Articles by Author
Carol Vallone Mitchell

October 27, 2017

Do Women Really Lack Confidence? Surveys Say, No!

Study upon study points to confidence as women’s Achilles’ heel. It has become a common perception that women have a confidence gap. But is it really a question of women’s lack of confidence or the way in which confidence is defined? Read the article on Huffington Post
October 27, 2017

You Don’t Think Like I Do: Why Activist Investors Target Female CEOs

There is evidence that female chief executives are more likely to be the target of activist investors. Why does this happen? Read the article on Huffington Post
July 31, 2017

Four Ways Women Lead That Can Disrupt Our Trust Crisis

Shared responsibility, treating others as equals, and avoiding the traps of hierarchy, are keys to stimulating and protecting the creative energy of the group AND engendering trust. It’s a formula used by women leaders. Read the article on Huffington Post
July 31, 2017

How Companies and Women in Leadership Can Change the Tide of an O’Reilly Factor Culture

In a work environment where men power the organization, dominating leadership levels and creating a culture suited to them, it’s not surprising that women feel less comfortable. What we see from the current news cycle, is that that is putting it mildly! Read the article on Huffington Post
July 31, 2017

Who’s Afraid to Lead Like a Woman? Not Millennials

I’ve been in a bit of a quandary about young women. Do they understand the impact of gender in the workplace? Do they know that women need to behave differently than men to be successful leaders? Read the article on Huffington Post
July 31, 2017

Developing Women Leaders in the New Political Era

On the national stage, where the apparent focus is to “make America great again” we see evidence that this suggests not only a return to a seemingly better state of our union, but also to a coercive autocratic leadership. It’s a throwback to the old days when companies worked best with military style, top down leadership. Leaders in those organizations were directive and “cracked the whip” to generate the best results. Is this what it takes to make America great? Must we go back? Aggressively “taking the bull by the horns” to make underlings and competitors fall in line behind is often applauded, especially when that method “works.”.. Is our new president making it acceptable, or even desirable, for leaders to have a “take no prisoners” “hardball” style? And, if they don’t, are they being too “soft” and not leaderly? If so, women who are leaders or emerging leaders are put more squarely […]
July 31, 2017

The 3 Keys to Influential Leadership

Dictating instructions from on high doesn’t work that well, and for women leaders especially, it can be downright counterproductive. Read the article on Fast Company  
July 31, 2017

Six Reasons Why Women Make Great Innovation Leaders

Studies indicate that women are more likely than men to have the type of competencies needed to thrive and lead in an innovative culture. Read the article at Safari Books
July 31, 2017

From the B-word to Successful Leader: How Women Can Navigate the Double Bind

We all know the statistics: while 35 to 40 percent of first-level managers are women, only 5 pecent of Fortune 500s are led by female CEOs. What has been less clear is exactly what is holding women back. Read the article on the Philadelphia Business Journal website
July 31, 2017

How Women Can Break Through: Act Like Women, Not Men

Women must demonstrate leadership in a way that bridges the expectations we have of them as women and the expectations we have of leaders. Read the article on The Globe and Mail
June 29, 2017

Carly, Hillary and the ‘B*tch’ Factor

The 2016 presidential campaign has been good theater, particularly for those of us who are students of gender and group dynamics. It just doesn’t get better. With a woman seeking the nomination in both parties, it’s fascinating to observe how these candidates project themselves and are perceived and treated by the media — especially as it highlights the problematic balance faced by women in power, or seeking a position of power. We all know the dynamic. While men are applauded for being assertive, driving, independent and self-confident, women demonstrating those same leadership qualities are labeled “pushy,” “brusque” and “overbearing.” Put bluntly, they are considered b*tches. This is the famous “double bind” that women in leadership face. A woman needs these traits to be leader-like — but if she has them, she drives away potential followers. Women and men communicate loudly through both their words and their body language. The messages […]
June 29, 2017

Don’t Fear the Feminine

Recently, I gave a talk to a group of female academic leaders, explaining how my research demonstrates that successful executive women “round off the edges” of stereotypically male behaviors expected of leaders so that they can avoid the labels of being too “brusque”, “pushy” and “overbearing.” In short, they temper their leadership behaviors with some stereotypically female traits. For some, this was a difficult message to hear; and quite frankly, at first it was a difficult one for me too. One woman in the audience said she didn’t think that she should have to adapt to some feminine norm. She wants to be authentic; be herself. What she apparently heard was that women have to conform, stay in line, be one way. I think she thought “Stepford Wives.” I leapt from the stage to the conference hall floor to facilitate a lively dialogue that began with whether women have to […]
June 29, 2017

3 Reasons Why Women Don’t Help Other Women

One evening in a reserved room of a pub, perched on a barstool next to a screen that captured the projected image of my PowerPoint slide, I presented to an executive women’s group on the topic of women helping or not helping each other advance in the workplace. I talked about Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s observation that women who reach executive status simply feel obligated to distance themselves from other women. And then I asked the group of 45 women to discuss their own experiences. They shifted in their chairs, reached for their glasses of wine and tried their best to not make eye contact. One woman finally spoke up, saying, “I don’t agree. My greatest mentor was a woman.” Another woman countered with, “I think women don’t want to look like they are a feminist, so they are careful about advocating for other women.” Quickly, the […]
June 29, 2017

Male Humor versus Female Humor – It’s No April Fool’s Joke

Two colleagues are shooting the breeze before a meeting. One says, with a mischievous grin,” Hey, are you going to give us an update on that special project of yours that’s limping along?” Somewhere else in the building, two other colleagues are wrapping up a meeting, one points to a fresh stain on an otherwise pristine shirt and says, “You’d think I would know by now how to eat in a meeting without getting it all over me. I mean, really!” No, this isn’t the setup for a joke, it’s a little quiz. In which scenario were the two participants women and in which scenario were they men? Easy, right? In a recent discussion I facilitated with a women’s network leadership team, about acclimating to their “very male executive culture” one of the participants, Beth, said that her internal client group, all men, often took “little jabs” at each other, […]
June 29, 2017

“The Trump Card” Is No Winner For Professional Women

Donald Trump is accusing Hillary Clinton of playing the “woman card,” saying that she wouldn’t reach “5% of the vote” if she were a man. What exactly does that mean, anyway? Clinton faces the challenge of convincing America that she is both empathetic and a tough commanding leader. This isn’t a balance that Trump even has to pretend to strike. So perhaps her use of the “woman card” means she is exercising that empathetic side, she is being a woman who cares about “womanish” things. Is that pandering to women? Well for goodness sakes, so what if it is? Someone has to care about women because Trump sure doesn’t (at least not in this way). Trump is playing his own card, ironically, “The Trump Card,” and its implications extend far beyond the political campaign, effecting every company in which a woman holds a seat of power… or strives to. A […]
June 29, 2017

A Cautionary Tale for Tall Poppies and Women Leaders

“Tall poppy” is an Australian cultural term that refers to people who stand out for their high abilities, enviable qualities, and /or visible success. But standing out, in this case, isn’t viewed positively. In a society that prides itself on egalitarian principals, rising above the pack is considered antisocial and countercultural. Tall poppies generate hostility and elicit a host of undermining behaviors to bring them down a peg. This compelling desire to cut high achievers down to size is called the ‘tall poppy syndrome.” Australia may have put a label to this phenomenon, but to some extent, it exists everywhere. In the workplace, the tall poppy syndrome is the desire to pull down a successful stand-out colleague. At a macro-level, it is the gleeful reporting of a prominent business figure’s downfall. Given the relative lack of female chief executives, their gender alone makes them stand-outs and targets of the tall […]
  • Do Women Really Lack Confidence? Surveys Say, No!
    Study upon study points to confidence as women’s Achilles’ heel. It has become a common perception that women have a confidence gap. But is it really a question of women’s lack of confidence or the way in which confidence is defined? Read the article on Huffington Post
  • You Don’t Think Like I Do: Why Activist Investors Target Female CEOs
    There is evidence that female chief executives are more likely to be the target of activist investors. Why does this happen? Read the article on Huffington Post
  • Four Ways Women Lead That Can Disrupt Our Trust Crisis
    Shared responsibility, treating others as equals, and avoiding the traps of hierarchy, are keys to stimulating and protecting the creative energy of the group AND engendering trust. It’s a formula used by women leaders. Read the article on Huffington Post
  • How Companies and Women in Leadership Can Change the Tide of an O’Reilly Factor Culture
    In a work environment where men power the organization, dominating leadership levels and creating a culture suited to them, it’s not surprising that women feel less comfortable. What we see from the current news cycle, is that that is putting it mildly! Read the article on Huffington Post
  • Who’s Afraid to Lead Like a Woman? Not Millennials
    I’ve been in a bit of a quandary about young women. Do they understand the impact of gender in the workplace? Do they know that women need to behave differently than men to be successful leaders? Read the article on Huffington Post