Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day, which marks over a century of celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The perception of women both in the workplace and in leadership roles has changed significantly over the last 100-plus years, but there’s still work that needs to be done.
I first heard the phrase “perception is reality” when I began my career in marketing more than 10 years ago. At the time, I didn’t give it much thought. It was another piece of jargon used by marketers to create better campaigns and a bit of healthy competition. Now, over a decade later, it resonates with me more than I would have ever imagined.
Since transitioning from marketing to organizational development, I have come to view the phrase from a different angle and to recognize how the concept could be used to develop stronger female leaders.
I often talk about this idea when I discuss feedback and, specifically, about its importance in creating awareness among newer leaders. Understanding feedback and perception is essential to leadership and organizational success. We give feedback based on our perceptions of those we work with. In sharing and listening to feedback, we can use this to our advantage.
The idea that “perception is reality” is particularly relevant when looking at women in the workplace and how we can help more of them rise to positions in leadership.
We can take one of two approaches:
- Perceive that there are no barriers to women advancing up the corporate ladder and into successful leadership roles. Or,
- Perceive that barriers still exist that hinder the advancement of women into key roles and the C-suite.
Understanding that we must perceive and “name” that which we wish to change is a first step towards understanding our own biases and to successfully developing and encouraging women who want move up the corporate ladder.
At AspenTech, we not only celebrate International Women’s Day, but we also recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion each and every day.
With the inception of our Women’s Leadership Forum in March 2016, we demonstrated our organizational dedication to ensuring our female employees receive the tools, development and support necessary to create successful careers. Countless studies, white papers and webinars illustrate the importance of women in the workplace and reinforce the value of women in management and executive roles.
We should use International Women’s Day as a reminder that women in leadership roles are an asset to any organization, and if appreciated and cultivated, the female workforce can enhance organizational culture and ultimately company performance. You can learn more about AspenTech’s Women’s Leadership Forum by watching our recent video.