There’s no doubting that senior living is a male-dominated field, at least at the top. But that is beginning to change.
Pioneers such as Lynne Katzmann at Jupiter Communities, Wendy Simpson of LTC Properties and Brenda Bacon at Brandywine Living are demonstrating (again and again and again) that women are more than qualified to lead.
Still, women in senior living remain underrepresented at the top. As for why such a discrepancy exists in a field where women employees dominate overall, some peculiar reasons tend to get cited. One is the old standby is that there are simply not enough qualified candidates. Even more farcical is the argument that women shouldn’t lead because, well, they are women. As laughable and insulting as such claims might sound, they persist. For evidence, ask any woman.
Fortunately, a new book puts a big old harpoon through these and other misguided notions.
“Women leaders don’t need to mimic masculine behaviors to do a great job,” says Jackie Gaines, author of “Wearing the Yellow Suit: A Guide for Women in Leadership.” “Not only do we have everything we need to lead on our own terms, our natural abilities and characteristics are exactly what organizations need now more than ever,” she adds.
Her book offers several ways rising women leaders can help organizations in these challenging times. For example:
- If you aren’t in a leadership role yet (and even if you are), think of each day at work as an audition for your future career as an executive.
- Don’t confuse busyness with productivity or progress.
- Focus on the task at hand.
- Be who you are.
- Speak your mind.
- Let your nurturing side show
- Keep cultivating strong relationships.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- And help others in return.
“Women should feel proud of the attributes they bring to any organization,” Gaines notes.
It’s too bad that so many men at the top in this field don’t seem to feel the same way.