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Post Webinar Q&A with Bill Treasurer on Courageous Leadership for Women

October 20, 2011

Bill Treasurer recently partnered with us to deliver a free webinar on Courageous Leadership for Women. Treasurer is the founder and Chief Encouragement Officer of Giant Leap Consulting, Inc.  During the session, he highlighted courage as the most important leadership virtue, and provided strategies that women can apply to the workplace to broaden their leadership influence.

The following question came in for Bill after the session:

What advice would you give a female leader who needs to conduct business in a foreign country that doesn’t accept women as decision makers?

First, accept the reality that it is not your responsibility to change the culture of an entire country. In other words, when in Rome…that said, you do not have to sublimate your own dignity or compromise your self-respect.

I’m assuming that you’ve been sent to the foreign country as part of a temporary assignment. If that’s so, it would be constructive to have a candid and courageous conversation with the bosses who sent you on the assignment. Is keeping your mouth shut and not offering your input on decisions an expectation that your bosses have of you while on this assignment? If so, can you live with this reality for the duration of the project? If not, leverage the influence of your bosses rather than trying to change the behavior of the supervisors you are working with in the foreign country. Be clear with your bosses about the compromises that you are willing to make, and more importantly not willing to make. Then have them work with their counterparts in the foreign country.

Simultaneously, find ways to be involved in making smaller or more trivial decisions. If your foreign supervisors start to draw value from your input, they may involve you in larger, more consequential decisions. Smaller displays of courage often create ripples of expanding concentric circles, whereby smaller acts of courage and assertive behavior often result in larger opportunities to demonstrate even more courage. But it takes time. Patience will work better than pushiness. So bide your time, and strive to act courageously in smaller but consistent (and persistent) ways.

Interested in viewing his entire presentation? Download the recording below.

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