Top Business School Accolades? Excellent work ethic? Successful demonstration of leadership skills at the expense of making many boardroom enemies? All these are regular remarks on most women executives’ record. But we still struggle to be accepted into the ‘inner circle’ of the business. In spite of all the hard work, business decisions are often made during one of those informal all-male meet-ups at the golf course. While it’s enough to drive you crazy with frustration, we ask you, why not take the easy route? Golf is a fun and engaging game where women can shoot through the glass ceiling of business and the pesky fairways. It might be time for women to reconsider that golf membership and get out in the sun.
Penetrating Informal Networks
Women often feel left out at the casual chit-chat at the conference table. Important business decisions are not just influenced by facts and figures. They are forged in the fire of relationships. The corner office with a woman in it may seem formidable enough to dissuade your male colleagues from approaching you for a better professional relationship.
This is where golf can help as an ice-breaker. If you notice, your male colleagues always come back from a golf round with more insight into each others’ lives. It’s like they have a secret gang that you are not part of. If you watch their dynamics on the golf course, you’ll know it promotes a camaraderie which is impossible to achieve in the mahogany-lined interiors of your workplace. They lower their guard within the boundaries of etiquette. They bond over the mighty challenge that the course is. They chatter like magpies about the best golf GPS watches and handhelds and defend their personal favorites. And they talk shop in between the shots.
As a woman in the corporate domain, you might often pass over the golf game invitations, perceiving them as stereotypical testosterone-fueled events. How about you change the paradigm and take the initiative to attend?Women might be surprised how their co-workers express their doubts and concerns more frankly on the golf course. It hard to play boardroom mind games in white shorts while struggling to put a ball in a hole 8” away with an iron stick.
Too late to learn golf?
Ladies, it’s never too late to learn golf especially when it gets you away from the tedium of indoor meetings. A number of LPGA players have taken to coaching women executives in golf. They host corporate events that aim at helping women learn the ropes on the golf course.
Most women players are impeded by the fear that they might embarrass themselves on the course with their playing skills. But most men play for leisure and they are no Tiger Woods even if they can rattle off his records off the top of their minds. Women don’t have to surpass them at golf all the time. Women can strive to be good enough to give them healthy competition. We are not always required to walk off the slippery glass cliff. It’s time we start putting women and men to the same test rather than judging women leaders too harshly just for their gender.
Benefits of golf
The mindless grind of watching their step in the thorny realms of corporate life can get to the women. This might end up reflecting in their behavior at work which weakens their position as a leader. Golf is more than just a commitment. It has other advantages:
- Fitness: Maybe golf can bring you back on the fitness track. Swinging the golf club makes your arms, shoulders, chest and lower body work. Chasing the golf balls and walking from hole-to-hole is bound to give your body a nice workout. Instead of working out in a box a couple of days a week, women can work out in the fresh air of a golf course.
- Mental Alertness: A fit body makes for an alert mind. It helps to keep the stress at bay. You wake up feeling more motivated and more engaged in your work. The ability to be in the loop with their male co-workers raises the spirits of women executives who play golf. And you might even accidentally have some fun. Add it to the list of 5 Enlivening Activities To Assist You Unwind From Your Work.
- International connections: Golf is hardly a solitary sport. You will meet a number of people on the golf course and bond over lamenting about the difficult tees. But you can make international relationships while traveling, if you wander out to golf courses in such places. In the global economy, such connections are important for survival and add to the woman executive’s many plus-points.
- Discovering yourself: Even if you have been golf-shy till now, you might have the talent for it. Don’t just look at it as a stepping stone to a successful career. You might find that you enjoy the subtleties of the game. You might discover hidden strengths. Perhaps you might find an excellent way of interacting with people. Little things like these help women spread their wings in their personal and professional lives.
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