How much should successful female executives do to help other women succeed?

Many female executives are "getting lost in the leadership labyrinth."

Many female executives are “getting lost in the leadership labyrinth.”


No matter what you call it, the problem of gender inequality persists, but today more corporate leaders and employment consultants are offering programs to help women finally reach their goals.  Mentoring and coaching is crucial for women who need to see how others have navigated their way through the leadership labyrinth. 

With Baby Boomers filling most executive ranks and with qualified replacements increasingly scarce, an aggressive focus on talent management may be the only solution to an impending talent crisis.  Over 15 years, workplaces will shift to a new generation of leaders.  This poses a profound management problem….as Generation X succeeds the Boomer Generation.

Gen X managers, especially women managers, have been poorly mentored by their organizations to assume the responsibilities they will inherit.  The boomers have not been good about sharing their knowledge and experience; Gen X has not been good about tapping into it

Since the culture at most companies has been shaped over time by male executives, women are at a disadvantage when it comes to gender-based differences in communication styles.  However, these cultural disadvantages can be reversed when women executives learn how to think and act in concert with the existing corporate culture by seeking the help of a mentor or executive coach.

In a study of 500 women conducted by Shapiro Barash, a gender-studies professor at Marymount Manhattan College, 70% felt that male bosses treated them better than female bosses did.  Also, 65% of the women over age 50 admitted that they’d prefer to mentor women in their 20s instead of women in their late 30s or 40s.

The reason?  A female Baby Boomer is often uncomfortable helping a woman “who might get her job next,” says Professor Barash.  Her research is detailed in a new book about women and rivalry, “Tripping the Prom Queen.”


Some women are rethinking mentor/protegee relationships

The key question for successful female executives is: How much should I do to help younger women succeed at work and in life?