In my book on management “Theory You” I included a chapter titled “Leaders Should Behave As Leaders”. There is a tremendous commitment to being a leader whether we are referencing a person such as a CEO or a company. In my teaching experience there were several cases we discussed in which a company shirked from the hard won role of leader and moved back down into the more comfortable role of challenger. We see this occur frequently in business and sports sees it consistently. The reigning champion creates controversy declaring “we don’t get any respect” and moves themselves back into the role of challenger. This consistent departure from the role of leader is indicative of the pressure and responsibility that comes with being the leader.
Some additional information has come to light re: the influence of the Gender Gap on the lives of women in the US. The Gender Gap influences everything from a woman’s ability to contribute to a retirement plan to the Social Security benefits they earn to the amount they can invest as they plan for retirement. The Gender Gap is a key reason why women’s Social Security benefits are smaller than men’s according to a report published earlier this month by Congress’ Joint Economic Council. The average Social Security benefit for a woman is 79% of what it is for men the report states. In 2014 51% of women were receiving worker benefits based upon the work they did. Thus, the majority of women are affected negatively.
A growing number of workers are automatically enrolling workers in 401[k] plans at a contribution level calculated as a percentage of their earnings. If a woman’s earnings are lower their contributions to the 401[k] will be as well. Women thus have to allocate a higher percentage of their earnings to items such as health care leaving them with less to invest in a taxable savings account.
Women are rightfully more concerned about inflation, cost of living and retirement than men. Given that women will spend more time in retirement than men since their life expectancy is 2 years longer than men, 86.6 compared to 84.6 for a 65 year old it is natural to have their concerns. About 17% of women live in poverty as opposed to 12% of men.
The trend is not getting better. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that women’s real median weekly earnings were 81.5% of men in 2015 down from 82.5% in 2014.
SALESFORCE BEHAVING AS A LEADER
Salesforce, a CRM firm based in San Francisco and a leader in their industry:
– Fortune magazine has named them one of the 50 smartest companies four times and also recognized them as number one in the computer software segment in their World’s Most Admired issue
– Forbes magazine has recognized them as one of the world’s most innovative companies
has made a bold initiative as a leader. They reviewed employees salaries to identify disparities along gender lines and committed $3 million adjusting salaries to end the Gender Gap. It can be done! It simply takes leadership and a willingness to behave as a leader. I commend Salesforce for their action and hope others follow their lead.
I’m pleased to also note that Salesforce has 4 female executives out of the 10 executives listed on their web site as leaders of the company including the CMO, and they also have 2 female board members on their 11 person board.
Growth as a manager does not stop once you reach the corner office; instead it intensifies. Leadership is forcing others to keep up with you. That is the role of a leader. Hopefully Salesforce’s actions will force others to catch up to them. In the meantime, Congratulations Salesforce on being a true and inspired leader!