According to the HBR article “Make Your Values ​​Mean Something”, values:

“(…) are the deeply rooted principles that guide all the actions of a company; they serve as their cultural foundations. (…) they can never be compromised, whether for convenience or short-term economic gain”.

A company can set a number of values ​​on its corporate boards and websites. However, the values ​​are linked to the way the hierarchical and decision-making structures are organized, the way that results are valued, the people who stand out, the prioritization of initiatives. It is thus about the way in which business is done and how it is rewarded.

In today’s article, we’ll talk about women’s leadership and values ​​in the company, discussing how values ​​should be connected to women’s leadership principles as a way to ensure that women access positions of responsibility and are valued for their skills and experience.

Values ​​in companies

According to the Forbes article “The Power Of Values ​​In Leadership “:

“When we work and lead with values ​​in mind, we can reduce complexity, hassles and stress at work. Our organization’s values ​​and our own – as long as they are compatible – provide us with a credible and guiding foundation we can use to drive our goals and decisions”.

Thus, working in a place where there is synchrony between what the company values ​​and what you believe, allows for greater alignment of purposes and connection between employees and the institution. When there is a mismatch of these values, in turn, what is observed is conflict, that wears and tears one’s work experience.

Over the years, working environments demand more and more from their employees and managers. The growing competitiveness of markets, the speed of technological changes and the instability of the global socio-economic scenario increase physical and psychological pressures on professionals. Regardless of the reason, men and women are pressured for results and for full dedication to their challenges at work.

However, many specialists in this area have placed the urgent need to assess the way we are working. The beliefs, philosophies and attitudes that must be followed in institutions, that is, their values, play a fundamental role in the way we will exercise our function and in the alignment between what we do and what we want to do, also known as purpose.

Value conflicts and female leadership

How many times in our activities at work are we not asked or forced to adopt some postures that go against our values? It is quite natural, from time to time, this happens in the corporate environment, especially for those who are women in leadership positions.

The difficulty of reaching functions of responsibility over others and the constant questioning of their technical and managerial capacities, sometimes make women feel cornered in conflicting situations that harm their values. However, it is necessary to turn on a red light when we are constantly pressured to go against what we believe just to preserve a position or a professional image aligned with the institution.

Below, we list a series of situations that can hurt values ​​linked to female leadership. It should be noted that these values ​​can also be shared with our male colleagues; however, here in this article we are giving the perspective of the professional who may feel more fragile for being the only woman in a leadership or team:

  • Being in an unmeritocratic environment that only promotes the boss’s poker buddies;
  • Realizing that there is condescension in the company with moral or sexual harassing leaders;
  • Being advised to change your leadership style in favor of a more aggressive stance;
  • Being in a place where good female professionals are held in standby, not being valued through equal salaries or bonuses;
  • Being in places where it is normal to interrupt women during their speeches;
  • Realizing that managers value, in a meeting or negotiation, men or women with a more “masculine” work style;
  • Being required to hire men and/or only women who cannot have children in the short and medium term;
  • To witness situations in which women with children are not considered for proposals for geographic mobility or for new responsibilities because there is a belief that they will not be interested in these positions or that they would not be able to handle the travels;
  • Receive the recommendation to be less smiling and more serious in the work environment.

Aligning values ​​and developing relationships

These questions concern understanding what a company’s values ​​represent (the ones empirically perceived in the day to day work, not the ones written on the wall) and the importance of an alignment between them ​​and personal values. When there is misalignment or something breaks in this chain of principles, the relationships weaken and friction increasingly arises.

Self-knowledge and emotional maturity lead us to understand more deeply what our indisputable values ​​are, that is, those that we would be convinced to defend regardless of the situation.

With this individual understanding, evaluating the ones ​​defended by the company is essential, as well as monitoring how they ​​are put into practice by its employees. In a scenario of constant out of tune, there is no escape, it is necessary to change. Not your values, but from the company itself.

Continuing this conversation…

Have you ever found yourself in an environment whose values ​​would do what you thought was right? How was it and what did you do about it?

Comment below: talking about these topics brings us closer to what prevents us from pursuing our professional goals.


*Co-authored with Sandra Milena Acosta

Sandra has worked for more than 12 years in the strategic planning and risk management of global financial institutions. Master in Economics from UFPR, graduated in Economics from UNICAMP and post-graduated in Digital Marketing from Kellogg Executive Education, she recently went through a career transition and is now a Writer of Chronicles, Children’s Literature and Poems. All of her work is available on her Instagram page (@sandramtca) and on Medium.

+About the Womanising Project:

As of 2021, 41 CEOs of the world’s 500 largest companies, the so-called Fortune 500, are women. That is 8,2%. In the environment of small and medium-sized companies, this number is difficult to measure, but it seems to us even smaller. The most curious thing is that we are half of the world’s population. So why are we so few in charge?

Womaninsing is a startup project in creation that aims to understand and propose solutions to the problem of very few women in the top management of institutions. Our articles and online content encourage discussions about problems faced by women in the professional environment and seek to teach what can be learned from previous mistakes and difficulties so that we can demand a greater balance between men and women in the world of work.

If you liked this topic, follow our weekly articles here on Thrive on Tuesdays.

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  • Tatiane Vita

    CMO • Board Member • Startup Mentor • TEDx Speaker • #LinkedinForCreators • +100,000 Digital Influencer

    Women Emerging Leaders 2021 by Santander & The London School of Economics

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    On Thrive Global, I contributed from June, 2020 to July, 2021 with weekly articles covering mental health and leadership for women.
    Career summary
    Marketing & Business Development professional with +13 years experience in management in 9 countries (Brazil, the US, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Portugal, Kuwait & Thailand). My background is mostly in Retail +20 years working in this sector, 10 of which in franchising.
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