Research shows that both women and men equate being a leader with being male. Leadership itself is male gendered. How does that affect women's ability to advance to the highest levels of leadership? How does it impact the aspirations of women aspiring to top levels?

Just look at any of the lists of 50 or 100 top leaders and you can count the number of women on one hand. Do an online search of leadership authors: They are mostly older (and mostly white) men. Both women and men inherently associate leadership power with men. Why is this so?

For centuries, men have held the highest power in all kinds of organizations. This predominance of men as leaders has an impact on our concept of leadership. We associate leadership with stereotypically masculine traits: aggression, decisiveness, willingness to engage in conflict, strength, orientation towards action, and other masculine stereotypes. This remains true even though not all male leaders exhibit such traits. What we can say with certainty is that our mental map of leadership for many years has been dominated by white male role models. This gendering of leadership is true even though when researchers study the key aspects of leadership, there are no gender differences in effectiveness.

In this course, co-authored by Cornell University's Deborah Streeter and Susan S. Fleming, students will assess their own organizations to determine the gender status and power dynamics present. They will use tactics to reduce gender bias in themselves and in the organization. They will identify strategies used to influence the workplace culture to be one of greater parity and use practical strategies to bring forward the contributions of both women and men in group settings. Leadership efforts are also personal: students will create an action plan for themselves, choosing among the recommended strategies to find those most appropriate for their specific context to enhance their own status and power.

The concept of “authentic leadership” has become very popular in recent times. In addition, much has been written about executive presence and how to cultivate it in yourself. Both of these things are affiliated with rising to the top.

There is an inherent dilemma for women trying to apply these concepts. Everyone expects that to move up in leadership they will have to display the “right” professional identity and work style – ones that “fit” with expectations.

But what is right and fits is heavily influenced by the majority culture of the organization, which in most cases has been established by men (mostly white, mostly older). So on the one hand, the professional identity needed to succeed includes behaviors more prominent in male culture. On the other hand when women go too far in exhibiting those behaviors, they get pushback. As a result, in certain very traditional masculinized settings, women learn to alter, repress, or hide some of the characteristics of their identities (being a mom, caregiver, acting communally). In essence, some women in certain contexts find they have to restrain their personal style in order to fit in.

In this course, designed for women in leadership positions, learners will examine strategies for incorporating being self-aware and genuine without suppressing their unique personal style.

Research indicates that women - even high-ranking women in leadership positions - face a fundamental obstacle when negotiating: Women come to the negotiation table with lower perceived status and less power than men. Women must tread carefully in attempting to level the playing field, though, because negotiating with a stereotypically “male” style could result in social consequences that negatively affect the outcome of the negotiation. The burden is on women, therefore, to skillfully adapt their negotiation style to suit the styles of other negotiators and the context of the situation.

As women in leadership roles ascend the ranks of their organizations, they face increased responsibilities to negotiate successfully for their teams and institutions as well as themselves. This course, designed specifically for women in leadership by Deborah Streeter, the Bruce F. Failing, Sr., Professor of Personal Enterprise at Cornell, challenges learners to evaluate their negotiation style through the lenses of gender and power and use their emotional intelligence to tailor their style to any situation. Learners will explore advanced negotiation techniques that help women capitalize on their strengths and avoid triggering the double bind in negotiations.

Leaders often ascribe different causes to their success in ascending to senior positions in their companies. Research shows that women are likely to point to the merit of their own work as the reason for promotion, whereas men tend to attribute upward mobility to their skill forging strategic relationships. In reality, strong professional networks - and the ability to leverage them to meet individual goals - are a crucial component of career advancement regardless of talent. Unfortunately, many potential women leaders undervalue or underutilize this critical tool.

In this course, designed specifically for women in leadership by Deborah Streeter, the Bruce F. Failing, Sr., Professor of Personal Enterprise at Cornell, you will deconstruct your own professional network and how it is working - or not working - for you. By defining key roles and relationships, you will identify and address areas in your network that can be strengthened. This course will also provide you the tools to overcome common challenges to developing and maintaining networks that women face due to harassment or the double bind.

Men overwhelmingly outnumber women on public boards of directors, but times are changing and more boards than ever are actively seeking qualified women to help steer their companies. For interested women, the challenge is that the typical path to board membership—through the C-Suite—is optimized for the male executives who often land senior leadership roles.

This course, designed specifically for women with leadership experience by Deborah Streeter, the Bruce F. Failing, Sr., Professor of Personal Enterprise at Cornell, and Susan S. Fleming, a senior lecturer at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, will demystify the journey to board membership for women and break down the responsibilities and opportunities that women can expect once on a board. In this course, you will prepare yourself for board membership by assessing your personal competencies and potential barriers to joining a board. You will write your own value proposition for what you could bring to a board and then identify potential boards and make a plan to approach them. You will also analyze how, as a woman, you can make a positive impact on a board, all while successfully navigating the double bind.

Inclusion is a relational construct. It's ultimately about how your team functions and performs based on the quality of social connections, openness to learning, agility, and depth of decision making. How can you foster greater inclusion within your workgroup? Throughout these modules, you will be asked to reflect upon your own experiences and apply the lessons in the modules in your own role.

You will examine the concept of climate, specifically inclusive climates, as well as learn about the specific behaviors and skills you need to demonstrate in order to be successful in shaping an inclusive climate.

Advancing to a more senior leadership role requires a specific set of skills. Senior leaders must shift away from tactical oversight into a more strategic and visionary role. This transition does not occur naturally and is often not a part of standard professional training, development, or onboarding. The ability to adapt to this mindset is crucial and can lead to the success or failure of an individual and/or their team.

In this course, current and potential leaders will be guided through this transition by Kate Walsh, Professor and Dean of the School of Hotel Administration, as she shares her professional expertise and research. Learners will create a personal leadership strategy and build a professional network within their organization to prepare and further their roles in the organization.

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