issues.