The Bandwagon Effect: Helping Women in Business While Welcoming Men

Why My Workshops Primarily Focus On Women

The vast majority of the professionals who participate in my Lead with Confidence workshops are women—as many as 98%. This had led to a common question about whether my programs are meant only for women. The short answer: No, they’re not.  It’s just that women are who I am called to serve, because they call upon me to serve them, literally.

It’s natural as a woman, that I’m passionate about women’s leadership and elevating other women who are underrepresented in higher levels of leadership across the board.  At the same time, I’m also passionate about leadership development, period.

The career strategies that I promote and the skills I teach are beneficial for anyone in the workforce. For example, both men and women can benefit substantially from having a sponsor. Both genders should work on honing their negotiating skills in order to secure roles in areas in which they are passionate and to self-advocate for their own development, mobility, and job benefits.

I’ve found that it’s primarily women who seek me out for help because they’re ok admitting they need it.  As I say, the women in my programs oftentimes don’t-know- what-they-don’t-know to get ahead and to have more career satisfaction.  They’re also open to suggestions to figure it out in front of other women and men. So why don’t more men attend my programs if it serves them as much as women?

Think of it like this stereotype:  When men and women get lost while driving, who is more likely to ask for help?  I could tell you a funny story about this from my household that resulted in us being 45 minutes late to a dinner out of a refusal to accept help with directions.  Just sayin’.

Bottom line, men secretly want career strategy information as much as our female participants- just not so publicly.  I know this to be true because it has happened on multiple occasions where a participant will say to me, “My husband would benefit from this so much. I told him about your class, and he wants to know if you can do an online course.”

Still don’t believe me that it’s women who are more likely to ask for help with career development, by attending a program with others, which is a type of admission that they don’t have it “all figured out”?  What if I told you that when men purposely sign up for my course, solely based upon the description and outcomes, and arrive in a room full of women, 9 out of 10 of the guys immediately leave.  Yep, they don’t just leave, they bolt.

Even though I advise them they are welcome, and the content will still serve them while their participation will enrich our conversations by sharing their career perspectives and experiences, they typically politely, and quickly, decline.  The men who do choose to remain in class are those who see that they have another guy or two who showed up about the same time, so “they’re all in it together” (which is the Bandwagon Effect).  Basically, we all gravitate to things when others are doing them, particularly if the others look and sound like us.

The great thing is the men who choose to stay, report increases in their confidence and strategy, no different than the women.  For all our program participants of Lead with Confidence that’s a 25% confidence boost in one or more career competencies on average, which we do measure, and get all geeked up about- because it drives change.

Regardless of your gender, career position, or hierarchy within your company, asking for help is a positive thing. Forbes detailed in 2017 that professionals willing to go outside of their immediate circle for suggestions and input are the ones with the most dynamic ideas and are more likely to advance. Showing that you are open to accepting help from others and being willing to work on areas in which you may struggle, will make you look like a stronger leader.  

I love celebrating growth, and I want to celebrate all our participants who bravely choose to focus upon their professional development to support their career mobility and growth.  You’re creating stronger leaders together to ultimately change the leadership dynamic one woman at a time. 

Brava and cheers to you!

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